Learning to drive is very expensive, and you could save a bundle of cash by getting your parents to teach you. In the long run, though, it’s better to learn from a professional instructor. You’ll pick up the skills you need more quickly and won’t be taught any bad habits. Learning to drive with parents is best seen as practice between lessons with a pro.
Making the most of practice with parents
The key is to use any time with them as a supplement to – rather than a substitute for – any paid-for instruction you have with a professional driving instructor. Also, don’t take anything a parent tells you as gospel – it’s your driving instructor you need to listen to.
What your parent can offer is an opportunity to get some extra practice behind the wheel – something that you can never have too much of.
If you do practise learning to drive with a parent, here’s how to make sure that time is well spent…
- Make sure you are insured. Learner drive insurance is usually a better bet than being a named driver on your parents’ policy.
- Ask your instructor to talk to your parents. The instructor can explain what you are being taught and the techniques you are using. That way you won’t get conflicting advice.
- Set the right level. Stay below the level you’ve reached with your instructor.
- Plan sessions. Decide where to go and what you’re going to do before setting out. Take care to select a suitable area and driving route. A large deserted car park is ideal initially, as you can concentrate fully on the feel of the controls and response of the car.
- Find quiet roads. This is important until you’ve developed skill and confidence, especially around traffic. Your parent should provide good feedback when you’re practising your manoeuvres.
- Avoid carrying passengers. They’re just a distraction you could do without.
- Don’t get angry. This can cause you and your parent to panic. Calm communication is much better than shouting.
- Discuss mistakes. Your parent should be sparing with their comments, but problems must be identified while still fresh in the memory. Confidence needs to be built first.
- Make learning enjoyable. You should both try hard to keep your cool so that learner and parent can enjoy the process. Neither of you should dread getting into the car.
The qualified driver you practise with doesn’t have to be a parent. Just remember that anyone supervising a learner driver must be at least 21, and must have held a full driving licence for at least three years.