In a recent survey undertaken by Admiral car insurance, only 22% of learner drivers believed their parents were of a satisfactory standard to learn from. However, I think this is missing the point.
I have always encouraged my pupils to gain additional driving experience from private practice as the more hours you can spend in a car, the more your confidence and skills are improved.
These sessions should be regarded as an extension to formal driving lessons and not just a ‘sunday drive’ or an opportunity for the parents to ‘teach’. The latter may well contradict what the professionsal driving instructor has taught and may well serve to confuse the pupil.
It is imperative that the pupil applies what the ADI has taught them and not ‘as Dad says’ as bad habits can be quickly learnt but often takes a lot longer to break them.
“More parents are passing on bad habits when giving their children driving lessons, a survey shows. Fifty-two per cent take out sons and daughters with L-plates – double the number who were themselves taught by their parents. But 45 per cent fear their …”
Remember that a parent accompanying a learner driver can be a very stressful situation for them. They are not used to being a passenger to a novice driver and they do not have the comfort of dual controls! It is the pupils role to make Mum or Dad ‘comfortable’ in the passengers seat as otherwise you may not get much private practice at all!
They may ask you to ‘brake’, ‘slow down’ etc. as they do not know what you are thinking or if you have spotted other traffic, pedestrians, changing lights etc. One of the best ways to gain their confidence in you is to talk through what you are seeing and what you are doing e.g. “There is a petrol station on the left, ahead. Traffic may emerge from there so I am aware of that, expecting that and covering the brake” or “pedestrian crossing ahead – looking for pedestrians that may be approaching – I am prepared to stop / slow down”.
You should talk to your parents ahead of any private practice and clarify that their role is a supervisory one for safety and legal reasons. Your driving instructor will always be happy to talk to parents about their role.