When you’re a teenager, one of the things that you start to look forward to is the freedom to drive your own car whenever you want, and wherever you want to go. It’s also something of a status symbol for many youngsters, as it’s “cool” to have your own car rather than having to take the public transport everywhere (or blag a lift off your mum and dad whenever you want to go into town)!
But what many teenagers don’t realise is how dangerous driving can be. According to statistics from Brake, the road safety charity, a shocking one in five new drivers are likely to crash their car within the first six months of driving, and it probably comes as no surprise that young men are far more likely to be involved in a crash than women.
Quite often, teenage drivers will end up being taught how to drive by their parents, and many of those youngsters will go on to pass their driving tests. If you have teenagers and they want to learn how to drive, here is what you need to know in order to do a good job!
Have you got what it takes?
The first thing you need to do is ask yourself whether you are cut out to be a driving instructor to your children. There are certain qualities and legal requirements that you will need to possess before you can even consider becoming a driving instructor to your kids:
- Personal qualities – as a driving instructor you have to be patient, have the ability to stay calm under pressure and be able to guide your child through any dangerous situations;
- Driving licence – in the UK, you will need to have held a full driving licence for at least 3 years;
- Car – obviously a car is required for this particular task, and it needs to be road legal (i.e. having valid MOT and tax). Both you and your kids need to be insured to drive the car.
One crucial thing that you must not do is pass on any bad driving habits to your kids; pretty much everyone will have picked up bad driving habits at some point in their lives. Some parents opt for taking an advanced driving course first to help them be better drivers, so that they can pass on those positive driving skills to their offspring.
Preparing for the big day
When you’re both ready for the first driving lesson, it is important to teach your kids the basics of your car (or their car, if they have their own car to learn in). This means going through the controls of the car, and familiarising them with the different components of a car so that they can check they all function correctly.
Once you are both ready to begin, make sure the stereo is turned off, and both of you have seatbelts on. Get them to adjust their mirrors and seat to ensure optimum visibility and comfort, and then you can begin the lesson.
In a hurry to pass?
Some parents feel it is better to get approved driving instructors to teach their children how to drive, so if they are in a hurry to learn how to drive, it might be more beneficial to book some intense driving courses for them once they have mastered the basics of driving in your car.
This gives them the confidence to progress as they will have had previous driving experience (with you at their side) and it will obviously be cheaper too.