Teaching your teen how to drive

Learning to drive can be tricky, which is why supporting your teen as they learn can be invaluable. As a parent, you may be in a position to teach someone using your car, so long as you meet the criteria.

You need to have had your licence for at least 3 years, be aged 25 years or above, and have good eyesight. Plus, you’ll need to look into temporary car insurance on your car on behalf of your teen. This way, you will be insured if there are any accidents. On top of teaching them practical driving skills, you can help them learn the highway code and how to navigate the roads ahead of their theory and practical tests.

Start on a quiet road

Busy roads can be overwhelming at the best of times – and especially when you’re new to driving. It will be safer and more beneficial to start on quieter roads that avoid busy times of the day. Low-speed and low-traffic areas are a good starting point. It can be helpful to stay near home and to choose routes that your teen may be more familiar with. As they grow in confidence, you can transition to more complex routes

Be patient

Everyone will react differently to driving. While some find their feet straight away, others may need more time to grasp even simple concepts. That’s why patience is so important. Many young people can experience anxiety when they’re learning how to drive, so having an awareness of this can be key. Make sure they’re in a good headspace beforehand – driving after they’ve had a stressful day at college or school might not be ideal, for example. You can also plan by talking through what you’d like to cover during the lesson. This way, they can prepare in a way that works for them.

Refine basic skills

When learning any new skills, it’s important to refine the basics before launching into more complex concepts. You should make sure your teen has a good understanding of the safety drills, spatial awareness, and general road etiquette when interacting with drivers before you tackle more complex routes. Clutch control is another one to nail before you tackle hill starts, and the ability to stop and start the car smoothly is another key skill to learn before the next steps.

Other examples of basic skills include:

  • Turning at the right speed and using signals
  • Braking and accelerating smoothly
  • Lane discipline
  • Understanding the right of way

Practice ‘show me, tell me’ questions

At the start of your test, or potentially during, your examiner will ask you to show them something and then tell them about something to do with the car. Doing regular ‘show me, tell me’ questions is a simple task you can do when teaching your teen. Make a habit of testing them at random points throughout the day and whenever you get in the car. You might find it helpful to print out a list and leave it in the car so that you can test your teen on the spot. Soon, it will all become second nature to them.