Nine out of 10 instructors say learner drivers have picked up bad driving habits from their parents.
The pandemic left many 17-year-olds relying on their parents for driving tuition but, when surveyed by Young Driver, 89 per cent of driving instructors say this has meant collecting a few bad habits along the way.
Despite this, 98 per cent of the 150 instructors questioned still felt extra experience behind the wheel with a parent is important, although 67 per cent did say that parents should only teach alongside professional tuition.
Young Driver, which is the UK’s largest pre-17 driving school, asked the instructors to name the worst habits their pupils had picked up.
The 10 worst habits picked up by learner drivers from their parents are:
- Not following ‘mirror, signal, manoeuvre’ as a matter of course.
- Steering with one hand (palm) or crossing hands. (Neither will fail you your test as a one off, but it isn’t best practice to do them regularly as you have less control.)
- Not observing what is happening around them.
- Coming down through individual gears instead of block changing.
- Not creeping and peeping when exiting a junction.
- Riding the clutch.
- Believing myths or out of date driving styles (e.g., you no longer need to hold the steering wheel in the 10-2 position, you don’t have to stop at all junctions and roundabouts and overuse of indicators can be frowned upon.)
Others mentioned by instructors included eating and drinking in the car, being too heavy on the gas, not checking blind spots, getting too close to the vehicle in front and having no regard or understanding of the highway code.
Young Driver teaches youngsters from the age of 10 how to safely handle a car, providing lessons in one of 200 Vauxhall Corsas with fully qualified instructors on specially created private road systems. Sue Waterfield, head of marketing at Young Driver, said: “For many parents it may be decades since they passed their test, so trying to remember how to teach someone else to drive can be very difficult. Not only that, but advice has changed over the years, so some of what they do remember may no longer be advised. However, Covid has meant there’s been a severe shortage of driving instructors and so many parents have had to fill the gap. Learners are now reportedly waiting up to six months to take their driving test because of the backlogs, so doing all they can to be fully prepared is vital.”
Young Driver has launched a new package which includes aids for both learners and their parents in the learning to drive journey. The scheme has partnered with motoring expert Quentin Willson to publish a book ‘Learn to drive without tears and tantrums’. Quentin has also helped create the Young Driver App, which includes unique 360° VR videos to help learners practice manoeuvres even when they can’t be behind the wheel – and perhaps offer parents some tips too.
A hard copy of the book, a three-month subscription to all the content on the app, and a set of L and P Plates is available at the introductory price of £17.99 (usually £26.98) here: Ready to Drive pack
Quentin Willson explains: “The app is a game-changer, with ADIs driving cars on real-life roads so learners can practice and repeat lessons remotely at home. This, combined with the book which pulls together my decades of motoring experience, will be invaluable resources for learners to become more familiar with road situations through constant repetition at home. Parents can definitely learn something too!”
Young Driver has sold more than 1,000,000 lessons since it launched in 2009, which are delivered at 70 UK wide private venues. Research shows that if teens extend their driver education and start learning at an earlier age they are far less likely to have an accident when they go on to pass their test.