Following a survey of its customers, Marmalade, the leading provider of cars and insurance for young drivers, concluded that 58% of parents find teaching their children to drive a highly stressful experience. With this in mind, the insurance company has joined forces with the Approved Driving Instructors National Joint Council (ADINJC), to offer guidance to stressed-out parents helping their teenagers to learn to drive.
Taking driving lessons is an exciting yet often stressful time for young people as well as their parents, as Marmalade’s survey concluded. In fact, 56% of young drivers said that being the car with their parents leaves them feeling tense and anxious.
Crispin Moger, CEO of Marmalade, said: “Our survey told us that over half of parents expect to spend more 25 hours in the car with their learner driver children. This highlighted the real need for us to support both parents and young people with the process of learning to drive which we know is a challenging and stressful time. We’ve always been advocates of young drivers getting as much time on the road as possible and supplementing instructor lessons with sessions with parents or relatives can provide valuable additional experience.
“However, for many parents it is more than 20 years since they have taken their test and things have changed. By teaming up with the ADINJC to offer parents expert advice, we hope that these sessions can not only be less stressful for all parties but deliver the most value - helping young people to stay safe on our roads.”
Chris Porter, Deputy Chairman of ADIJNC, provides some key considerations for parents:
1. Be prepared and do your homework
Practice in the family car is important but ensuring you’re up to the task in hand is essential – you have to be able to take over if your son or daughter has a small meltdown on a dual carriageway or double roundabout. Keeping calm is the best way to handle those situations. It’s worth swatting up on some reading too - it might also have been many years since you last studied the Highway Code so it’s important to refresh your memory before you get in the car with your child. Things have changed and it’s good to be able to test your young driver as you’re out and about, ensuring they understand the various road signs and warnings.
2. Keep expectations low and remember to keep calm
Parents should not expect too much in the first few lessons as the learner will be not be able to drive like you. Try to offer plenty of praise and encouragement and offer unambiguous directions to save confusion (and confrontation!). Even if you are feeling a little apprehensive in the car, try not to show signs of nervousness, it’s not a confidence builder for the driver and creates an atmosphere in the car.
3. Plan short routes
Avoiding over-stretching the learner is vital. Journeys of up to 20 minutes at first are more than enough, and work up from there. Planning your route well ahead will save having two flustered people in the car unsure of where they are heading! Drive to practise; don’t just drive to school, work, shops etc. Vary the routes and use different road types at different times of the day and evening.
4. Be a good role model
Your children will have been watching you drive their whole life but they will be even more observant now they are on the road.
5. Research driving instructors
Although it’s tempting, don’t necessarily go for the cheapest driving instructor – they might be cheap for a reason. Make sure you do your research and ask people for recommendations. It’s also a good idea to have a look at their DVLA Instructor’s Certificate. If it’s green it means they’re fully qualified whereas a pink certificate means they are a trainee instructor.