The tables have turned, it’s time for your child to repay you for all those lifts... They’ve passed their theory test, got their learner permit and are ready to hit the road with you in the passenger seat.
Nowadays, learner drivers must complete a minimum of 12 driving lessons with an EDI approved driving instructor and they can only drive with someone who’s held a full driving licence for over 2 years. However, 12 hours of lessons is not nearly enough practice to prepare for their driving test. You’ll need to play a part on their journey.
Here are some tips for teaching a young driver to drive:
When your child is learning to drive they will by hyper aware of your driving and observing your every move in a bid to become more experienced. Be aware of this and make a conscious effort to drive well and respect the rules of the road. Stop at all stop signs, don’t break the speed limit and always indicate.
There is no exception to driving without insurance in Ireland. When in driving school car, your child is insured by their policy. If your child is driving your car, you can add them to your car insurance policy or if they have their own car they will need their own insurance.
Having your child named on your policy will provide them with named driver experience which will help to reduce the cost of their own car insurance in the future. Young drivers’ insurance can be expensive, consider a telematics insurance policy for young drivers for a better value option.
Driver theory is a part of the driving test. Your child can be asked a number of questions about stop signs, speed limits, braking distance etc. Brush up on these areas yourself so you are fully informed and able to quiz your child on the details.
In the beginning, it’s best for your child to practice driving in a quiet area with open space and low levels of traffic. Parks and industrial estates are good examples of this. These areas are ideal for practicing reversing, reversing around corners and three-point turns. As your child becomes more confident driving around quiet areas you can bring them onto busier roads.
Observe your child’s driving by paying attention to their driving habits. Tell them when they are in the wrong lane, wrong gear or wrong speed etc. They need to be aware of their mistakes, so they can learn from them. The best way to avoid bad habits is by identifying them as early as possible.
When learning to drive, it can be hard to observe speed limit signs when you’re trying to focus on gears, the clutch and the mirrors. Remind your child of the speed limit and ask them if they know the speed limit of the road they are driving on. Give them a heads up when you know a road’s speed is about to change. Bring them to the testing centre route of their choice to identify the speed limits in that area.
It’s normal for young drivers to struggle with certain aspects of driving, the most common being hill starts, three-point turns, parking and reversing around corners. Find out what your child’s weaker areas are and demonstrate how you complete them and then practice them over and over together.
As you’re driving along, ask your child questions such as:
This will help your child to prepare for the driving test when the examiner will be asking similar questions. It will also help them to identify and rectify their own mistakes.
Tip: Check out AIG’s tips for safe driving here.
It’s very easy to get stressed and overwhelmed when you’re learning to drive. The same applies for when you’re teaching someone to drive. Try to stay calm in the car at all times. Talk to your child and avoid shouting. Be constructive and positive and talk to them about any errors they’ve made. Talking calmly and positively will allow them to learn from their mistakes and progress as a driver. Keeping things calm is safer and better for both of you.
Although you might be a good driver with years of experience, you are not a driving instructor by profession. If you think that your child needs some extra help, book more lessons with a driving instructor. 12 lessons aren’t always enough for learner drivers. As your child’s driving test approaches consider booking a pre-test for them so they can see the structure of the test and prepare themselves better.
Wherever your child is at on their driving journey make sure they are protected with a comprehensive or third-party fire and theft car insurance policy from AIG. Get an online car insurance quote for BoxClever - AIG’s telematics insurance policy created especially for young drivers.
Want to know more about young drivers’ insurance? Read these articles: ‘Car Insurance for Young Drivers: Everything you need to know’ & ‘Can a Telematics Insurance Policy Save you Money?’.