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There was a time not so long ago when parents felt confident in teaching their children to drive. I for one was mainly taught by my father, and like many people at that time, passed my test successfully the first time around.
However, with driving tests becoming tougher and tougher, teaching my own kids to drive in the future might not be as simple.
Under a new proposal from the government, young drivers could be banned from carrying passengers in their car, except for family members, which is a measure aimed at cutting the amount of road deaths and protecting new drivers from the pressure from peers.
Parents who are keen to teach their kids to drive can now enroll on a new two hour specialist coaching course where they ‘go back to school’ with their children and learn how to pass on their own motoring skills in the right way.
The session costs £56 and involves a parent’s driving being closely analysed by an approved driving instructor under the AA’s nationwide ‘Supporting Learner Drivers’ scheme. In this way, any bad or even dangerous habits that parents might have which could hinder their children’s L-test will be identified and dealt with by qualified instructors.
Parents will be taught exactly what skills the driving test examiners are looking for and will then learn valuable coaching techniques which they can apply in informal, one-to-one lessons when teaching their children. In order to keep on track, parents will also be provided with a bespoke workbook which covers the course syllabus including practice sessions and tips on how to coach a learner driver.
“Years ago, parents felt able to pass their driving skills on to their children to get them swiftly through the driving test, with a few paid-for lessons on the side,” says Karen Parker, a senior driving instructor at the AA Driving School.
“But today, with dramatic changes to the driving test and tougher road conditions it’s not that simple. It’s no longer a case of using your common sense. You have to know exactly how to pass the test too.
“You need to know exactly what the examiners are looking for and that means positioning on the road, how to pull off and stop correctly, how to carry out a verbal commentary on the road ahead and so on.”
According to the AA, the problem which parents are facing is that the learner test has changed beyond recognition during the past decade and certainly since many parents first learnt to drive. This invariably means that driving tuition is now beyond the capabilities of most parents no matter how well their intentions are.
Twenty years ago, AA figures show that learner drivers needed approximately 30 hours of professional tuition with an approved driving instructor before they were ready to take a test, but today, with the introduction of the computerised Theory and Hazard Perception test and an on-road exam that is longer and more demanding, the average number of hours of professional tuition needed has risen to 47.
“The standard of the test has come up a lot,” says Karen. “There were a lot of things you could get away with five years ago which would get you failed now.
“It’s great that parents want to teach their children but they have to teach them correctly.
“It might be shocking to drivers who remember the test being fairly easy, but your driving must be much more precise today.