Parents Get a Lesson in learning to Drive

Parents Get a Lesson in learning to Drive

One in five parents (20 per cent) is nervous about helping their child learn to drive in case they pass on bad habits – which is one of the reasons motoring expert Quentin Willson is encouraging parents to ensure they’re properly prepared before getting behind the wheel with their learner offspring.

According to new research from the UK’s largest pre-17 driving school, Young Driver, one in eight parents (12 per cent) are so worried about the thought of helping their child learn to drive, they would only teach their child in a car with dual controls. Around one in 10 dads (nine per cent) would go so far as to consider having dual controls fitted to their car while teaching their teen to drive.

The research revealed a third of mums (34 per cent) and a fifth of dads (19 per cent), who are able to drive, said they wouldn’t feel confident teaching their child. One in five parents (18 per cent) weren’t sure they’d know how to teach the necessary skills or knowledge, as driving has become something they do without thinking. The same percentage said they were concerned they would seriously fall out, with one in seven (15 per cent) saying they knew their child wouldn’t listen to what they were saying. One in eight (13 per cent) were worried about any potential damage the learner would do to their car.

Vauxhall Young Driver car
Young Driver teaches 10-17 year olds to learn to drive

Young Driver, which teaches 10-17 year olds how to drive, surveyed 1,000 UK motorists following the launch of a book written by motoring expert Quentin Willson and published by the driving school. ‘Learn to Drive without Tears and Tantrums’ aims to take the stress, angst and inconsistency of teaching methods out of the parent-learner driving relationship whilst ensuring everyone is up to date with the latest requirements and teaching best practice.

The book pulls on the experience of Young Driver which has safely delivered more than three quarters of a million lessons to under 17s at 70 venues across the UK over the last decade. Parents should not take their child out driving themselves before they’re 17, unless it’s on private property and they have the appropriate permission – as a parent found out recently when they were cautioned by the police for taking a Grand Theft Auto obsessed 11-year old for a spin in a Blackpool car park.

Motoring journalist, author, TV presenter, campaigner and supporter of Young Driver, Quentin Willson, said: “Although parents may have the best intentions, the reality when they get behind the wheel with their child can be arguments, stress and tears. One in seven surveyed by Young Driver said it was likely both parties would end up losing their temper. Most parents learnt to drive decades ago and the test has changed dramatically since then, meaning their advice can confuse the learner. They often aren’t aware that the test now includes Sat Navs, independent driving, mechanical questions and new parking manoeuvres. It’s also a real skill knowing how to teach someone how to drive and with the best will in the world, most motorists have picked up some bad habits over the years. But with preparation and planning, together parent, child and instructor can make a really strong team, leading to the best possible outcome in terms of creating a safe, confident and skilled driver. And that’s good news for all road users.”

Learn to drive book
Quentin Willson’s book helps parents and teens navigate the difficult learning to drive journey

Sue Waterfield, head of marketing at Young Driver, said: “We know that the best way to teach someone to drive is over a longer time frame and giving them as much experience as possible, providing them with the chance to thoroughly learn those necessary skills. Young people often want to pass their test as soon as they can after 17, but through Young Driver we can start their learning experience from as young as 10. If they already know how to change gear, check mirrors and use the pedals without having to overthink it, once they’re officially on the road they can focus on more complex areas of driving such as predicting other road users. Once they reach 17, that combination of approved instructor lessons, along with additional practice with parents, is key, which is why we wanted to use our experience of how to teach teens to produce this book with Quentin. Seven per cent of parents were concerned a lesson with their child might put the youngster off driving for life – but that really needn’t be the case!”

Written in an easy-to-read style with a light tone, Learn to Drive Without Tears and Tantrums is heavily illustrated with 136 full colour pages – an essential read for all parents and teens embarking on the road to driving test success.  To purchase your copy go to

Young Driver takes place at private venues across the UK, although currently events are on hold due to Coronavirus, creating realistic road systems with junctions, roundabouts, traffic lights and areas to practice specific manoeuvres. Lessons are given in brand new, dual controlled Vauxhall Corsas by fully qualified instructors. To find out more about Young Driver visit

Written by Editor

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