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Parents teaching kids bad habits behind the wheel

Author: Rebecca PageDate: 11 July 2016

One third of learner drivers said their parents had taught them driving habits that professional instructors had to correct, and more than half said their parents couldn't teach parallel parking, according to an NRMA survey.

Almost 900 NRMA Free2go Members aged 16-19 who had either recently obtained their provisional driving licence or were currently undergoing professional driving instruction were surveyed about their learner driving experience.

A majority (84%) of those surveyed said their parents had taught them to drive, and 30 per cent said their instructors claimed skills they'd been taught were wrong. The majority of those incorrect skills related to roundabouts.

The NRMA released the results of the report to coincide with the launch of a series of online videos that follow the learner driving journeys of two 'mature' learner drivers.

Michele Cranston, 52, a food editor and cookbook author and James Powditch, 49, an artist, enlisted the NRMA's Safer Driving School to supplement supervised driving with friends and family, with some very different, and often funny, results.

While the survey focused on younger drivers, NRMA Safer Driving Instructor Mark Toole said age was no limit when it came to learning to drive.

"We find that many people come to us later in life to learn how to drive, and at that point they also may be relying on partners or friends to help supervise their hours.

"It doesn't matter what stage of life you are at – if you are a learner driver, it is so important to make sure you get professional help to set yourself up with good habits behind the wheel from the get-go."

- Almost two-thirds (61%) of students said there were skills parents and supervising drivers found difficult to teach (parallel parking, merging, blind spots and head checks were the most common)

- Half said instructors taught them road rules their parents / supervising drivers were unaware of

- Sixty-five per cent of students rated their experience with a professional driving instructor as 'very positive' compared with 37 per cent who voted they had the same experience with parents and supervising drivers

- Thirty-seven per cent said they had witnessed their parent / supervising driver speeding; 20 per cent not indicating; and 20 per cent using a mobile phone

Mr Toole said the results clearly indicated how important it was that learner drivers were taught the right habits from the start of their learning experience.

"Learning to drive can be an exciting, but anxiety filled time for both the learner driver and the supervising driver," Mr Toole said.

"It might have been 20 years since the supervisor had to think about the technicalities of getting behind the wheel, and in many cases road rules and conditions are very different from when parents first learned how to drive."

Watch our 'Learn to Drive' video series here.

For more NRMA press releases click here.

Click here for more information on NRMA safer driver school

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