Do parents make good driving instructors?

Learner Driver and Instructor NSW
Learner driver and instructor

Teaching your child to drive is often a terrifying experience for parents, and many learner drivers choose to supplement on-road experience with their driving instructor for some driving lessons with mum and dad. But when learners get behind the wheel with a parent, they might have just as much to fear.

According to an NRMA survey of more than 800 drivers aged 16-19, one third said their parents had taught them bad driving habits - which then had to be corrected by an instructor. The survey also found learner drivers were being exposed to their parents' bad habits, with the worst offending habits being:

  • Speeding
  • Not indicating
  • Mobile phone use; and
  • Road rage

Almost 61% of learner drivers said their parents struggled to teach them fundamentals such as how to parallel park, merge and check blind spots. What's more, nearly 50% of those surveyed stated that mum or dad did not have the knowledge of road rules that's required to successfully pass licencing exams.

It also revealed that 30 per cent of respondents have had their parents/supervising driver teach them something that their instructor has claimed was wrong. The majority of these related to roundabouts -specifically when to indicate.

"Reverse parallel parking. Mum tried to teach me, but she doesn't have a step by step method that she goes by, she just does it by feel. In this case this is what I needed as a learner."

Even if you think you're pretty good behind the wheel, driver inexperience is one of the biggest reasons young people are more likely to get into crashes and it's the leading cause of death for teenagers. The only way to reduce that risk is for them to gain more experience behind the wheel.

At the NRMA we offer lessons for learner drivers looking to get their licence or increase confidence on the road. Our professional instructors are trained to maximise your child's ability and create safer driving habits. What's more, we even offer a Safer Drivers Course. Specifically for learner drivers under the age of 25, the course is designed to establish safer driving practices and learner drivers who have completed at least 50 log book hours of driving^ will receive 20 hours of log book credit when they complete a safer drivers course.

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