How to Support your Son or Daughter when they’re Learning to Drive

Getting behind the wheel for the first time can be an intimidating prospect. It can seem like there are literally hundreds of small rules to remember, and if you get it wrong, there’s the potential for disaster.

If your offspring has a license, then there are a few things that you can do to encourage and support them as they go through the process of learning to drive.

While it’s a good idea to invest in lessons from a qualified, specialist instructor, you can also play a role by taking your learner out for a few practice sessions. The more miles they’ve put in, and the more time they’ve spent performing those difficult maneuvers, the better their chances will be when it comes to the test.

Before you start, it’s worth acquainting yourself with some key tips. Let’s run through three of the most important.

Stay calm and patient

If you’re visibly nervous every time you set out, it’s likely to transmit to the person driving. Try to keep your cool. Don’t raise your voice, or criticize if you can help it. It might be that troubleshooting isn’t what your child wants from these sessions – rather, they want an environment where they have the freedom to make mistakes and to keep practicing.

When the practice sessions become stressful and unappealing, your child will likely find a way to avoid them. Thus, they’ll end up taking a much longer time to pass the test in the end. So, try to focus on the positives.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that you might be suffering from something called the ‘curse of knowledge’. This is a bias we all develop, but it can be seriously problematic in this environment. Signaling before a turn might be second nature to an experienced driver – but for a new one, it might only become so after weeks of practice.

Find some quiet places

One thing that will help make things a lot less stressful, especially in the first few weeks, is the absence of other vehicles. Try to find spots to practice that are out of the way. Back streets, cul-de-sacs, and large supermarket car parks are all brilliant.

You’ll also want to pick the right time to go and practice. Rush hour, obviously, is to be avoided. Very early on a Sunday morning tends to work nicely. You’ll benefit from quiet roads, but there will still be good visibility.

Teach them basic car maintenance

Learning to drive, in the long term, isn’t enough. To be a good motorist, you’ll also want to learn how to care for and maintain a car. This means being able to top up screenwash, inflate tires, and to replace car batteries.

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