Young drivers already face the mounting costs of car insurance and fuel. Having to pay for more lessons before securing a driving licence would add an extra financial burden. Would you coach a learner driver?
I remember the sharp intake of breath and how admirably my dad stopped himself from shouting as I narrowly missed a parked car while trying to navigate a crowded street.
This was the first of many practice drives that helped me to pass the driving test first time. Even more helpful than my dad was a good friend, who put me on his car insurance and let me drive him and other friends around for a whole summer. I did also have professional lessons, but only about a dozen because money was tight.
Last week, road safety campaigners put forward new proposals about young drivers. The campaigners suggested a restriction on the number of passengers a novice driver can carry. I’m concerned that such a restriction could make it even harder for young drivers to get the experience they need.
Mum’s driving school
Perhaps parents should step in and spend more time being ferried around by their children. But would you feel confident enough in your own driving skills to act as their instructor?
I’ve had the privilege of going on lots of driving courses over the years. I even retook my driving test for a Which? investigation a couple of years ago, so I would feel prepared for the challenge of coaching someone else.
But a quick straw poll around the office showed a distinctly different situation – only two out of 10 people thought they were good enough to coach their children behind the wheel.
Rather than having to fork out for more lessons for their children, perhaps my colleagues could take advantage of new, tailored lessons being offered for anyone wanting to coach a learner driver. For example, the AA’s new tailored two-hour lessons highlight skills examiners will be looking for and offers advice on how to coach a learner.
AA figures show that 20 years ago learners needed around 30 hours of lessons to pass their test, but today this figure has risen to 47 hours. So perhaps coaching from parents could be a really good way of helping youngsters pass the test, while saving money.
Are you confident enough to teach a learner driver or would you rather leave it to the experts?