Published on: 04/07/2021
Ready, Set, Go!
As we enter the post-pandemic world, things are beginning to open once again, and we find ourselves resuming some sort of normality. This includes driving tests and lessons. Your teen may have been waiting enthusiastically to take over the driver’s seat or they may have been dreading the day – no matter how they feel, we have some advice for you.
Not Everything Works:
Be patient with your child as not everything works out the first time around. Picking a driving instructor is something of a difficult feat and it may seem like they are procrastinating. Help them, sit with them, offer them any advice you can – talk about how your driving instructor was when you first learnt to drive and give them some guidance as to what they are looking for. Reassure them that everyone has different personalities and that if they do not bond well with their driving instructor, it is okay change. It’s a good idea for them to speak to friend or relatives that have recently learned to drive for recommendations when it comes to their chosen instructor, it’s also worth considering the type of vehicle used by the instructor as this may affect a new drivers confidence from the off.
Take a Breath:
Give your child realistic expectations and be honest with them. Driving can be a stressful affair and somewhat daunting for those who are learning to drive and sometimes, this can be made worse from the pressure or anticipation a parent sometimes inflicts on their child. Reassure them that they may not get it right the first time round and that they will develop and learn – they will not get into a car and instantly know what they are doing. Be ready for them if they have any questions or if they want to talk about their experience behind the wheel.
We’ve Got a Theory:
The theory test is something that young drivers speculate to be not as important as the driving test, but this is not true. It is important that young drivers understand the road and the rules on it so that they can be the safest drivers that they can be. Emphasise to your child that the theory test is important and try to help them understand why it is – you cannot drive to the best of your ability if you do not understand what the road signs are saying. It is not common sense – it is in depth learning and understanding which varies from road signs to observation on the roads. Inform your child that they simply need to revise; they cannot go in blind.
Help them with items they may need to purchase such as a Highway Code or perhaps the theory test app on their phone or other device. Teach them what you know and test them when you are driving by asking them what signs mean, as this will build their confidence up slowly and help road sign recognition become second nature. It is key that they pass their theory test as they cannot book the practical test without passing the theory test.
It’s the Big Day:
Congratulations! Your child is ready for their driving test and their instructor feels confident enough for them to take their test. Here’s some advice you should perhaps give your child:
- Be Aware of Timings: When learning to drive, try to emphasise to your child that learning at a variety of different times of day and in different weathers is important. Wait times for a driving test can reach several weeks to months, with some people booking now and only getting appointments for December, which means they cannot afford to be picky with test times and dates. They may have learned to drive with lessons at a fixed time in the day and this being the pattern for their learning – try to encourage them to drive early in the morning and at rush hour too as they may end up getting these times for their tests.
- Have a Refresher: If your child has a long gap between their last lesson and their driving test, try to book a few lessons in before their test so that they can ease back into driving instead of going straight into a stressful environment.
- They May Not Pass First Time: As ideal as it would be to pass the driving test time, it does not always happen. Reassure your child that it does not matter if they do not pass their test first time – it is not all doom and gloom if they fail. Talk to them about why they failed and how they can move on from that and help them understand how to overcome it. According to the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency, the pass rate between April 2019 and March 2020 was 49%.
Congratulations! You have a Driver!
Easing your child into the next step can be emotional as a parental figure. Your child is ready to drive on their own and perhaps purchase their own car. It is something that is different for every child – some decide to buy their own cars and others decide to be added onto the insurance of someone else’s car. There are some things your child should consider and some advice you should offer them:
- Rocky Beginnings: When your child goes for their first drive, offer to go with them. It will be their first time driving without a driving instructor and sometimes, they may need a confidence boost and some comfort.
- Your Car: Help them research their chosen car and explain to them how road tax, car insurance and break down cover work if they do not already know.
- Insurance Might Be High: The cost of insurance for new drivers can be disheartening and can often be more than the value of their chosen vehicle. Reassure them that paying monthly is an option if they cannot pay it off all in one go and talk to them about Black Boxes. Black Boxes can turn some people away, but they are quite beneficial. Black Boxes can track your car if it is lost or stolen and frequently, companies reward you for good driving.
- Tax and MOT: It is a given, but you should talk to your newly qualified driver about tax and MOTs. Emphasis how important it is, as some drivers are tempted to drive without any of these. It is the law that your car has tax, MOT, and insurance.
- Buy a Dashcam: Getting a dashcam can help your new driver better their driving, help lower car insurance prices and will support them if they have an accident that was not their fault.
- Treating Yourself: Most importantly, if they have bought a car, make sure they make it theirs inside. Tell them to accessorize it, buy something nice for the inside of the car from something as simple as an air freshener to a phone holder or seat covers. Make your car yours (just make sure nothing is obstructing your view of the road).
Learning to drive is not something that comes with ease. Is your child learning to drive? Let us know about their experiences!
More about Trust My Garage
Now that your new driver is hitting the road, ensure that their car is MOT’d and safe to drive with Trust My Garage. Trust My Garage is a collection of Britain’s trusted local garages – each one different and all dedicated to the highest standards of skill and personal service.
Every garage in Trust My Garage are members of the Independent Garage Association, which is part of the RMI, one of Britain’s oldest motor trade organisations. IGA members are true professionals who must comply with a strict code of practice. Every customer of all Trust My Garage members can rely on using a nationally recognised brand to help you and your vehicle get the best value service for you and your vehicle. If you want to find out more about Trust My Garage, visit our website, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!