A Driving Instructor's Blog

SuperADII often wonder to myself why it is that so many instructors are dead set against parents or friends teaching people to drive.

Any learner driver has got to attain a certain level of competence in order to pass their driving test. If the parent does a bad job of teaching, the learner simply doesn’t pass the test. However, if the learner does pass, then the parent must have provided at least the bare minimum of tuition in order for them to do so. Where that bare minimum actually comes from is irrelevant.  It’s not rocket science working this out.

Indeed, in most cases the parent will have provided a level of worldly wisdom concerning driving that most ADIs would struggle to achieve in the limited amount of time they spend with their typical pupil.

The suggestion that parents are not capable of teaching their kids is laughable. Some might not be – but as I say, the learner usually fails if that is the case. A parent might not know all the buzzwords, or have fancy briefings and lesson plans to pore over, but if they themselves know how to handle a car and other traffic then if they can convey that – however inefficiently compared to SuperADI – to their offspring they are adequate trainers.

When it comes down to it, I would guess that most parents are actually better driving teachers than quite a few ADIs out there. They might not pass Part 2 or 3, of course, but what of that? It’s not the issue.

I actively encourage parents to come out on lessons with me and the pupil so I can show them what to look for. I also explain how what they were taught – and the way they’ve come to do things since then – might not be the best way nowadays, and giving the learner mixed messages just makes it harder for them. These are parents who have chosen not to teach their own kids, but who are going to supervise private practice, so I don’t really want them trying to “teach” because of those mixed messages.

In the past, though, I’ve had quite a few people who have been taught by parents and then sent to me to be “finished off”, and quite honestly none of them have turned out to be homicidal maniacs who can’t even get in the car without stalling it. They’re usually lacking mirror checks (or doing too many) or not very good with roundabouts, say. But nothing to suggest that the parent has done a bad job. And like I say, if they went to test like that they’d just fail.

As recent posts have intimated, though. The biggest problem with new drivers is what their parents didn’t teach them in the sixteen-plus years before their driving test.

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