Tips to help your teen start their driving journey

Hands up if it seems like yesterday that you were waving your little one off to school and helping them to ride a bike? Suddenly, they’re in sixth form or college, and the next big milestone is learning to drive!

It’s an exciting and scary time for both parents and teens alike, so I’ve pulled together some top tips to get you started. My daughter is starting driving lessons very soon, so these tips come from my personal experience as well as all the knowledge I’ve gained as Brand Manager at Marmalade, providing young drivers with advice and insurance solutions, for every stage of their driving journey!

helping teen start driving

1. Set a good example

If like me, you’ve been their glorified taxi service, they’ve been observing what “driving” looks like for a long time, and learn a lot from you. Simple things like ensuring you’re wearing a seat belt, avoiding speeding, clearly using your mirrors and signals, putting your phone away, etc, will encourage them to follow suit. Don’t worry if you know you have some bad habits, it’s never too late to change, and it can be a great way to start a conversation about what good driving looks like, so they can avoid the same mistakes.

2. Swot up on the Highway Code

I’ve just bought the Highway Code for my daughter and have realised that it’s been 32 years since I last opened it. Needless to say, I am not only very rusty on the content – but no doubt, there have been a quite a few changes since then. It’s a good idea to read through the highway code, or one of the many Theory Test revision guides to brush up your knowledge. Not only will it save you being caught out if they ask you any questions, you’ll also be more confident helping them with their revision.

3. Start the search for a driving instructor early

There is a high demand for driving instructors at the moment as a result of lockdown, and with a jump in the birth rate from 2003, high demand is set to continue. It’s worth starting your search for a driving instructor a few months before they intend on starting lessons. Asking friends for recommendations is a good place to start, but trusty old Google is also a good port of call for local instructors. If you’re not sure who to choose, look for independent reviews or a nationally recognisable brand name.

4. Speak to their driving instructor

If you’re working with the instructor and understand what’s being covered in the lessons and what they want the young driver to work on outside lessons, you can provide the best support. It’s also advisable to avoid arguing with your child about something the instructor has taught them, as this can confuse them and affect their confidence. Some best-practice advice has changed since we learned to drive, so raise any questions or concerns directly with the instructor so they can explain the reasoning.

5. Sit in on a driving lesson

I did this a few months ago and it was an eye opener. Not only will it help you see how the instructor works with the pupil to advise and encourage, but you can see how your child copes with the experience, and what they are confident with and struggle with. What really stood out to me was just how many things the pupil needs to consciously think about when driving. As experienced drivers we take this for granted as it comes naturally. It will give you an idea as to what to expect during private practice and highlight the importance of staying patient and calm.

6. Help them with private practice

However, giving your child the opportunity to hone their skills and practise their driving outside lessons will increase their confidence and help them prepare for real-life situations they may be faced with after they pass – like  heading through a drive thru or driving at night. Provided you’ve held a full UK licence for 3 years or more, all you need is L-plates for the front and back of the car and valid insurance. Marmalade provide affordable learner insurance from just £1.23 per day*. You can choose 30 – 180 days cover and they can be covered to drive your car with no risk to your No Claims Discount!

7. Encourage and support them

No doubt you’ve been their biggest cheerleader their whole life, and we’re sure helping them through their driving test will be no different. It can be a stressful time for both of you, particularly as you’ll feel pretty nervous in the passenger seat to begin with  – but if you can take a deep breath, stay calm and offer encouragement it will help them stay calm, and better still increase their confidence.

8. Look at insurance options before they pass

It’s never too early to start discussing what will happen when they pass. Today there are more options available to help young drivers share a family car, which can save them money if they are heading off to uni within the next year or so. If they are keen to get a car, it’s definitely worth looking at insurance quotes before you purchase to avoid any nasty surprises. At Marmalade, we’re working with OneFamily to offer you a range of insurance options to cover young drivers in their own car, or to share a family car – plus new cars with FREE insurance if they’re looking at a new set of wheels. Discover more at onefamilylearners.com

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading the tips and I wish you and your young driver the best with this next milestone. Before you know it, you’ll be able to hang up the keys to Mum’s (or Dad’s) taxi!

* Price based on £221.76 for a 180 day policy. This amount is currently achievable by drivers from over 440,000 households in the UK. Price and cover dependent on location.

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