If you’re looking for ways to support your child whilst they learn to drive then you’ve come to the right place!
Learning to drive anxiety is a real thing and sometimes that comes from the parents of the learner driver, not the learner driver themselves!
As a parent, guardian or close supporter of our learner drivers, we want to know we can help and guide in the best way possible. Overall, we all want the same thing, for them, to be safe whilst they learn to drive.
This page is full of useful tips on how to help a learner driver as they progress from beginner right up to their early years as a new driver. You’ll find:
Help with the practical driving test.
Help with the car theory test.
Tips for private practise with a learner driver.
Tips for the Hazard perception test.
Learning to drive support.
Learning to drive materials.
Tips on friends and family helping a learner driver.
Dealing with stress and anxiety when learning to drive.
Driving test nerves hints and tips.
Dealing with both driving lesson and driving test pressure.
Before Starting to Learn to Drive
A lot of people ask, “what do I need to do before I start to learn to drive?”
The answer is that preparation is key. Preparing your child to learn to drive is probably one of the most important jobs that you will do. Road safety for young people is paramount and the truth is we can start to prepare them long before they get into a car! My 9-year-old already knows a lot about road signs, what they mean and what to expect cars to do on the road because of them. Children start to learn to drive as pedestrians firstly, then as passengers in your car. On approach to learning to drive age in the U.K, you could start with some key pointers to help support your soon to be learner driver!
- Demonstrate and highlight good driving on the road, lead by example! We can learn a lot from those around us.
- Use commentary driving when you’re together in the car- narrate what it is you see, what you are going to do etc. they will start to pick up on the planning skills required to learn to drive.
- Talk to them about how they use the road as pedestrians already, what transferable skills they have. How do they make decisions when to cross etc, building up their judgement skills.
- Get them to spot signs and hazards ahead.
- Let them navigate a route using road signs or the sat nav.
Most of all, help them to be prepared:
- Know what is required for a driving test, there’s lots of useful info online or in the Driving tests and learning to drive or ride section of the gov.uk website, and talk them through each element.
- Look at starting a progress log, start to track what they know and don’t know. The Learner driver Logbook has a progress record, perfectly in accordance with the DVSA standards.
- Have a health and eyesight check done.
- Check out the recommended hours guidance on the gov.uk, and the cost of taking a driving test so that you know what to expect finance wise when learning to drive.
- Buy some learning to drive materials such as a Highway Code, Know Your Traffic Signs and The Learner Driver Logbook.
- Find a recommended instructor, the good ones are sometimes booked in advance!
Supporting a Learner Driver Whilst They Have Their Driving Lessons
Supporting a learner driver whilst they have their driving lessons can sometimes feel like pressure on the accompanying driver. You want to get it right for them and encourage them as much as possible.
Here are a few things you could do to help:
- Encourage them to keep learning between driving lessons.
- Encourage them to reflect on driving lessons, what went well, what didn’t go so well, what could have been better.
- Encourage them to use support materials to gain knowledge and become self-aware.
- Help them to set learning to drive goals, not only will it help them, but it will most likely save money on driving lessons too!
- Track their progress, know the syllabus and what is expected on a driving test in the U.K.
- Get them to narrate the drive when they are learning to drive with a parent or when they are a passenger. This will accelerate their learning, their planning and awareness skills.
- If private practice is an option with a parent or guardian, then track that progress too. Communicate with their driving instructor as to what happens in that practice and what is expected from them too. Don’t try to teach them, let that happen in lessons, support them with things they have already learnt.
Helping a Learner Driver Prepare for Their Test
There are two tests in order to gain a driving licence in the U.K, a theory test and a driving test.
It’s important that the learner is fully prepared for both tests. Here are some hints and tips to pass the driving tests:
- Theory test – read the highway code, as that is where the questions come from!
- Encouragement goes a long way! Be positive!
- Reduce stress and anxiety about the driving test by talking about it in a calm manner.
- Ask questions when you’re out and about on the roads, alternatively, get them to quiz you!
- Play spot the hazard as this not only helps with the hazard perception test but helps with planning and awareness skills in the car too.
- Lead by example and uphold the highway code when you drive. Our children tend to copy what they have seen before so drive as you want them to drive!
- Take them down to the driving test centre, get familiar with the area around it.
- Check off their learning to drive progress chart, how are they feeling about all the elements?
- Help to build confidence with learning to drive by being self-aware and reflecting regularly.
- Help to reduce driving test nerves by doing mock tests and watching mock tests online.
- Ask your driving instructor exactly what will happen on test day, so you are fully prepared with how things will play out.
Supporting a new driver and the New Drivers Act 1995
Passing a driving test in the U.K isn’t an easy feat… less than half pass the first time! The important thing to remember is that if a learner driver doesn’t pass the first time, it doesn’t mean they aren’t ready to drive. Test day nerves can have a huge impact but being as fully prepared beforehand can go a long way! I am a massive advocate that learning to drive doesn’t happen just in the car, it happens in the self-reflection and study in between lessons! The Learner Driver logbook is a tool aimed at provided all a learner driver needs to successfully pass a driving test first time, by providing exactly those things!
Every newly qualified driver is subject to the New Drivers Act 1995, which essentially means they are on probation…more than 6 points on their licence in 2 years and they are back to provisional licence and resitting both the theory and practical driving test!
As parents and guardians, we can limit the chances that this happens by giving our learner drivers the best possible learning experience. Equipping them with self-awareness, self-reflection and continuing learning skills we are essentially creating safe drivers for life, not just drivers who can pass a driving test!
We are all a key part of road safety, so look after your learner drivers so they don’t become another road statistic in the future!
Read more about The Learner Driver Logbook written by me, Emma Cottington, on this website or, you can jump to Amazon and buy it now and give your learner driver that extra boost as they head towards their driving test.