In this post we’ll discuss everything you need to know about teaching your child to drive. But we’ll also explore whether or not this is a good idea!
Is It Legal to Teach Your Child to Drive?
Yes, you can teach your child to drive as long as you meet certain criteria. Many parents supervise their children for some independent driving outside of their structured driving lessons but it’s also perfectly legal to teach your child to drive from start to finish.
What Do I Need To Teach My Child to Drive?
First, you need to meet certain criteria. You must:
- Be aged 21 or older.
- Meet the minimum eyesight standards.
- Have held your driving licence for at least three years.
- Be qualified to drive the same type of car that your child is trying to learn in. So if you have an automatic licence, you cannot teach your child to drive a manual.
On top of this, your child needs:
- A provisional driving licence of their own.
- To be at least 17 years old.
Learner Driver Insurance
As a learner driver you will need your own car insurance if you are going to be practising in your own car. A member of your family or a friend will usually be covered on this.
The Gov.com website confirms that if you will be practising in someone else’s car, you will need either:
- to be covered by the car owner’s insurance policy as a learner driver
- to take out your own insurance policy that covers you for driving in the car as a learner driver
Some insurance companies require the person supervising you to be over 25 years old.
How to Prepare Your Car For Driving Lessons
The most important thing is to attach L-plates to the front and rear of your car. It’s also important to remove all distractions – such as stickers that may be blocking the driver’s view – and to empty the boot, to ensure the car handles as best as possible.
Read our full guide to preparing a car for driving lessons.
How Much Does Learning to Drive Cost?
There are a few reasons why parents might think about teaching their children to drive themselves. One common reason is that parents believe that it will help them save money on the cost of driving lessons.
We have previously calculated that it can cost up to £1,500 to learn how to drive. This figure includes the price of the provisional licence, the costs of lessons, and the costs of booking the theory and practical tests. Costs may have gone up slightly recently but this gives you a rough idea of what you might expect.
The driving lessons alone can cost at least £1,000, so teaching your child yourself, at least some of the time, could indeed help you save some money.
How Long Will it Take to Teach Your Child to Drive?
According to the DVSA, the average learner driver needs 45 hours of driving lessons and a further 22 hours of practice before they’re ready for their test. So that’s 67 hours in total. But, if you teach your child yourself, it may take your child much longer to be ready to sit or even pass their test than it would if they learned with an approved driving instructor.
The Advantages of Choosing a Qualified Driving Instructor
Approved Driving Instructors (ADIs) have specialist training. They know how to structure their lessons so that learners can learn at their own pace. A good instructor will never force a learner to do something they’re not ready to do. But at the same time, they’ll know how to gently challenge a learner to try new things, and to move past the innate anxiety that most people feel when driving for the first time.
ADIs also know how to explain the fundamentals of driving in a way that makes sense. Good instructors will remain calm and fully in control, no matter what happens on the road. And crucially, they’ll teach your child in a car with dual controls, so they can intervene should anything ever go wrong.
Finally, good ADIs will know when learners are ready to take their test. And if they’re not quite ready, they’ll know what areas to work on to build up their confidence, experience, and expertise behind the wheel. This is why so many driving instructors can claim that most of their learners pass their tests first time. It’s because they’d never advise any learner to take a test until they’re absolutely sure they’re ready.
The Downsides of Teaching Your Child to Drive
Learning to drive can be very stressful. Your child might get scared, they might get angry, and they may panic from time to time. You might lose your cool too and end up getting flustered, impatient, or become unreasonable. No matter how good your relationship is with your child now, teaching them to drive could push both of you to your limits.
You might have arguments. You might fall out. This will be horrible in itself. But if your child has a negative experience while learning to drive, it could severely shake their confidence. It could mean that it takes them much longer to learn the basics than it would if they worked with an ADI. And in the worst case scenario, it could put them off driving for life.
Conclusion – You Can Teach Your Child To Drive. But Should You?
If you can spare the time, and you meet the criteria, then there’s no reason why you cannot teach your child to drive. But while it will cost you, choosing an ADI remains the safest and most effective way to learn how to drive. Simply put, ADIs know what they’re doing. You can then focus on following up the structured lessons with lots of driving practice.
If you still want to teach your child to drive, be sure to read our full guide to what to expect.
Before you begin your lessons, your child will need to have insurance in place. While they can be added as a named driver your policy, there are benefits to taking out their own policy. Find out more about our learner driver insurance.