Blame dads: Learner drivers on the wrong road

  • Parents teach kidsto drive but not L-plate basics
  • Research shows ‘Mirror, Signal, Manoeuvre’ missing
  • 10-to-2 hands on steering wheel ‘outdated’
  • YOUNG DRIVERS ON WRONG TRACK Image: Young Driver/Newspress
    YOUNG DRIVERS ON WRONG TRACK: Will you be guilty of teaching your kids the wrong driving rules for modern cars?  Image: Young Driver/Newspress

    LONDON, England – One in two learner drivers (54%) are given tuition by their parents yet many mums and dads show a worrying lack of basic driving best-practice.

    Get more information about Young Driver.

    One in five are not even sure they’d pass the UK driving test today.

    The research was commissioned by Young Driver, the UK’s largest provider of pre-17 driving tuition after instructors revealed that one of their most dreaded phrases from young lips is: “But my dad says…”

    young driver pos 2
    HAPPY LEARNER: …but will he still be smiling when he finds out his parents’ driving tuition was either wrong or outdated? Image: Young Driver/Newspress

    More than 75% of the 1000 parents surveyed believed they were up-to-date with the latest rules so could provide adequate driving instruction to their children. When quizzed, however, many revealed their ignorance.


    Young Driver offers driving tuition on private tracks at more than 40 venues across Britain to driver as young as 10 .

    Only 27% of parents admitted they’d picked up bad habits over the years. Many had forgotten what they were taught, so passing their bad habits and outdated advice to their children.

    Such as these…

    Mirror, signal, manoeuvre – 39% had forgotten this basic rule, despite it being the cornerstone of good driving; 47% forget to teach their children about the importance of checking blind spots.

    Hand position – Many older drivers were taught that hands should be kept on the steering wheel at the 10-to-2 position; that advice has been revised over recent years to quarter-to-three. Why? To help maintain control and to prevent injury should a steering-wheel crash bag inflate.

    Bikers: 20% of road fatalities so what’s to be done?

    Steering – Four out of five parents wouldn’t teach the push-pull steering technique favoured by instructors.

    Gear changes – 38% would insist the learner moved up and down the gears sequentially (e.g. 1-2-3-4-5-6). However, skipping ratios is now considered acceptable.

    Braking – Half of the oldiers insist that the handbrake be applied whenever the car stopped. However, the purpose of the ‘parking brake’ is to secure the car when it’s stationary on a hill or stopping on the flat for more than a few seconds.

    Manoeuvres – One in five (19%) would be adamant that street turnaround was a failure unless completed in three manoeuvres. In fact the modern UK test allows for up to five turns and is no longer called a three-point turn.

    Assisted technology – One in four (24%) would insist youngsters should not use parking sensors or cruise control to help with their driving. These are, in the UK, perfectly acceptable in a test situation when used appropriately.

    Dads are twice as likely as mums to take their offspring out for practice; most offer additional experience alongside professional tuition. Yet one in 10 youngsters rely purely on a family member for their driver education.

    Kim Stanton, who heads up Young Driver, said: “Our under-17 trainees usually haven’t had any experience of being taught by a parent. Once they’ve had a lesson with Young Driver they question their parents’ driving techniques – but, the instructors are the experts.

    “We wish parents would swot-up a bit before giving any dud advice! It might even help their own driving skills.”

    Here are some of the youngsters’ remarks while being taught by Young Driver:

    “My dad told me you don’t need to stop at a STOP sign if there’s nobody coming.”

    “My dad always told me to put my foot down when the traffic lights are on amber to get through.”

    “My mum was adamant that if I didn’t go down through each of the gears to stop at a junction I would fail my test.”

    “My dad was always trying to tell me to squeeze past cyclists and horses in traffic. I found it very stressful!”

    “My dad helped me with theory questions. When my instructor asked if my dad had helped me I said yes. The instructor replied ‘Thought so, he got them wrong’.”

    “My dad drove using his knees and told me it was the best way to drive.”

    • Be advised that some of the British driving rules might not yet have been applied to the South African driving test. So, in SA, listen carefully to your driving instructor.

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