It's only natural that you should want to save cash when learning to drive; it's not difficult to shave hundreds off the cost of tuition by getting your parents to show you how it's done. But teaching somebody to drive is a skill that many drivers don't have, so while you'll save a bundle of cash getting mum or dad to sit with you, you may end up taking the test before you're ready.

And that will ultimately cost you a hefty wedge because you'll have to pay for a retest. However, the experience needn't be disastrous according to young driver insurance specialist Marmalade, which has come up with a 10-point guide to parent driving tuition:

  • 1

    Use professionals for guidance

    Experts help young drivers take adequate control over the vehicle, know the road rules and correct procedures for managing a vehicle in traffic while making safe decisions.

  • 2

    Lead by example

    The parent's biggest contribution to the learner driver's safety and effectiveness behind the wheel will be setting a good example. Parents should read a current copy of the Highway Code and work with you on the theory exam.

  • 3

    Plan sessions

    Decide where to go and what you're going to do before setting out. Take some care in selecting a suitable area and driving route. A large deserted car park is ideal initially, as you can concentrate fully on the feel of the controls and response of the car.

  • 4

    Find quiet roads

    Important until you've developed confidence, especially around traffic. Your parent should provide good feedback when you're practising your manoeuvres.

  • 5

    Avoid carrying passengers

    They're just a distraction you could do without.

  • 6

    Stay alert

    You're not ready for all the challenges of the road so your parent must be fully aware of the various hazards at all times; they must be constantly anticipating the moves of others.

  • 7

    Don't get excited

    This can cause you and your parent to panic; also, shouting instructions isn't effective where calm communication is better understood.

  • 8

    Discuss mistakes

    Your parent should be sparing with their comments, but problems must be identified while still fresh in the memory. Confidence needs to be built first.

  • 9

    Work with a professional

    Get your parents to discover what you're being taught and what techniques are being used, to avoid clashing.

  • 10

    Make learning enjoyable

    This is one for your parent; make sure they keep their cool so that you both enjoy the process; you shouldn't be dreading getting into the car each time you go out.

“Anyone supervising a learner driver must be at least 21, and have held a full licence for at least three years.”

The Law

Anybody supervising a learner driver is effectively in control of the car, so they must stick to the same rules as the driver. Those supervising learners often break the law by drinking, sending text messages, or failing to wear their glasses while on practice runs with learners – according to an AA survey:


of respondents didn't know they'd be breaking the law by using a mobile phone while supervising a learner.


were unaware of the need to wear glasses if they used them when driving themselves.


didn't realise that falling asleep in the passenger seat is illegal.


of respondents had supervised learners while breaking at least one of these laws. The figure rose to 22% among supervisors aged 21 to 24.

The issue was highlighted by a case in which a person supervising a learner was over the drink-drive limit. When the learner driver had a crash, killing two people, the supervisor was deemed responsible and went to jail.

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