Learning to drive can be one of the most intimidating yet exciting experiences of your life. And even if you take lessons at a driving school to avoid learning from your parents, chances are you will still need their help at some point. So whether your parents are your primary teachers or the occasional mentors, there are some important steps to take before hitting the road that will make the experience a positive one.
In an ideal world, it would be simple to learn to drive from a parent. Once you pass your knowledge test, you would choose a willing parent and start practicing. But the role of a driving teacher takes skill, patience and good communication – and some parents just can’t offer that. As Kelly Calar, Regional Director for Young Drivers of Canada, explains, having your parent as your driving supervisor may not be as straightforward as it seems.
“Sometimes it’s harder to learn from a family member... it’s difficult in the best circumstances to take corrections or constructive criticism while you are still learning a skill. If your coach is not a calm-natured person, or they feel out of control, new drivers will pick up on this anxiety and fear.”
And contrary to what you might think, the right parent to teach you driving is not necessarily the one you get along with best. Choose the parent who will stay in control in all situations and who is up-to-date with the rules of driving.
“Many parents do not have continuous driver training upgrades since they got their license. Because of this, they pass on their bad habits to their kids,” says Calar. “We sometimes suggest that parents do a refresher course before they start to teach their kids. There are a number of resources for parents and teens to learn to drive. In B.C., there is ICBC online and www.yd.com/codriver with information that can help support them.”
Ensuring both parties are on the same page is another important step to take. Bernadette Kowey, Road Safety Manager for ICBC points out that: “Both parent and teen need to be clear on their respective roles, including the new driver’s need to learn in a supportive, respectful environment and the supervisor’s need to be listened to and have the new driver follow any safety directions given.”
It’s also helpful to make a plan or set goals for your training trips so you make sure that you are learning everything you need to know before your road test. And, “if possible, start out practicing in daylight hours and in good weather conditions,” advises Kowey.
Learning to drive with your parents is a huge responsibility for you as the driver and for them as the supervisor. You need to establish the right dynamic to make learning to drive a positive experience. Above all, keep communication open, in and out of the car. You need to be willing to listen and accept criticism whether or not your driving supervisor is also your parent.Login or register to post comments. All comments have to go through a queue for approval to keep the nasty stuff out, but we'll post yours as soon as we can.