Teaching Teens to Drive: The Parents Ultimate Guide




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Welcome to our blog! The journey of teaching teens to drive in the UK can be both exciting and challenging. With various traffic rules and driving maneuvers to learn, it requires patience and supportive guidance. This blog aims to share our personal experience teaching a teen to drive and equip you with effective strategies to ensure a smooth and enjoyable driving education for your teen. So, buckle up and join us as we navigate this important milestone together. Let’s turn this challenge into an empowering and bonding experience for both you and your child. Happy driving!

Teaching a friend or family member to drive can be a great way to help reduce the ever-growing costs of learning to drive. Doing so though can cause more issues and embed bad habits. But as they say nothing beats expereince and its far quicker to fix bad habits than it is to give 70 hours of experience behind the wheel. Just saying experience beats all so get driving.

Teaching someone to drive

Can I Help Teach a Friend or Family Member to Drive?

Anyone who has held a driving license for more than 3 years and is older than 21 years old can help teach a person to drive. You must have L plates correctly on your car whenever a learner is driving and must have the correct insurance policy. The insurance policy you need is Learner driver insurance!

Essential Tools for Your Car When Teaching Teens to Drive in the UK

As I am sure you are aware if you are planning to teach someone to drive, checking your mirrors is essential. If you remember your days learning I am sure you remember being told over and over to check your mirrors until it sunk in. If you are teaching someone to drive you too will need to make sure they are checking their mirrors at the correct times and double-checking them yourself to keep the road safe for yourself and those around you.

Driving instructors often have two additional mirrors on their windscreens. One to check behind them and another to watch their learner and see they are checking their mirrors. Having the central additional mirror is a must have as it helps you keep the learner and everyone around you safe because you have a better idea of what is going on around you.

Having a rear view mirror when teaching someone to drive in essential if you want to feel safer and more comfortable when teaching a teen to drive. Trust me as a driving instructor, I have tried it without and it is not a fun experience.

Checking your car mirrors

Avoid Creating Habits, Personal Driving Issues when Teaching Teens to Drive

Almost everyone has a few bad habits when driving, they develop over time for all of us. However, you do not want to pass these bad habits on to your student as it can be a real pain to undo a cemented habit.

Before you decide to help teach someone, brush up on your own driving skills to make sure you are not passing on any bad information. A few ways you could do this are by reading up on a few more driving blogs such how to pull over on the left, watch some videos, or perhaps even have a lesson or two yourself. This will make you more aware of your driving habits and hopefully reduce the risk of you passing anything on.

What to Teach and When to Teach it

Helping teach someone to drive means in essence you are a teacher. You need to come at it in a structured manner and not overwhelm or confuse your student. Do not try and throw too much at them or go too fast. If you are teaching them alongside having driving lessons with a professional instructor try and just reinforce the lessons of the instructor rinse and repeat until it becomes second nature to your student. If you are attempting to solo teach someone it would be advised to look up a driving syllabus and follow that. It is a tried and tested method and timeline for teaching a person to drive.

Another great tool to learn to drive is using our online driving course alongside your driving experience helps prepare you for everything that happens on the road. Believe it or not, it will also jump-start your driving skills to help you get to that driving test standard sooner. Have a look here: http://thecompletedrivingcourse.teachable.com

How to Help a Learner Fix There Mistakes

During your lessons, you will see your student making mistakes. As their teacher it is important to identify these for the student and explain why it is a mistake, explaining the dangers of making a said mistake. You should then explain how they can fix it and how to not do it again. You may need to repeat this several times as there is a lot to learn while driving and it may require repetition to sink in, this is perfectly normal.
Remember each fault as it occurs but generally do not tell your learner while they are driving. Instead pull them over to the side of the road and discuss it with them there. We all know what its like trying to multitask. It can often lead to further mistakes being made. If you need to pull your student over often to go through them then do so. As time progress you should find you need to do it less and less often.

How To Give Directions to a Learner Driver

While teaching it is essential to be clear and consistent. Your student is putting all of their focus on driving and learning and it can be difficult for them to sort through what you are asking them to do if you are not clear. Use terms such as “follow the road, 2nd exit” rather than “go straight over ” at a roundabout. Students get tunnel vision at times and can follow your orders to the letter rather than thinking clearly.  This can lead to some sticky situations and we have to ask our selves if we had worded it differently would the situation have been avoided.

Be Aware

As students progress through their lessons they can appear to be confident and in complete control. A good teacher knows though that issues may still arise. Keep aware of your surroundings and your student at all times even if they appear to be in complete control. They are still a learner and can make unpredictable mistakes at times. Know the potential hazards around you as well as the road well ahead.


A good teacher will always come to lessons with a plan of action. For driving this is critical. Have each lesson and route planned out beforehand, use roads you know and what lies ahead. Try and use roads that are good for learners, starting on quiet roads and areas and as they progress into areas that are busier, with vehicles parked on the side, roundabouts and stop signs as well to teach your student to be aware of them. 

Keeping Your Cool

If you are teaching someone it is most likely you are a friend or family member. When you know someone like that it is easier to become agitated or annoyed when they make mistakes especially if they keep making the same mistakes over and over. It cannot be stressed enough DO NOT RAISE YOUR VOICE OR BECOME IMPATIENT with your learner. This will hurt them. They will become more worried about upsetting or annoying you and will make more mistakes. 

As a learner, it is a simple fact that they will make many, many mistakes. Often the same mistake over and over. You need to be aware of this going into your lesson and be patient, kind and understanding to your student. Examine and explain mistakes and issues when appropriate. Do not berate.

teaching teens to drive
Try never raise your voice


It may feel like your student is taking a long time to learn and is not making much progress, a qualified instructor takes an average of 30 hours to teach a student. Some more, some less. Expect it to take much longer on your own without mixing your lessons with a professional.

Getting practice at home along side driving instructor lessons

It is unlikely you will be able to get someone through a test from start to finish on your own without a qualified instructor to help. If you are planning on helping teach someone to drive, mix your lessons in with a qualified instructor’s lessons so your student has the best possible chance to pass their test and has a well-rounded driving education.

Teaching commentary driving

Commentary driving is explaining what you see around you, the actions you take and your plan for what is next. This is an excellent method of teaching and learning, it helps your student focus and allows the lessons to sink in. As your student progresses you want to let them do this on their own without prompting them more and more until you are a silent observer. You should encourage them to identify their mistakes on their own and explain why it was a mistake and how they should avoid it in the future.

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