For most kids, learning to drive is an important part of growing up. For their parents it represents a significant expense. However, although it’s pricey, buying your child driving lessons could save you money in the long run.
They’ll make their mistakes on someone else’s car
Modern cars are pretty robust but even so, learning to drive can take a mechanical toll on a car. Finding the biting point on a clutch wears clutch plates out, a potentially expensive repair. Equally, judging the width of a car takes time to get used to. Learning how wide a car is can wreak havoc with your pristine alloy wheels, new tyres and possibly insurance. With driving lessons you’re outsourcing all this to a third party.
It’ll be safer
Driving instructors spend their working life delivering driving lessons. They’re used to sitting in a car that’s driving at 15mph when the increasingly short-tempered queue behind wants to travel at 30. They’re used to coping with repeated stalling and patiently coaxing a learner out of a junction into busy traffic. And their car will have dual controls meaning if your young driver gets something horribly wrong, the instructor can step on the brakes.
It’ll be better for family harmony
Teaching your kids to drive could take its toll on your relationship. As kids get older, the less they want to listen to their parents. Throw in that you’ll probably be teaching them in a car that’s cost your hard-earned money. Mix these elements up a bit, throw in some healthy teenage disdain and you’ll come up with a recipe for arguments, possibly tears (either yours or theirs) and much brooding that will probably continue for hours, maybe even days after the lesson.
Driving instructors know about teaching
Remember when you tried to help your kid with homework? Chances are you aren’t a teacher. And neither are you an expert in driving. Driving instructors have been trained in how to give people driving lessons. They will impart their knowledge with authority. And because they don’t know your child intimately, their lessons will probably be treated with a bit more respect.
Driving instructors know about the test
Chances are, you haven’t taken your driving test recently. After staying largely the same for decades, the test has changed over recent years. Driving instructors will have learnt about and understand all these changes. In addition, they’ll know what it takes to pass the driving test. After all, they will have had years of experience of it. They will also know which routes testers take and might even be able to advise on examiners’ likes and dislikes.
It might work out cheaper
Every time you take the driving test it costs £62. That’s the cost of slightly more than two lessons. But the more a learner fails the test, the more they’re likely to fail future ones as things start to prey on their mind. What’s more, if they learn to drive ‘properly’, they’ll probably make fewer mistakes when they have qualified, which in the long run should mean cheaper insurance.
The ideal solution
Let them have their first few lessons in someone else’s (the instructor’s) car. They will make their initial mistakes in that but they’ll learn clutch control and the basic manoeuvres. Then might be the time for you to step in. But not as an instructor, as an encouraging coach/passenger. That way, they’ll benefit from the instructor’s wisdom and knowledge of what it takes to pass the test while getting valuable practice in your car.
I’ve been writing about cars and motoring for more than 25 years. My career started on a long-departed classic car weekly magazine called AutoClassic. I’ve since pitched up at Autosport, Auto Express, the News of the World, Sunday Times and most recently the Daily Telegraph. When I’m not writing about cars and motoring, I’m probably doing some kind of sport or working in my garden.