Practical driving tests are really stressful for kids and their parents. Everyone wants their child to pass first time (including them), but all too often, kids end up losing their nerve and making painfully silly mistakes on the day. It only takes a few mistakes to lead to a ‘fail’, which is disappointing for the candidate and their family.
Practice is the key to passing first time. It will probably take your child many hours of practice before he is ready to take his test, but all kids are different. Some teens are confident enough to book a test after only 20 hours of professional tuition whereas others need a lot more. Whichever camp your child falls into, taking them out for practice sessions in your neighbourhood will definitely help, so here are a few tips to ensure things run as smoothly as possible.
Is Your Car Legal?
You can’t take a learner driver out without having the right insurance in place. Never assume that your insurance policy covers your child, as it most likely won’t. You will need to pay extra to include a learner driver on your insurance, but it might not be as expensive as you think so call for a quote.
You will also need to stick L plates on the car. These are readily available from auto stores or online retailers such as Amazon.
Lastly, you must be aged 21 or above and have held a full UK driving licence for a minimum of three years to be able to sit with a learner driver.
Be a Patient Supervisor
There is no point offering to take your child out for a practice session if you spend the entire time shouting at them. This won’t benefit either of you and is quite likely to lead to a major falling out. Try and stay patient at all times, even if your child makes a few silly mistakes. If you do have to criticise their driving, at least make sure your criticism is constructive. For example, instead of screaming “slow down!” calmly ask them to put their foot on the brake. This should elicit a more favourable response.
Choose the Right Practice Routes
Until you are reasonably confident your child is a competent driver, stick to quiet roads where there are few hazards to deal with. Let them build their confidence (and yours) along routes free from complex intersections and multiple lanes of traffic. Later on, when their skills have improved, you can start taking them around the test routes.
Drive at Different Times of the Day
If we only ever needed to drive in daylight when the sun was shining, accident rates would fall dramatically. Unfortunately, most of us have to drive at all times of the day and night, and in varying conditions. To mimic this, go out at different times for your practice sessions.
Your child will need to pass his theory test before he is allowed to book a practical driving test. He can take try a few practice tests at toptests.co.uk.