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Teaching a learner how to drive

Learning to drive is great for gaining independence and freedom but getting your license requires dedication and often a helping hand from family and friends.

According to the Driving Standards Agency (DSA), learners on average require 47 hours of professional tuition and 22 hours of private practice with parents, friends and family members.

While getting some private practice with someone you know can be a good way to save money, it can be challenging for both parties. This guide is designed to equip you with the skills needed to teach a learner how to drive and will provide you with a few tips to keeping your cool while out on the road.

Know your stuff

First things first: if you're going to teach anyone how to drive, you need to know your stuff. Many of us pick up bad driving habits along the way and you don't want to be passing these on. In fact, a recent study by insurer Admiral found that 45 per cent of parents teaching their children to drive were worried about doing so.

Habits like crossing your hands over the steering wheel, slipping from the nine and three o'clock position, and not using the handbrake when stationary are all things which could result in a failed driving test.
Take this opportunity to brush up on your own driving skills, cutting out the habits you've picked up along the way. This also applies to the theory test side of learning to drive. Make sure you read up on your Highway Code if you're a little rusty on your road signs.

Put yourself in their shoes

The thought of getting in the car with a learner can be daunting, but they probably feel the same about having you in the passenger seat. Remember how you felt when you were learning to drive. What did you find most challenging and what made you most nervous about being on the road? Work on these things to help put both of you at ease.

It might be worth waiting to have your first practice session after they've had a few hours in the car with their driving instructor. Let them get used to handling the car before you get in the passenger seat, as building some confidence on the road beforehand can make the world of difference.

Get the balance right

Making the transition from family or friend to teacher can be tough. It's difficult to know exactly how hands-on or laid back you should be, but getting the balance right is crucial.

Make sure you work together. Ask what areas and specific skills they'd like to cover in your lesson and talk about what they've been doing in their lessons with their instructor.

Keep it cool

Keep calm in the car and don't let things get too heated. If either of you start to lose your cool, take a five-minute break apart and then try again with a clean slate.

If it's not working, don't keep trying. Sometimes the best thing to do is to admit defeat. You could be the best of friends outside the car, but the teacher-pupil relationship just might not work. If this is the case, it's better that the learner finds someone else to do their private practice with than you burn any bridges!
• This guide was written by Isabelle Guarella. Isabelle is a writer for who are specialists in matching learners with their ideal instructors, where you can find some more useful hints and tips for new drivers.

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