Learning to drive

Parent teachers pass on bad habits

14 March 2011

Parents have a key role to play in learners' driving development, but many lack confidence or up-to-date knowledge, or have developed bad habits which they risk passing on according to AA Driving School.

Top of the list is poor use of mirrors – mentioned by one in four of a national panel of AA driving instructors.

Speeding, failing to check blind spots and not feeding the wheel when turning were next on the list, followed by braking too hard or too late.

Top 10 bad habits passed on by parents

(...as reported by instructors at AA Driving School)

  1. Not using mirrors properly (mentioned by 25% of instructors)
  2. Speeding (14%)
  3. Not checking blind spots (14%)
  4. Not feeding the wheel when turning (14%)
  5. Braking too hard or late (11%)
  6. Driving too close to the vehicle in front (8%)
  7. Letting the wheel slip through the hands (6%)
  8. Having only one hand on the wheel (6%)
  9. Criticising or getting angry at other drivers (5%)
  10. Coasting in neutral (3%)

These findings come after a recent AA/Populus survey found that some parents are setting a bad example – and breaking the law – by drinking, using phones or even falling asleep while supervising learners on practice drives.

Learners who combine formal lessons from an instructor with practice with family or friends boost their chances of passing their test and are likely to be safer drivers.


According to AA Driving School director Simon Douglas "Parents should try to set a good example with their own driving – and remember to let the experts do the teaching, while they focus on helping their children gain experience."

Supporting learner drivers

The AA last year launched the pioneering Supporting Learner Drivers course, which puts parents back in the driving seat with an AA instructor to help them develop skills for coaching learners.

The course is designed to ensure practice drives complement and reinforce the syllabus taught to learners in lessons with a professional driving instructor.

By teaming up with their child's instructor, mum or dad can ensure they provide the best possible support and that they complement, not contradict, the key skills a learner picks up in formal lessons.