If your 17-year-old is ready to learn how to drive, like every parent, you may be feeling a little hesitant. But don’t worry, because there are lots of ways you can help your young driver prepare for life on the road – from the basics of learning how to drive to helping them buy their first car.
In this guide, we’re offering some essential top tips every parent should know about how to prepare their teenager for driving.
• Helping Your Child Learn How to Drive
• Buying a Car for a Teenager: Running Costs and Things to Consider
Is Your Child Ready to Drive?
Learning to drive may sound like a rite of passage for any 17-year-old, but it’s not for everyone. There are two major considerations all teenagers should think carefully about before they start driving lessons, including how much it costs and if it’s really the right time to learn.
In terms of cost, it’s important to do the sums. Safe Driving for Life estimates that newbies need an average of 47 lessons before they’re ready for the practical test – which means significant investment. The average lesson costs around £25, so you’re looking at a bill of around £1,175 for tutorage alone.
Of course, you can offset that cost by offering to help your child learn in your own car. This is a good way to save on lessons, but it does mean you have to step into the shoes of a calm, patient and observant driving instructor – something some parents may find tricky.
The other thing to consider is time, and timing. With the average learner needing almost 50 lessons, it’s a big commitment for any teenager, and that’s before you consider the importance of getting through exams and applying for college and university.
We’re not trying to put anyone off learning to drive; the freedom it gives teenagers alone often makes it well worth it. However, this is just some food for thought to make sure your child’s experience as a driver gets off to the best possible start.
Finding the Right Driving Instructor
If they’re dead set on driving, the next step is to help them find a decent instructor. With thousands of instructors offering lessons up and down the country, finding the right person can be tricky – so here are a few words of advice.
Always start by asking friends and family; a word-of-mouth recommendation is the best way to find a trusted instructor in your local area. If your child can chat to a mate or relative about a certain instructor, the more confident they’ll feel going into their first lesson.
If that doesn’t bring up any solid candidates, head to the DVLA’s driving school portal. Here you’ll find a list of certified and approved driving instructors local to your postcode, with rate information and contact details.
Remember – when it comes to finding an instructor, they need to be someone your child clicks with and feels comfortable around. They should be professional but friendly, and also drive a clean, well-maintained car with all the usual driver aids and learning systems.
Thinking of buying your 17-year-old a car? Or perhaps they’re pestering you to help them with a deposit? Lots of new drivers are keen to get the keys to their own car, but this can mean that you’re forced to open your wallet to help them out.
While every parent wants to see their child get the freedom of a car that they’ve worked so hard for, there are lots of things to think about before you hit your local forecourt. In this section of the guide, we’re looking at some of the things to consider before your teenager buys their first car.
Finding Cheap Car Insurance for Young Drivers
Before you buy any car, you need to get an insurance quote to make sure you or your teen can justify the cost. We’ve all heard the horror stories about how expensive car insurance can be for new and young drivers, and we think you’ll be unpleasantly surprised to find that all the reports are true.
With this in mind, here are a few useful tips on how to find cheaper car insurance for a young driver:
• Go for black box insurance – this is a new type of insurance policy that relies on telematics to provide a tailored insurance quote based on your child’s driving style. So long as they drive sensibly for a given period, their premium could be slashed by hundreds of ££s, so it’s well worth looking into.
• Add some tactical named drivers – adding named drivers to a young driver’s insurance policy is a great way to shave pounds and pence off the overall cost. If you or a member of your family has a ‘pillar of the community’ job (doctor, policemen, teacher etc.) then even better, as such occupations are viewed favourably by insurers.
• Always use comparison sites – we’d be surprised if anyone didn’t use a price comparison site for their car insurance by now, but it’s still worth remembering. For the best prices, always compare!
Owning a car is all well and good, but there are costs involved your child may not have considered. Make sure they’re well aware of the following ongoing running costs before they commit to owning their own motor:
• Maintenance, servicing and MOTs
• Breakdown cover
• Parking, permits and congestion charges (depending on where you live)
• Ongoing finance payments
Some of these overheads may sound trivial, but they can add up – especially for a 17-year-old living on a shoestring budget. It’s worth sitting down and doing the sums to figure out exactly how much owning a car is going to cost, so they know how much cash to leave in their account every month.
Safety, Functionality and Performance
Before you start your search, think about the kind of car that would be best suited to your son or daughter. Ideally, you want something safe, slow and sensible, but these attributes may not be at the top of their wish list.
It’s worth remembering that things like engine size, safety rating, and even a car’s make and model can all have an impact on insurance costs. So, for long-term affordability’s sake, it’s well worth reining in your child’s aspirations and making sure you find a car that won’t end up costing a fortune to insure and run.
Here’s a quick checklist of things to look for on the forecourt:
• A low engine capacity – between 1l and 1.2l is best for the cheapest insurance
• Top Euro NCAP safety rating – look for cars with 5 Euro NCAP rating, for added peace of mind
• Low mileage – save on future maintenance costs by buying a low-mileage car
• Full-service history – feel assured that your teen’s car has been well looked after
We hope this guide proves useful when it comes to helping your teenager prepare for life as a driver. Looking for more from Brindley Garages? Click here to check out more news from the motoring world, or if you’re in the market for a new car, see how we can help at our homepage.