Teaching your teenager to drive is one of the most challenging and daunting responsibilities of child rearing. As co-pilot, you will be in a very influential position to help your teenager make good driving decisions and develop good habits that will last them a lifetime.
Getting your Teenager a Provisional Licence
To obtain a provisional licence for your teenager must be 17 years of age and will have to complete a DL1 application form which is available from main Post Office branches or MOT test centres. Once the applicant has obtained a Provisional licence the learner driver must prepare and start their lessons.
Once your teenager successfully obtains their provisional licence they should begin Driving Lessons. It is recommended that any learner driver sit lessons under each of the following circumstances:
- Wet Roads
- Dual Carriageways
- Country Roads
- Town and City areas
You can find all the necessary information and track your teenager’s progress using the Driver’s record which can be downloaded from here.
There are a number of legal requirements both you and your teen must comply with. Firstly, anyone holding a provisional license must be accompanied (while driving) by someone at least 21 years of age who has a full license for that type of car for at least 3 years.
In Northern Ireland there are restricted speed limits in place for learner drivers. The speed limit for vehicles displaying “L” Plates is 45 mph. As your teenager will most likely be using your car you should remove these plates while you are driving otherwise these restrictions will apply to you as well. You can find more information on the legal requirements of a provisional licence driver here.
While your teen completes their training and is driving with his/her ADI instructor there is no need to worry about insurance. Your child will be covered to drive the instructors car by their Approved Driving Instructor’s insurance policy. Whether your teen will have their own car or will be driving the family car it is important to ensure that they have the correct car insurance cover. At Allianz, we don’t offer cover to first time drivers in their own name but we are more than happy to add them to existing policies that have been held with us for more than 1 year. Adding your teen may increase your premium and impact your excess. More details about the excess* that apply to your policy can be found on our Car Insurance Cover Page.
One of the main benefits of adding a teenager to your policy while they are starting out is that they start to earn named driving experience. This will stand to them when they go to purchase insurance in their own name.
More than likely you will be your teenager’s sponsor, (the experienced driver who accompanies a learner driver during practice sessions). This is a very important role; although your teenager will receive lessons from a qualified professional it is you who will spend the majority of time in the car up until your child pass’ his or her driving test. During this time you have a key role in encouraging good driving behaviour. Use this time wisely, remembering that driving is a great responsibility. Instilling good decision making and habits in your teenager from the outset as they learn to drive will stand to them for the rest of their lives behind a wheel.
Below are some useful tips that are worth keeping in mind:
- Communicate with your teenager’s instructor. Understand the areas where they are strong and weak. Ensure you practice both. Reinforce the messages that the instructor communicates, which can also be found in the driver record issued by the instructor.
- Decide on where your first practice lesson will be, an empty car park is always a good idea - your teen will be more comfortable and this will allow them to practice the basics. Be sure to have your learner permit and insurance in place and clearly visible.
- Focus on one aspect of driving each time – Reinforce the messages your teen’s instructor will have given.
- Keep the initial practice lessons short – the session times can be increased as time goes on.
- Communication is key when teaching, so be encouraging and optimistic, don’t be negative – if either of you become frustrated take a break.
- Try to keep your anxiety in check – remember, the road looks very different from the passenger side.
- Keep alert – your teen will be taking in a lot of new information and concentrating hard on following your instructions.
- Emphasise the importance of good communication – your teen needs to learn how to make sure other drivers see them and how to let those drivers know what they plan to do.
- Finally, remember that driving time is just that, time to learn/ bond – it is not the time to raise other issues.
As you will remember, driving for the first time can be a daunting experience, so don’t forget to praise them when they do something right. As an experienced driver you can calmly explain when they have done something wrong and raise awareness about how this can be corrected the next time. It is all about taking one step at a time. Helping to teach your teenager how to drive, although a challenge at time is very rewarding so start by putting a plan in place and with a little patience your teenager will be receiving their “R” plate in no time! You can find more information on the next steps after passing the practical driving test here.
* The amount is increased by £100 where the driver (or person in charge of your Car) other than You, holds a provisional licence or has held a full licence for a period of less than 12 months.
* The amount is increased by £150 where the driver (or person in charge of your Car) other than You, is aged under 25 years.
This guidance is for general information purposes only and does not purport to provide legal advice or other professional advice. Allianz accepts no responsibility or liability for any losses that may arise from any reliance upon the information contained in this guidance
Information correct as of August 2017.