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LEARNING TO DRIVE – THE PARENT’S GUIDE

W E L COM E

LEARNING TO DRIVE is an exciting but nervous time for teenagers and their parents. If anything, it can be harder on mum and dad, as the chances are you’ll foot the bill for lessons, insurance and maybe even a first car. Then there’s the worry of using the family wheels for practice as your child gets to grips with the basics of driving. Even the closest parent-child relationship can be put under strain with a teenager behind the wheel and mum or dad in the passenger seat...

Any parent wants to support their child in learning to drive safely and effectively. That’s where the Learning to Drive – The Parent’s Guide comes in. We’ll show you how to help your child become a safe and responsible driver. From choosing the right instructor to making the most of practice to finding affordable insurance cover, this guide is full of practical advice. So, good luck to you and your learner driver. Here’s to making the start of their driving career a safe and happy one.

THE TEAM Publisher: James Evans Editor: David Motton Head of digital: Richard Borges Commercial director: Richard Storrs Art director: Caroline Creighton-Metcalf

GET IN TOUCH info@firstcar.co.uk 08451 308853 firstcar.co.uk

facebook.com/firstcarmag youtube.com/FirstCarUK The contents of this magazine are copyright © FirstCar Ltd and may not be reproduced or transmitted, in any form in whole or in part, without written consent from the editor. Neither FirstCar Ltd nor its staff can be held responsible for the accuracy of the information herein or for any consequence arising from it. (08/21)

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Your child is about to start their driving career. We’ll help you to support them, with advice on choosing an instructor and helping with practice between lessons.

16 THE TESTS You probably took one test when you learned to drive. Now learners must pass a theory test as well as the practical test. Here’s what you need to know...

22 INSURANCE Insuring a young driver is expensive, but there are ways to make it more affordable. We’ll talk you through learner driver insurance and the advantages of telematics.

28 CAR BUYING Nobody forgets their first car. Whether you and your child plan to buy new or used, we’ll help you pick a safe and reliable first-time buy.

34 OWNING OW NI NG... SIM PL E ENANCE TIPS TO INT MA SAV E MONEY PAGE 34

Some simple DIY maintenance can save money. More importantly, regular checks will help your child to stay safe out on the road.

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LEARNING TO DRIVE – THE PARENT’S GUIDE

THE ROAD TO YOUR CHILD’S

DRIVING L Your child is starting on one of the most exciting and rewarding journeys of their life. Nothing beats the thrill and freedom of having a full driving licence, but there are plenty of steps along the road first. Over 3 the next few pages we’ll talk you through them.

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1 UNDER-17 DRIVING

2

1 UNDER-17 DRIVING

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Is their 17th birthday still a few months away? Or maybe it’s years off? Your child can still get behind the wheel, just not on the road. There are loads of young driver schemes all over the country from the likes of youngdriver.eu and under17carclub.co.uk which put younger teenagers in the driving seat on private land. The best schemes place a strong emphasis on road safety as well as car control. Sign up, and your child will be better prepared when they do get on the road.


LEARNING

G LICENCE 6 5 5 PRACTICAL TEST 3 FIND AN INSTRUCTOR 2 THEIR PROVISIONAL LICENCE Nobody can jump straight into a car on their 17th birthday without having a provisional licence first. Don’t wait until the big day – your child can apply long before they turn 17. It’s easy to make an online application if they have a Government Gateway ID or otherwise fill out a D1 form which can be collected from the Post Office. Turn the page for more on applying for a provisional licence.

If you want to give your child the best chance of passing first time, you’ll want to find a really good instructor. Practising with relatives is important, but it’s no substitute for expert instruction from a professional. Turn to page 10 to find out more.

4 THEORY TEST

Before your child can take their practical test they have to pass the theory test. There are two parts, one with multiplechoice questions and one assessing their ability to spot hazards. Want to know more? Turn to page 16.

Has your child passed the theory test? Well done, but there’s still another hoop to jump through before they have their full licence: the practical test. This takes place on the public road with an examiner in the passenger seat and will last around 40 minutes. We’ll talk you through the practical test in more detail on page 18.

6 NEXT STEPS

Passing the practical test isn’t the end of the road – it’s the beginning. Drivers never stop learning, and post-test training such as the Pass Plus scheme can really help guide young drivers through their first months on the road.

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LEARNING TO DRIVE – THE PARENT’S GUIDE Drivers can learn on the road once they are 17, so long as they have a provisional licence

IT’S A FACT Once

your their licence, it’ child has s automatical ly theirs until th e age of 70. Bu they will have t to renew it ev ery 10 years. They’ll no longer rece ive a paper counte rpar the photocard t; there’s just portion of the licence. The ph oto w updated when ill be they renew.

APPLYING FOR A PROVISIONAL LICENCE 8

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LEARNING

A

S WATERSHED MOMENTS in a teenager’s life go, the 17th birthday has to be right up there. Forget cards and presents or a night out with friends – what they’re probably more excited about is finally being able get behind the wheel of a car on the public road. To make sure their licence arrives in time for their birthday, it’s possible to apply several months in advance. However, regardless of when it arrives they can’t get behind the wheel until they are 17. Just as importantly, even if they’ve applied for their licence in good time but it fails to arrive before the big day, they can’t start driving until the licence turns up. However, as it should take just one week to arrive if you apply online, or three weeks by post, allowing two months should be more than enough time. Applying for a provisional driving licence is simplicity itself. Just have your child complete the relevant application form. The one they need is called a D1 form and should be available from most post offices. They’ll also need to hand over the fee. At the time of writing it’s £43, but you can check the current cost by logging on to gov.uk/driving-licence-fees. Your child doesn’t have to apply for their provisional driving licence through the post though. The online service at gov.uk/ apply-first-provisional-driving-licence is quick and easy. What’s more, it’s cheaper than a postal application, saving £9 at the time of writing. That’s not a huge amount but every penny counts when learning to drive is so expensive.

Learning to drive for

THE DISABLED Having a disability need not be a barrier to learning to drive. There are many modifications and adaptations that can make driving possible. If your child receives the higher rate mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or the enhanced rate mobility component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) then they can apply for a licence at 16, not 17.

UNDER-17

DRIVING

Although your child can’t legally drive on public roads until they are 17, on private land they can drive at any age. As a result, in recent years there’s been an explosion in under-17 driving opportunities. By starting young they’ll have a better feel for how a car works when they reach 17, and will hopefully be better able to learn about hazard perception and the rules of the road if they can already control a car. The biggest under-17 driving scheme is Young Driver (youngdriver.eu), launched in 2009 and available at more than 50 sites across the UK. The programme’s Kim Stanton comments: “At Young Driver, we strongly believe that catching youngsters when their attitudes towards driving are still developing is the key to producing a safer driver.” Some other schemes are listed below.

Bennetts, Gloucestershire, bennettsdrivingschool.com Castle Combe Startline, Wiltshire, castlecombecircuit.co.uk Cats Eyes Driving School, Vale of Glamorgan, catseyesdrivingschool.co.uk DriveB4Uturn17, Hampshire, Surrey, West Sussex, driveb4uturn17.co.uk Drive Safe, Lincolnshire, under17-drivinglessons.co.uk Driving Ambition, Northamptonshire, drivingambitionbrackley.info Gold, The Driving Academy, Dorset, golddriving.co.uk Pro Scot, Fife, pro-scot.com S.L.Y.D.E, Essex, slydeyoungdriver.co.uk Under 17 Car Club, Various locations, under17-carclub.co.uk Wunda Wheels, Lanarkshire, wundawheels.co.uk

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LEARNING TO DRIVE – THE PARENT’S GUIDE

FIND THE PERFECT

INSTRUCTOR A

S THE PARENT of a learner driver it is really important you find the right driving instructor. To help you find the ideal person to teach your teenager, the DVSA has improved its ‘find driving schools, lessons and instructors’ service.

You can now search the database of more than 26,000 approved instructors by the grade awarded to them by the DVSA. Instructors can add links to their website or Facebook page. This will help you find more detailed information, whether the instructor provides a photo

GO BY PERSONAL RECOMMENDA TI – ask other pa ON rent what they thin s k of their child’s instructor.

for security, whether they provide lessons for learners with a special need, the instructor’s availability/ working pattern and the price of lessons. To find the best driving instructor for your child go to www.gov.uk/find-drivingschools-and-lessons.

ASK THE DRIVING SCHOOL THESE QUESTIONS

1 2

Is the instructor fully qualified (an ADI)?

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If they are a PDI (an instructor who is still in training) will I pay less?

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If I sign up for a course and my child doesn’t get on with the instructor, can we change to another?

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Will my child get the same instructor and car for each of their lessons? How long is each lesson? Can we choose 60, 90 or 120-minute sessions?

Is the instructor CRB checked? Are all the school’s instructors checked in this way?

Are there apps or online tools included in the price of lessons?

Will my child get help with passing both parts of the theory test? Do you offer post-test training to improve my child’s skills after passing?


LEARNING

MAKE THE MOST OF EVERY

LESSON You're paying a lot for an expert to teach your child to drive, so be sure they make the most of their time. Here's how:

● ENCOURAGE REST Try to persuade your child to get a good night’s sleep before each lesson. A big night out before a morning lesson is a bad idea – they need to be alert and sober. ● KEEP ENERGY UP It’s a good habit for your

learner to eat and drink before each lesson to boost their energy levels. ● GO LONG When booking their lessons, think about 90-minute or two-hour sessions. They’ll have more time to get into a rhythm than if the lesson lasts an hour. ●TEACHER KNOWS BEST Instructors know what they are talking about, so encourage your child to pay close attention in lessons.

TOP TIP

Help your child by allowing them to between lesson practise in s. But make sure you stay below the leve l of difficulty yo ur learner has reached w ith their instructor.

● ASK QUESTIONS Talk to your child’s instructor about how the lessons are going, and what your child is learning. That way you can better support lessons with practice in the family car.

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CAITLIN’S MESSAGE:

, S D A O R L A R RU R E G N A D L REA Caitlin Huddleston was a front seat passenger in a car driven by her friend who had recently passed her driving test. With another friend in the back seat of the car, they were travelling on the A595 in Cumbria, to a local restaurant for an evening meal, when the newly qualified driver lost control of the car on a bend in the road and collided into a van. Neither driver was speeding but the road was wet. The Coroner put the crash down to the inexperience of the newly qualified driver. The third person in the car and the van driver were both severely injured in the crash. Caitlin was just 18 when she died. Her mother, Sharron, has imagined what warning Caitlin would now give to newly qualified drivers, their passengers and their parents if she could...

your s on passing mine... Hi! Congratulation to nd ite get arou test, I didn’t qu my r fo I was applying I accepted When I was 18 ing en ev e on e when was a he provisional licenc S d. year-old frien 18y m om fr a lift ! e you are now novice driver... lik rs and rural ive dr on novice evening. If All the research en right on that roads was prov ing information, I wonder is life-sav I had known th my parents or ? ow... doing now we will never kn what I would be is. Unfortunately car crash on a th r de on w n te l My parents of enger in a fata family killed as a pass d up from my ke pic ing be I was tragically r te af s te inu m 15 rural road just music I am forever 18. ing to my first home... So now summer to go my at in th d d rie ar bu rw fo as w I was looking to go... but I y ad re g hin yt ever festival.... I had tead. on that day ins rents didn’t local churchyard to you! My pa en pp ha ’t on w it er rong we w e. Don’t ever think to me. How w en pp and ha ld ou w think it with your family on these pages drivers and e d vic fie ali ad qu e th ly w e Please shar ong young ne s. awareness am es on our road friends to raise carers to help save young liv d their parents an have a future. driving so you re Please take ca n from me. Mine was take


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The Caitlin’s Hour radio show celebrated her life, and warned young people of the dangers of driving on rural roads. You can listen by going to TheAA.com and searching “AA Trust”.

CAITLIN’S TIPS:

HOW TO STAY SAFE ON RURAL ROADS

DID YOU KNOW THAT: Some 71% of fatal crashes involving young drivers happen on rural roads. Yet eight in ten drivers (86%) underestimate the risk driving poses to their safety. Road crashes are a bigger threat to young people than drugs, gun, and knife crime. Young drivers who follow Caitlin’s tips will be safer driving on country roads. ● Gain experience with

your driving instructor or parents on rural roads in different weather conditions even after passing your test. ● With every extra sameage passenger, you are four times more likely to have a crash, potentially killing yourself and your friends, compared to driving alone. ● Consider not giving friends a lift until you have gained experience. ● As a passenger only travel with drivers with experience that you trust. ● Remember fatal crashes are more likely late at night or early in the morning. ● Take it easy, and slow

down before bends. ● Drive more slowly in

bad weather – the speed limit isn’t a target. ● Expect the unexpected – there could be a walker, cyclist, tractor, or animal around every corner. ● Always be ready to stop in the distance you can see to be safe. ● Value your life as youth and inexperience puts you more at risk behind the wheel. ● Look at the AA’s interactive map to understand dangerous roads near you. Avoid them or take extra care. https://bit.ly/3BNBEAP

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LEARNING TO DRIVE – THE PARENT’S GUIDE

PARENTAL CONTROL

Unless you are a qualified ADI, then you are almost certainly not the best person to teach your child to drive. But that doesn’t mean you won’t play an important role in helping your teenager to become a safe and responsible driver. Time spent practising between professional lessons can reinforce what your child has been learning. This is best done by working as a team with the instructor, and doing your best not to pass on any bad habits you may have developed. Try following these tips:

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1

Parents should read a current copy of The Highway Code and work with their child on the theory exam.

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Plan before you set out. Choose a suitable area and route, and know what you want to achieve before you get behind the wheel.

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Use quiet roads until your child is confident, especially in traffic.

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Stay below the level they’ve reached with their driving instructor.

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Avoid carrying passengers – they’re a potential distraction.

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Work with a professional instructor who tells you what your child is being taught and what techniques are being used. Then you won’t give conflicting advice.

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A learner driver is not ready for all the challenges of the road, so you must be aware of the hazards around you. Constantly anticipate other road users and be ready to spot trouble your child has missed.


LEARNING

MOTORWAYS Although motorways are statistically our safest roads, learner drivers haven’t been allowed on them. That all changed on 4 June 2018. Learners now have the green light to get to grips with motorway driving before they have passed their practical test. Will I be able to drive on the motorway with my learner? No. The rules allow learners onto the motorway, but only in cars with dual-controls and accompanied by an approved driving instructor. So you won’t be able to practise on motorways with your child between professional driving lessons.

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Be sparing with your comments, but problems must be identified while still fresh in the memory. Confidence needs to be built first, though, so don’t forget to praise good driving.

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Keep calm – shouting won’t help. And don’t get angry if they find constructive criticism hard to take.

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Make learning enjoyable. You need to keep your cool so that you both enjoy the process. You and your teenager shouldn’t dread getting into the car.

Is motorway driving now compulsory for all learner drivers? There is no requirement for your child to drive

on the motorway if they don’t want to. Depending on where you live it may be impractical. It will be up to you, your child and their instructor to decide whether to drive on the motorway. Why have the changes happened? In the words of Road Safety Minister, Andrew Jones: “To allow learner drivers to take lessons on motorways will enable novice drivers to experience the broadest possible range of driving experiences in a supportive environment, helping them to be better, safer drivers.”

TEACHING GOOD HABITS Learning to drive doesn’t start when your child is 17. It doesn’t even start a few months before, if you book your son or daughter an under-17 driving course. You’re teaching children how to drive from a very early age through the example you set. If they see you checking text messages on the move, gambling at amber lights, or cutting up other drivers, can you really expect them to behave safely and responsibly when they get behind the wheel?

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LEARNING TO DRIVE – THE PARENT’S GUIDE

E H T Y R O E TH T S E T

B

EFORE YOUR CHILD can take their practical test they must pass the theory test. Book via the official website at gov.uk/booktheory-test. There are third-party websites through which you can book, but they charge extra fees on top of the £23 cost of the test. However, third-party websites often offer unlimited retests for free. With a pass rate of 48% for the theory test, there’s a good chance of having to retake, so you could save cash. Just check any terms and conditions. To take the test your child will need to go to a

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suitable centre where they’ll be allocated a booth with a computer, along with instructions on how to use it. They will work their way through both parts of the test (multiple-choice questions then the hazard perception section) before being given the results for both tests at the end of the session. To give your learner driver the best chance of passing, encourage them to take the theory test seriously – they won’t be able to bluff their way through it. To find out more about the theory test visit firstcar.co.uk.


TESTS

GREAT APPS THE OFFICIAL DVSA THEORY TEST KIT Because this was created by the same people who set the theory and practical driving tests, you’re not going to find a more useful app, and at £4.99 it’s a bargain. UK CAR DRIVING THEORY TEST This app from Webrich Software is user-friendly, interactive and your child can challenge their mates for some added fun. The full bank of questions costs £2.99, so this app is very good value for money. DRIVING TEST SUCCESS

GET SOME HELP There’s a stack of aids to help your child get through their theory test. The apps here are a good start. The official theory test questions aren’t published anywhere, but the DVSA does publish The Official DVSA Theory Test for Car Drivers, and a similar title for motorcyclists. These feature hundreds of official revision questions, plus case studies on every topic, along with info to help understand and remember the theory. There are loads of real-life photos and diagrams, plus links to online resources and videos where your child can learn more. They’ll also need to study The Official Highway Code. Order a copy for your child from tsoshop.co.uk.

Practise every official revision question from the DVSA with this app. Available for iOS, Android, and Kindle Fire devices. View the full range of apps at theorytestapp.co.uk

Your child must spot hazards like this, early

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LEARNING TO DRIVE – THE PARENT’S GUIDE

THE PRACTICAL TEST

W H AT TO E X PEC T Passed the theory test? Then the practical test is all that stands between your child and their full driving licence HOW LONG IS THE DRIVING TEST? They’ll spend around 40 minutes behind the wheel, driving on a variety of roads. WHAT HAPPENS BEFORE THEY START DRIVING? First of all, they’ll need to show they can see well enough to drive. That means reading a numberplate from 20 metres away (or 20.5 metres if it’s an old-style numberplate). If they can’t, the test will be over before it has really started, so remind your child to wear contact lenses or glasses if they need them to see clearly. They’ll also be asked a ‘tell me’ question, such as “How would you check the headlights and tail lights are operating correctly?” They don’t need to make the check, just prove to the examiner that they know how it’s done. It will help if you can practise these questions with your child in the weeks before their test. If they get the ‘tell me’ question wrong they’ll have notched up a driving fault.

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Any more than 15 minor faults results in failure. WHAT CAN THEY EXPECT WHILE DRIVING? For 20 minutes out of the 40 they’ll be driving independently. That means following road signs or a sat nav to a destination. They won’t have to enter the destination into the sat nav – the examiner will do that for them. They shouldn’t worry if they take a wrong turn, what’s really important is that they drive safely and legally. They’ll be asked a ‘show me’ question while driving. It could be as simple as showing how they would turn on the rear demister, or wash and clean the windscreen. As well as making a hill start, pulling out from behind a parked car, and making a normal stop at the side of the road, they may need to make an emergency stop. They’ll also need to carry out one of three reversing manoeuvres. If you can supervise lots of reversing practice before the test that will be a big help.

HOW GOOD DO THEY NEED TO BE TO PASS? They need to prove that they are safe and competent – the examiner is not expecting perfection. Any dangerous fault during the test means failure, but up to 15 minor mistakes are allowed. So they shouldn’t panic if they make the odd small mistake.


PRACTICAL TESTS TEST

YOUR CHECKLIST FOR

PRACTICAL TEST

SUCCESS If your child can put a tick in all these boxes they won’t go far wrong

A POSITIVE ATTITUDE

The instructor wouldn’t encourage your child to take the test if they weren’t ready, so encourage self-belief.

GOOD TIMEKEEPING

Allow plenty of time to reach the test centre. Your child’s stress levels will go through the roof if they are running late.

THEIR PROVISIONAL LICENCE

Your child needs to take their provisional licence with them to the test centre. They need their theory test pass certificate too. Don’t let them forget!

SENSIBLE CLOTHES AND FOOTWEAR

Suggest they wear comfortable clothes, and shoes which make it easy for them to operate the pedals safely.

BE WILLING TO LEARN

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE TEST IS OVER? The examiner will talk your child through any faults. If they make the grade, they’ll be given a pass certificate. They’ll be able to start independent driving immediately – there’s no need to wait for their full licence to arrive. To find out more about the practical test visit firstcar.co.uk.

Just over half of practical tests end with a thumbs down from the examiner. Don’t be surprised if this happens to your child, even if they’ve been flying in their lessons. They’ll be told why they have failed at the end of the test so they can correct what went wrong next time.

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LEARNING TO DRIVE – THE PARENT’S GUIDE

HOW TO HELP WITH TEST NERVES...

There’s no point in pretending your child won’t be nervous as their tests loom. But there are steps you can both take to prevent nerves taking over.

1 AVOID PEER PRESSURE

If having friends asking about their driving test will make your child nervous, encourage them to keep the test date to themself.

2 PRACTISE, PRACTISE, PRACTISE

Talk to your instructor and your child about the manoeuvres they have been practising, in particular the

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skills they need to improve upon. Then make time so they can practise with you in the passenger seat. Getting a manoeuvre right time after time without the safety net of dual-controls will really help their confidence.

3 REMEMBER, WORRY MAKES IT WORSE

The trouble with worry is that it interferes with concentration. The mind focuses on what might go wrong instead of what needs to be done next. Encourage your child to block negative thoughts and give driving their full attention every time they get behind the wheel.

4 THINK SUCCESSFUL THOUGHTS The instructor wouldn’t put your teenager in for their test if they didn’t think they were ready. Encourage your child to remember all the times they have successfully tackled tough manoeuvres. If they’ve done these things well before, they can do them again.

5 GO EASY ON THEM

However well they are driving in lessons, your child could still fail. Make sure they understand this isn’t the end of the world. In fact, it will probably make them a better driver in the long run.


TESTS

... AND SUPPORT THEM IF THEY FAIL

TOP TIP

The Theory from Drivin Test App g allows your Test Success child to prac tise every officia l question from2021 revision the DVSA. It’ great for prac s tis move. Ther ing on the e’s m theorytestap ore at p.co.uk

1 GIVE THEM HELP

If your child didn’t pass their theory test, help them come back stronger by using learning aids such as apps to improve their knowledge. If they’ve failed the practical, discuss what went wrong and help them improve on any areas of weakness.

2 GET THEM BACK BEHIND THE WHEEL

Failing the practical test can be a real blow to a young driver’s confidence, and they may be tempted to take a break from learning. Don’t let them take more than a few days off. They shouldn’t be allowed to get rusty, or to put off facing their nerves indefinitely. Be supportive, understanding and encouraging. It will give them a lift to know you are in their corner.

3 THE LONGER THEY LEARN, THE BETTER THEY WILL BECOME

Anyone who passes first time is very proud of the fact. But did you know there’s plenty of evidence that people who fail their first practical test actually go on to be better, safer drivers? That’s because the extra practice and instruction will improve their skills, and delay the moment at which they are exposed to the risks of independent driving. So failing may seem like a big deal at the time, but help your child understand that, statistically, it’s going to make them a safer driver.

4 BOOK THE NEXT TEST SOON

Instructors don’t set their pupils up to fail, so if they felt your child was good enough before they should be ready for a re-test. Allow time to work on weaknesses but book another test soon.

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LEARNING TO DRIVE – THE PARENT’S GUIDE

HOW LEARNER DRIVER

INSURANCE WORKS

What is learner driver insurance? Learner driver insurance covers a young driver to practise in someone else’s car, most likely their parents’. Instead of being added to your insurance and bumping up your premium, they have their own policy.

How long does cover last? It varies. Some insurers will ask learners to sign up for at least 30 days, others offer daily policies or will even cover youngsters for just a few hours.

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Why do they need it?

Well, insurance is a legal requirement, so they need to be covered one way or the other. Plus there are advantages to having a learner driver policy. Adding a learner as a named driver to your car insurance can be expensive compared with arranging separate cover. What’s more, if they do have a mishap, they can claim on their own policy, not yours, which should help keep the peace if they have a prang in the family car.

“ If they have a mishap they can claim on their own policy, not yours, which should keep the peace if they have a prang”


INSURANCE

Let’s face it – driving lessons aren’t cheap. If you want to maximise your child’s time behind the wheel without maxing out the cost you’ll need to get them some practice in between lessons. That way their confidence and experience will improve much faster. But they’ll have to have insurance!

How much does it cost? Learners should find cover for around £70 month, or less than £2 per day.

Any restrictions?

Kids won’t be able to borrow their rich uncle’s Range Rover – policies place restrictions on the insurance group and the total value of the car they drive. Typically the highest insurance group allowed will be around group 30-35, and the maximum value of the car somewhere in the region of £30,000 or so.

Anything else I should know? Policies usually cover learners to drive in one specific vehicle – expect to take out another policy if they want to practise in a second car. There may also be restrictions on the age of whoever is supervising and their driving experience, so an older brother or sister may not have been behind the wheel for long enough. Also, if a young driver has already made a claim due to a crash while learning, they may not be eligible for cover.

TOP TIP

Try to get your much practice child as as at least once a you can, wee or three times k. Two is ev better. It’ll build en thei confidence an r d skills.

firstcar.co.uk

23




LEARNING TO DRIVE – THE PARENT’S GUIDE

TELEMATICS INSURANCE EXPLAINED

Black box cover could make insurance more affordable – and improve your child’s driving too! Insurance is one of the most painful things about being a young driver – or a young driver’s parent, if you’re paying the premium. According to the Quotezone comparison site, the average annual car insurance premium for a 17-21 year old driver is £948.95. Telematics (or ‘black box’) insurance is one way to reduce the price of cover and encourage good driving habits at the same time. What is telematics insurance? If you and your child opt for a telematics policy, a ‘black box’ is fitted to their car. This combines a GPS unit, a motion sensor and a SIM card to transmit data. It detects where the car is, how fast it is being driven, and how violently the car is accelerating, braking and cornering. How is the data used? The information the black box collects is fed back to the insurer, and used to reassess the young driver’s premium at regular intervals.

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Obeying the speed limit, avoiding harsh acceleration and braking, and driving at low-risk times of day can all contribute to a reduced bill. In some cases there are other forms of reward or special offers for safe and responsible driving. This could mean extra miles are added to a limited mileage policy, or the driver receives vouchers and free gifts. Can youngsters check how well they are driving? Yes. Telematics insurance providers usually have a portal or app through which drivers can see if their driving is up to standard. By checking back regularly they can tell if they are improving or slipping into bad habits. Are parents also able to see driving scores? Typically any named driver will have access to the feedback scores, so if you are named on the policy you’ll be able to see how well your child is doing. Some insurers have found that simply knowing that mum or dad can see their

TOP TIP

Insuring your son or daughter to dr ive car is one way the family to cover, but with get them thei car and policy r own they build a No Clai ’ll ms Discount. feedback improves young people’s driving. Can I have a telematics policy with my child as the named driver? There are plenty of telematics insurance providers who insure older drivers as well as youngsters. But don’t be tempted to name yourself as the main driver unless you really are going to do most of the miles. If your insurer finds out that you’ve fibbed about who is really the main user of the car, then you’ve committed fraud. It could invalidate your insurance cover. Also, if your child isn’t the main driver on the policy then they won’t build up their own No Claims Discount. So in the long run it’s best for


INSURANCE

them to be the main driver, even if the car is also used by a parent. What are the drawbacks of telematics insurance? Some policies set curfews that restrict young drivers from getting behind the wheel at night. Whether that’s a good or bad thing depends on your point of view. A teenager may be frustrated they can’t give their mates a lift home from the pub, but a parent may be relieved... Also, just as good driving can be rewarded with a

lower premium, so poor driving can lead to a higher insurance cost – even if the young driver hasn’t had an accident. That’s not universal, though. Some companies are all carrot and no stick, and don’t increase premiums for aggressive driving unless it has led to a claim. Will my child face any restrictions? We’ve mentioned curfews, which are actually quite rare. Mileage limits are a lot more common. Generally these are set when the policy is taken

out, and can be extended at extra cost. Some insurers offer bonus mileage as a reward for safe and careful driving. Is telematics right for me and my young driver? In most cases, yes. You should be able to find a better price by choosing a telematics policy rather than conventional insurance cover. And it encourages safe driving, too. To find out more about insurance for young drivers, visit firstcar.co.uk.

firstcar.co.uk

27


LEARNING TO DRIVE – THE PARENT’S GUIDE

BEST NEW CARS

Here’s our pick of the safest and most affordable small cars F £1 ROM 6, 20 0

OM 4 0 FR14 , 3 £

28

but it certainly doesn’t hurt. Fortunately the Clio ticks lots of sensible boxes as well. The safety gurus at Euro NCAP rated the Clio as the best supermini they tested in 2019, and autonomous emergency braking is standard even if you buy the most affordable Clio. Renault’s system can detect bicycles and pedestrians as well as other cars.

NISSAN MICRA

EURO NCAP SAFETY RATING FIVE STARS (2017) AUTONOMOUS EMERGENCY BRAKING STANDARD INSURANCE FROM GROUP 8E You could do a lot worse than start out as a new driver behind the wheel of the Nissan Micra. It makes a great first car. It’s very safe, with a five-star rating from Euro NCAP. Autonomous emergency braking is included in the price, along with other high-tech driver aids. The Micra is more affordabe than most rivals.

GO TO: firstcar.co.uk/buying for more...

PHOTOGRAPHY: MANUFACTURERS

RENAULT CLIO

EURO NCAP SAFETY RATING FIVE STARS (2019) AUTONOMOUS EMERGENCY BRAKING STANDARD INSURANCE FROM GROUP 3E We reckon the Renault Clio is one of the best looking small cars around. That doesn’t necessarily make it a great buy, of course,


BUYING OM 10 FR20,2 £

TOYOTA YARIS

EURO NCAP SAFETY RATING FIVE STARS (2019) AUTONOMOUS EMERGENCY BRAKING STANDARD INSURANCE From GROUP 13E You’ll need deep pockets to buy your child a new Toyota Yaris. But there are good reasons

to take a closer look. For one thing, every Yaris is a hybrid, with the promise of small fuel bills and low carbon dioxide emissions. It should be cheaper to fuel than most superminis. You get plenty of kit for your cash, too, including autonomous emergency braking. It’s super-reliable, and looks good too!

Keep your loved ones safe on the road As a parent, grandparent, or a concerned family friend you will always be worried about a younger person’s safety on the road. The risk of a younger driver being killed or seriously injured is much higher, due to the lack of experience regarding potential hazards and the excitement that being a new driver can bring. For £65 our Young Driver Assessment Gift Voucher is the perfect way to help that younger driver in your life build on their skills and boost confidence on the road. To purchase a voucher you can visit www.iamroadsmart.com/YDA or call us on 0300 303 1134

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29/07/2021 11:59:16


LEARNING TO DRIVE – THE PARENT’S GUIDE

BEST USED CARS Get your child on the road for less with the right used car

HYUNDAI I20 (15-)

EURO NCAP SAFETY RATING FOUR STARS (2015) WARRANTY DIRECT RELIABILITY INDEX/REPAIR COST 14/£122.14 INSURANCE From GROUP 4 A used Hyundai is a safe bet, especially if you choose the excellent i20. It’s the winner of our Used Car of the Year Award for 2021.

KIA PICANTO (17-)

FRO £52 M 00

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One of the big plus points of choosing the i20 is the transferable five-year warranty. Even as the second or third owner, cover continues until the car is five years old with no mileage limitation. So you and your child should be protected against any unexpected bills. There’s a good chance you won’t have to claim on the warranty, given how reliable Hyundais are.

EURO NCAP SAFETY RATING THREE STARS/FOUR STARS WITH SAFETY PACK WARRANTY DIRECT RELIABILITY INDEX/REPAIR COST 18/£155.47 INSURANCE FROM GROUP 4 At FirstCar, we’ve always been big fans of the Kia Picanto. It’s great value as a used car. Fuel economy is impressive and insurance bills will be low.

firstcar.co.uk

USED PRICES ARE APPROXIMATE AS OF AUGUST 2021

OM FR 995 3 £


BUYING SKODA CITIGO (11-)

OM FR 3 9 0 £2

EURO NCAP SAFETY RATING THREE STARS (2019) WARRANTY DIRECT RELIABILITY INDEX/ REPAIR COST NA INSURANCE FROM GROUP 1 Take off the Skoda badges, and the Citigo is much the same car as the Volkswagen Up. You get the same fun character, but at a lower price.

FR £23OM 00

VW POLO (09-17)

EURO NCAP SAFETY RATING FIVE STARS (2009) WARRANTY DIRECT RELIABILITY INDEX/REPAIR COST 23/£184.27 INSURANCE FROM GROUP 3 The previous generation Polo makes a very grown-up, classy first car. Safety standards are high, reliability is good, and running costs are affordable. There are plenty around, so you can be picky.


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33


MAINTENANCE

LEARNING TO DRIVE – THE PARENT’S GUIDE

Maintenance

BA S I C S

A few minutes each week can save you and your child cash

Y

OUR CHILD’S CAR is a complicated piece of machinery and there are lots of things that they won’t be able to do when it comes to maintenance. However, there are also loads of things that they can do, especially if you have time to give them some tips. Encouraging a young driver to look after their car will reduce the chances of a breakdown. What’s more, if you can tackle basic work between you instead of taking the car to a garage you could save yourselves a packet.

POWER STEERING FLUID Most cars have power steering; read the manual to see where the fluid reservoir is, then help your child to check the level. This should never drop. If it does, there’s a problem to address.

BRAKE FLUID Show your child how to check the level in the braking system reservoir. Expect the level to drop a little as the brakes wear, but never below the minimum level marked on the side of the reservoir.

WIPERS AND WASHERS If the wiper blades fail your child could struggle to see the road. So encourage them to replace the wiper blades every 12 months or so, and use quality screenwash to clean the windscreen.

BATTERY Batteries tend to be maintenance-free, but if the battery is struggling to turn the engine over, suggest that your child replaces it. Fail to do so and when it packs in altogether it will leave them stranded.

LIGHTS Try to persuade your child to check their lights are working every week. With your help it’ll take just a couple of minutes. Check brake lights, indicators, headlights, tail lights and number plate bulbs.

TYRES Accelerating, braking and cornering all depend on those four patches of rubber in contact with the ground. Encourage regular checks to make sure the tyres have plenty of tread left and are inflated correctly.

ENGINE OIL Emphasise the importance of regularly checking oil levels. Warn your child against waiting for the oil light on the dash to illuminate – by the time it comes on the damage may already have been done.

ENGINE COOLANT To stop an engine overheating the radiator must be filled with coolant. An engine shouldn’t use coolant; if the level drops there’s a problem. Every few years the coolant should be replaced.

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