Make sure your parents are giving you the right steer with driving tips

One in two learner drivers are given tuition by their parents - but how do you know mum and dad are up-to-date in the latest driving techniques?

Research commissioned by Admiral-sponsored Young Driver, the UK's largest provider of pre-17 driving tuition, revealed one in five parents are not sure they'd pass their driving test if they took it again.

According to the Driving Standards Agency, learner drivers usually spend 22 hours practising with family or friends, compared to at least 47 hours with an instructor. And if taught correctly, parents giving additional lessons to their son or daughter can be a big benefit; not only will you be getting additional practice before your test but it could help your pass more quickly and save money.

So what is the outdated advice you should be on the lookout for when practising with mum or dad?

Outdated advice

  • Mirror, signal, manoeuvre - more than a third of parents have forgotten this basic rule, despite it being the cornerstone of good driving. While one in two forget to teach their children about the importance of checking dangerous blind spots
  • Hand position - despite many of us being taught that hands should be kept on the steering wheel at the 10 to two position, that advice has been revised over recent years. It's now recommended that hands are in the quarter to three position, to maintain control and prevent a serious injury should an airbag deploy.
  • Steering - Four out of five parents (82%) wouldn't teach the push-pull technique favoured by instructors
  • Gear changes - 38% would insist the learner moved up and down the gears sequentially (1-2-3-4-5-6). However, block gear changing is now considered acceptable in many situations
  • Braking - One in two parents would insist the handbrake was applied whenever the car stopped. However, the purpose of the 'parking brake' is to secure the car when it's stationary on a hill or stopping on the flat for more than a few seconds. Stopping at a junction on the flat, the handbrake may not always be needed
  • Manoeuvres - One in five would be adamant that a turn in the road was a fail unless it was completed in three manoeuvres. In fact, the modern test allows for up to five turns - that's why it's no longer called a 'three point turn'
  • Assisted technology - One in four would insist youngsters didn't use parking sensors or cruise control to help with their driving but these are perfectly acceptable in a test situation when used appropriately.

Young Driver's research also found dad is twice as likely as mum to accompany their teen on extra lessons, yet one in 10 youngsters rely purely on a family member for their driver education.

Kim Stanton, of Young Driver, said: "Our instructors have long despaired of the phrase 'my dad says' just because it normally means a parent is contradicting what the professionals are trying to teach the learner.

"Because we teach under 17s, usually the youngsters haven't yet had any experience of being taught by a parent, but children are like sponges - they constantly want to absorb information, and once they've had a lesson with Young Driver, they often question their parents on driving techniques.

"But of course, the instructors are the experts, and know what the current best practice is, so we'd hope parents would swot up a bit - it may even help their own driving skills too."

Parent horror stories - learners, don't make these mistakes

"My dad told me you don't need to stop at a STOP sign if nobody's coming."

"My dad always told me to put my foot down when the traffic lights were on amber to get through."

"My mum was adamant that if I didn't go down through each of the gears when I stopped at a junction I would fail my test - even though I repeatedly said that contradicted what the instructor told me!"

"My dad was always trying to tell me to squeeze past cyclists and horses when I knew the instructor would tell me to hold back and wait until I could properly overtake. I found it very stressful!"

"My dad helped me with some practice theory questions. When my instructor asked if my dad had helped me I thought I better be honest. His reply: 'Thought so, he got them wrong!'"

"My dad drove using his knees and told me it was the best way to drive."