The Hidden Dangers of Learning to Drive from Family

Learning to drive is an exciting time in a teenager’s life. But, it also comes with a sense of responsibility.

Many people opt to have family members or friends teach them to drive. However, professional instruction is always better. A family member may forget proper driving techniques or be unable to communicate them clearly.

Lack of Experience

A negative experience with driving lessons can make a teenager fearful of getting behind the wheel again. This can be especially true for teenagers who learn to drive from their parents. Parents should take a hands-on approach to their new driver’s training, providing guidance and encouragement rather than taking a back seat role. Teenagers need lots of practice driving in a variety of conditions to build confidence and skills. They also need to be driven to places they don’t know well. During practice drives, the parent should be advising on road decisions, anticipating problems and managing any activities that need to be done inside the vehicle.

The most significant risk factor for crash rates among newly licensed drivers is inexperience. Teenagers, and to a lesser degree young adults, have much higher crash rates than older drivers.

This is in part because they have less experience behind the wheel and often drive a different style than other drivers. They tend to engage in more risk-taking behavior, with fast starts and turns and late hard braking. This type of driving decreases over time as a driver gains more experience.

In addition, teens and young adults are more likely to be distracted by their friends’ driving than older drivers. Those friends are often more likely to be risky drivers, which further increases a teen’s crash risks.

Similarly, families of older drivers need to monitor their loved ones’ driving. If they notice a decline in their loved one’s ability to operate the car safely, it may be necessary to intervene and take away the keys. This is a difficult situation for any family to face and should be done with care and compassion.

Bad Habits

Many parents rely on their own experiences and knowledge when it comes to teaching their children to drive. However, this may be a dangerous mistake. Studies show that teens who learn to drive from their family tend to have a higher rate of dangerous driving behaviors than those who are taught by a professional. This is because parents often engage in the same unsafe driving habits they warn their teen against, including texting behind the wheel, speeding, and even drinking and driving. In fact, the majority of parents admit that they continue these unsafe driving behaviors even after their teens ask them to stop.

It’s important for parents to realize that their teenage children are very observant and will pick up on bad habits just by watching them drive. They should strive to be a good role model by showing safe driving behavior and avoiding dangerous behaviors such as arguing or smoking while driving. Parents should also refresh their own driving skills to ensure they are familiar with current road laws and regulations, since rules and regulations can change over the years.

In addition, it is a good idea for parents to avoid discussing controversial topics or anything that could cause conflict while their teen is learning to drive. This includes political and religious views, as these can distract a teen’s focus on the task at hand, which is driving safely.

Finally, it is crucial for parents to set clear expectations about how their teenager should drive, and enforce consequences when they break the rules. This can help a teen to develop good driving habits, which will ultimately keep them and their passengers safer on the road.


The first time your teen gets behind the wheel alone, you may have to remind them that driving is a serious task that requires their full attention. You can help them avoid distractions by putting your cell phone away yourself, and setting a good example of how to drive safely. You can also encourage them to be mindful of the people in the car with them and how their behavior might impact others on the road.

Distracted driving is any activity that diverts the driver’s attention from the primary task of driving, compromising the safety of the vehicle and its passengers. Examples include talking or texting on a mobile phone, engaging in a conversation with another person in the vehicle, eating and drinking, fiddling with stereo or entertainment systems, adjusting the temperature, and even talking to children in the back seat.

Involvement in any of these activities can cause loss of control and lead to a crash. Distracted driving is a significant contributing factor to motor vehicle collisions in all age groups. The risk of crashing doubles when teens have a peer passenger and quadruples when there are three or more young people in the car.

We surveyed 618 parents and caregivers of teen drivers, who reported on distracting behaviors while driving with their child in the past month. Multivariable logistic regression analyses were conducted to test associations between disclosure of distracted driving and sociodemographic characteristics including parent age, gender, race/ethnicity, education, child age, and how often their child travels in the family car. Non-responses for each of the eight unsafe driving behaviors accounted for 2% of any finding. Results showed that parents who disclosed distracted driving tended to be older, have higher levels of education, and be white, non-Hispanic.

Lack of Time

There are many benefits to having a driver’s license. Not only does it make getting around a lot easier but it offers a sense of independence. Imagine being able to run errands on your own, not having to wait for someone else to pick you up or have to rely on public transit.

However, driving is a big responsibility and parents need to take the time to make sure their teen is ready before handing them the keys. That means teaching them about safety rules, making sure they know what to do in an emergency and the consequences of breaking any of the rules.

Parents need to remember that they are not professional driving instructors and while they may have a lot of experience they might not be up-to-date with the latest safety rules or the best way to approach certain situations. They may also have bad habits that they don’t even realize they are passing onto their teens. For example, if Mom or Dad never makes a complete stop at a traffic light it’s easy for a new driver to do the same when they get behind the wheel.

If you find that learning to drive from your family isn’t going smoothly, it might be time to consider alternatives. A professional driving instructor can offer a safe environment, up-to-date knowledge of what’s on the test, an insider’s view of the testing routes and much more. They’ll also be able to offer calm, constructive feedback that won’t cause tension in the relationship and help build confidence. They’ll be able to tailor the lessons to your teen’s ability level so that they are challenging but not overwhelming, for instance, by having them take an online 5-hour pre-licensing course.

Lack of Confidence

Often it is simply a lack of confidence that is preventing a teen from getting behind the wheel. There may be some skills that they don’t feel completely comfortable with, such as navigating certain manoeuvres or driving in bad weather, but this can easily be overcome by gradually taking on these challenges and building up their comfort level.

In the same way that a basketball player can’t learn to shoot, defend, pass, and dribble all at once, a new driver must slowly build up their confidence, starting off with the local streets and working their way up to longer drives. It also helps to allow them time to figure out how public transport works in their area so that they can get around without needing a lift from their parents, which will help them develop independence and responsibility.

It is also important to address feelings of anxiety, which can often be the cause of a lack of desire to drive. Talking to them about this and introducing some mindfulness techniques can often be helpful, while other times it may be necessary to seek out a professional who can help with coping strategies.

It is also helpful to remember that there will always be some things that scare us as drivers, and that this is a normal part of the process. Facing these fears is vital to becoming a confident driver, but it is important to pick the right time and day to do this. A multi-storey car park during rush hour on a Saturday is probably not the best idea, but perhaps tackling one of these at 10am on a weekday would be better.

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