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A new poll suggests that only one in four learner drivers are being taught by driving instructors. The survey suggests that most people preparing to sit their test rely on family and friends to teach them how to drive. The most common reason given for not paying an instructor for lessons is the expense, with a driving lesson costing £22.50 an hour on average. The survey quizzed over 2000 drivers who had passed their test in the last 2 years. When asked the question, ‘Who did you do the majority of your driving lessons with?’ 46 percent stated ‘a family member’, while 28 percent said ‘a friend’ and only 26 percent said ‘a qualified driving instructor’.
The Benefits of an Instructor
While having a friend or family member teach you how to drive might seem like an easy way to save a lot of cash, there can be some drawbacks. While having a driving licence shows that a person knows how to drive, it does not show that they are good at instructing someone else on how to do it. The skills required to properly teach someone something will come naturally to some people but not to others. Many people teaching a loved one to drive will simply expect them to get behind the wheel and go, without focusing on the knowledge and skill required to safely drive a car.
Learning to drive with a loved one can cause friction between you, as the learner can become frustrated at not being able to master whichever skill they are learning, and the friend or family member can become annoyed at having to keep trying to explain. This can leave the learner anxious and baffled and make the learning curve steeper than it needs to be. Even if this does not occur, the other danger is that the lessons will be unfocused, as socialising with your friend or family member distracts you from the real task at hand, learning how to drive.
You may get lucky and find someone you know who is patient, and good at explaining the different skills needed to drive effectively. However your unqualified friend or family member has probably picked up all sorts of bad habits since passing their own test. These bad habits will be passed onto you and will be difficult to unlearn later on, making it more likely you will fail your driving test.
A driving instructor should introduce each skill set and talk the student through each area involved, identifying areas that need work and developing a teaching plan to suit your needs. Driving instructors will also have access to a special dual controlled car when providing driver training. Another advantage of taking instructor led driving lessons is reduced insurance cost. This is the reason many younger drivers are encouraged to take formal lessons, as insurance companies feel they are not as risky to insure.
While it is useful to be able to get some extra hours behind the wheel with a friend or family member supervising you, a learner should consider taking at least some lessons from a qualified instructor to get a good grounding of the rules of the road and the skills needed to drive.