Parents pass on bad habits to children learning to drive

Ninety-two per cent of driving instructors believe that young drivers pick up bad driving habits from their parents and other family members, according to a survey conducted by Marmalade, the leading provider of cars and insurance for 17-24 year-olds.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 19th November 2016, 6:00 pm
More than nine out of ten driving instructors believe young drivers pick up bad driving habits from their parents and other family members.
More than nine out of ten driving instructors believe young drivers pick up bad driving habits from their parents and other family members.

The survey questioned driving instructors across the country to better understand the barriers that face young people when they’re learning to drive.

The survey also supports a recent study conducted in France which revealed that parental influence far outweighs that of a driving instructor. Furthermore it found that dangerous driving runs in the family, since the majority of motorists mirror their parents’ behaviour.

As a result of this research, Marmalade has developed some top tips on how parents can support their children’s journey to getting their driving licence and instil some good driving habits instead of bad ones.

Crispin Moger, CEO of Marmalade, said: “We believe that if parents’ bad habits can be passed on to young drivers, then so can their good practices. By developing our top tips for parents we hope to demonstrate that parents can be very influential in setting good habits and encouraging safer driving.

“We face all sorts of pressures as parents and this latest research highlights the real need for us to support both parents and young people with the process of learning to drive. Each of us will drive differently and we all have our own quirks, but it’s good to be mindful that learners may be watching your driving more closely now they are on their own driving journey.

“Our ethos is to encourage the parent to be involved with their child’s learning and find that encouraging a partnership leads to safer and better driving.”

Marmalade’s top tips for parents include:

1. Be a good role model:

Your children will have been watching you drive their whole life, but they will be even more observant now they are on the road. Drive how you would like your children to drive. Attention to detail is key, as they could fail their test if they receive enough minors for not indicating, not checking their mirrors or exceeding speed limits.

2. Talking sense:

The words that you use can make a big difference to the way your learner responds, so be clear with your instructions. You should always explain exactly what you mean. Instead of saying “drive slowly” say “drive at 20mph here.”

3. Swot up:

It’s worth swotting up on some reading - it might have been many years since you last studied the Highway Code so it’s important to refresh your memory before you get in the car with your child. Some aspects have changed so confusing them with things that were relevant 20 years ago is not helpful and may frustrate and confuse the learner.

4. Keep expectations low and remember to keep calm:

Try to offer plenty of praise and encouragement and even if you are feeling a little apprehensive in the car, try not to show signs of nervousness as it can knock the driver’s confidence and can create an atmosphere in the car.

5. Plan short routes:

We’ve all driven when we’re a little tired and it’s not conducive to good driving so avoiding over-stretching the learner is vital. Journeys of up to 20 minutes at first are more than enough, and work up from there. Planning your route well ahead will also save having two flustered people in the car unsure of where they are heading!

For more information about Marmalade visit