How parents are teaching their kids dangerous lessons in driving

Published: 11 July 2016

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It’s not just bad genes that we’re at risk of passing onto our children… But bad driving habits also.

Ferrying the kids around constantly, we expose them to such bad habits as only having one hand on the wheel, checking your phone, failure to indicate, speeding. All these things that creep into your driving, so parents and supervising drivers are constantly breaking the law without thinking… This results in turning every car trip into a lesson in not what to do.

Yet, when our children do finally reach driving age, more and more parents are struggling to teach their kids with the “do what I say, not what I do” approach.

New research from the country’s peak motoring body, the NRMA has discovered that when it comes to teaching kids to drive, parents aren’t making the grade.

In a survey of teenagers between 16-19 years old, 61 per cent of learners said their parents or supervising driver struggled to teach them fundamentals such as how to parallel park, merge, and check blind spots.

Alarmingly, more than 50 per cent of teens also stated that their supervising driver did not have the knowledge of road rules that is required to successfully pass licencing exams.

When it comes to bad habits, the study also showed that 37 per cent of teens had witnessed their parent or supervising driver speeding, 20 per cent not indicating, and 20 per cent using a mobile phone.

What the NRMA is calling for, is greater emphasis on parents knowing their limitations, and enrolling their children in professional driver education courses.

“It might have been 20 years since the supervisor had to think about the technicalities of getting behind the wheel, and in many cases road rules and conditions are very different from when parents first learned how to drive.” NRMA Safer Driving Instructor Mark Toole said.