Driving Lesson Stress

So my Teenager is learning to drive.

It’s something he’s been excited about for a very long time… I think, like most teenagers, he thought he’d literally be driving the minute he turned 17 but the reality of course is very different!

We did say he could have driving lessons for his birthday but before that could happen, he needed his provisional license. I’d picked a form up at the local post office because his passport has expired, otherwise he would’ve been able to apply for the licence online.

I left him to fill it out. Which he didn’t. It sat on the side in his bedroom for weeks. I reminded him that he needed to get photo’s done for the licence but of course he didn’t get round to doing that either. He’s not a baby and I was refusing to do everything for him. This meant that it didn’t get done!

Days before his birthday he was kicking off that he didn’t have his provisional and that meant no driving lessons! My fault of course.

This was the first ‘stress’ I experienced on my son’s learning to drive journey and apparently, according to research by Carfused.com, learning to drive isn’t always as straightforward as we’d like – They report that while getting on the road comes with a financial price-tag, it can also come with an emotional cost too. I think I would agree with this!

Eventually of course, Teen got his photo’s done for the licence, I got them signed off and it was eventually posted to the DVLA. It cost me £43! The first of many payments…. another annoyance!

Finding an instructor wasn’t the easiest task either.

Teen wanted a female driving instructor. I think he thought that a male wouldn’t have the same patience with him, or might become angry if he did something wrong! I’ve no idea where this notion came from but I can appreciate his thought process… he was obviously looking for an easy, gentle, less pressurised time during his lessons and in his mind, a female was more likely to provide this environment!

After finding an instructor, we found out she charged £25 a lesson, which is average, if not slightly cheaper than many, so I was pleased. The first two for £40. Teen had a double lesson to kick off with and afterwards he came back buzzing, full of excitement and enthusiasm. He LOVED it!

driving lessonsTeen in the car with his driving instructor

But then came the pestering. The next stage of stress!

He was continually begging to let him have a ‘go’ in my car! The thing is though, my car is a huge seven seater with a 3.8ltr engine… A bit scary for me to let him behind the wheel of that monster! Plus it’s automatic, so he wouldn’t be gaining that much from driving it.

However, he didn’t give up…. every time we got in the car he asked…. “Please, I’ll just drive it down the road there… I’ll go slow…. I’ll be really careful” etc etc.. He bugged the life out of me!

After a couple more lessons and Teen declaring himself to be amazing at driving (he’s always been so full of confidence), I very nervously allowed him to get into the drivers seat of my car and take it for a spin! Just to shut him up!

Nervous just doesn’t cover it. We were only on our road which is very quiet and we agreed he would literally just be driving in a straight line.. maybe a slight bend, but that’s all. Still, I sat there rigid… terrified he would do something stupid! And of course, he did. Nothing serious, but he did put his foot down harder for a second and in a car like mine… we shot forward so fast, much faster than the little car he’s used to which he takes his lessons in! I’m sure it took him by surprise but he thought it was great! I on the other hand, freaked out and screamed at him to slow down…. at which point he laughed, but stopped!

“Chill out” he told me.

“Get out” I shouted back!

I jumped back into my drivers seat, my heart pounding! Teenagers seem to find it hard to follow simple instructions, they just do whatever they want, regardless. He scared me. I have since taken Teen out a couple of times in my Dad’s car, which is a little Fiesta manual and although I was still nervous, I knew this was a much less powerful car which meant Teen couldn’t get carried away!

I don’t think I could teach Teen how to drive fully though, like many parents do these days… to save money. I can obviously see the advantages but I don’t have the patience. His Dad has taken him out once or twice and actually, Teen is pretty good now. But to do it from scratch? I don’t think so!

The new study by Carfused.com reveals that almost half of learner drivers (49%) opted to take driving lessons with a parent or family member. Though these lessons might have been free, learners paid in increased stress levels as one in seven (15%) say they were yelled at repeatedly.

I totally get that!

The combination of an inexperienced driver and an over-bearing parent can be an interesting mix with stressful and potentially dangerous consequences. In fact, it lead to one in 10 (10%) parents grabbing the wheel during lessons and one in 20 (5%) learners say they almost had an accident. More than two thirds described the experience as too stressful and one in seven (15%) say they found the process scary. A similar number (15%) described learning with a parent as ‘annoying’. And while the learners take the brunt of the stress, almost a quarter (24%) admit that it was a nerve-wracking experience for their parents.

To test this out, Carfused.com set out to monitor the stress levels of a father and daughter as they set out on driving practice. Georgia (17) and her father Kenneth took the road in a vehicle with special cameras installed to film the whole process – so no angry look or yell went unseen.

Watch the full video below….

And it’s not just the emotional stress that learners are sharing with their parents with nearly a quarter of drivers (23%) saying their first driving lessons were bought for them as a gift by their parents. A lucky one in five (20%) say their parents funded every single lesson they took with an instructor. With the cost of learning to drive so high, it’s no wonder that parents are stepping in to help.

Teens’ driving instructor told him that the average number of lessons it usually takes is around 22-25, with teenage boys normally coming in under this amount. Probably because they’re so eager! But still, that’s a lot of lessons to fund…. it makes sense to learn as much as you can with a family member! If you can stomach it and have the patience!

Then there’s the cost of the tests… two these days with the separate Theory test to take.

Most teenagers think it’s their rite of passage to learn to drive as soon as they can but the cost of it all can make it impossible for a lot of families. Many teenagers do have little part time jobs at this age, which means they can help out themselves. But the whole shebang is a lot more stressful than you imagine it to be!

Carfused.com is a great resource for everything car related and it’s perfect for parents and new drivers alike.  It’s a one-stop shop that brings you insurance, finance and a huge range of cars for sale together all in one place… there’s also plenty of information about the ‘black box’ insurance scheme whereby the black box is have fitted into your Teenager’s car. This records their driving, ensuring they drive safely and consequently cuts down insurance costs which is sky high for young drivers. Finding a website like this that gives so much advice and information is a godsend.

Teen is preparing to take his theory test now.

I am excited myself about Teen being able to drive and having his own little car. How great that will be for him… and me…. no more ferrying him round or being called upon late at night for some taxiing home, although I will miss that if I’m being honest (not the late night lifts). Giving him a lift here and there always gave us a bit of one to one time and I enjoyed our little chats in those moments.

Still, I’ll have to get in HIS car instead, let him take ME somewhere! Or I can ask him to collect his siblings from various places if I’m stuck….. yes, I can see the advantages!

Maybe i’ll even ring him for a lift home if I’ve been out partying late at night….

See if HE likes it! ;)

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