Teaching your teenager how to drive is one of the most challenging and daunting responsibilities of child rearing. As co-pilot, you will be in a very influential position to help your teenager make good driving decisions and develop good habits that will last them a life time.
Getting your Teenager a Learner Permit
To obtain a learner permit your teenager will have to complete and pass the driver theory test (DTT) at your local test centre. In preparing for the DTT, it is important that your teen prepares and revises. Learning the rules of the road is the first key step to life long safe driving. All the information you need for the DTT can be found at TheoryTest.ie.
Essential Driver Training (EDT)
Once your teenager successfully passes the DTT and now holds a learner permit they must complete the Essential Driver Training. This is mandatory for all learner drivers. EDT is comprised of 12 one-hour lessons, which must be completed with an instructor who is approved to deliver the EDT. Your Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) will provide your teen with an official logbook. This logbook tracks and records the details of your child’s progress through out the EDT lessons. Upon completion of each lesson the ADI will stamp the appropriate section of the logbook and record some feedback. Learn more here about Essential Driver Training.
6 Month Rule
Once your son or daughter receives their learner permit they must wait at least 6 months before applying for the driving test. They must of course have also completed the 12 one-hour lessons as detailed above.
While your teen completes the EDT and is driving with his/her instructor there is no need to worry about insurance. Your child will be covered by their Approved Driving Instructor’s insurance policy. Whether your teen will have their own car or will be driving the family car it is important to ensure that they have the correct car insurance cover. At Allianz, we don’t offer cover for first time drivers in their own name but we are more than happy to add them to existing policies that have been held with us for more than 1 year. Adding your teen may increase your premium and impact your excess*. More details about the excess that apply to your policy can be found on our Car Insurance Cover page.
One of the main benefits of adding a teenager to your policy while they are starting out is that they start to earn named driving experience. This will stand to them when they go to purchase insurance in their own name.
More than likely you will be your teenager’s sponsor, (the experienced driver who accompanies a learner driver during practise sessions). This is a very important role, your teenager’s ADI will provide a minimum of 12 hours teaching but it is you who will spend the majority of time in the car up until your child passes his or her driving test and graduates to being a fully licensed driver. During this time you have a key role in encouraging good driving behaviour. Use this time wisely, remembering that driving is a great responsibility. Instilling good decision making and habits in your teenager from the outset as they learn to drive will stand to them for the rest of their lives behind a wheel.
Below are some useful tips that are worth keeping in mind.
- Communicate with your teenager’s ADI. Understand the areas where they are strong and weak. Ensure you practice both. Reinforce the messages the ADI communicates.
- Decide on where your first practice lesson will be, an empty car park is always a good idea – your teen will be more comfortable and this will allow them to practice the basics. Be sure to have your learner permit and insurance in place and clearly visible.
- Focus on one aspect of driving each time – Reinforce the messages your teen’s ADI will have given.
- Keep the initial practice lessons short – the session times can be increased as time goes on.
- Communication is key when teaching so be encouraging and optimistic, don’t be negative – if either of you become frustrated take a break.
- Try to keep your anxiety in check - remember, the road looks very different from the passenger side.
- Keep alert – your teen will be taking in a lot of new information and concentrating hard on following your instructions.
- Emphasise the importance of good communication - your teen needs to learn how to make sure other drivers see them and how to let those drivers know what they plan to do.
- Finally, remember that driving time is just that, time to learn/ bond – it is not the time to raise other issues.
As you will remember, driving for the first time can be a daunting experience, so don’t forget to praise them when they do something right. As an experienced driver you can calmly explain when they have done something wrong and raise awareness about how this can be corrected the next time. It’s all about taking one step at a time. Helping to teach your teenager how to drive, although a challenge at times,is very rewarding so start by putting a plan in place and with a little patience your teenager will be receiving their ‘N’ plate in no time!
*An additional excess of €200/€125 applies to policies with additional drivers under25/over25.
This guidance is for general information purposes only and does not purport to provide legal advice or other professional advice. Allianz accepts no responsibility or liability for any losses that may arise from any reliance upon the information contained in this guidance.
Information correct as of January 2017