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Discount website Vouchercloud  have just released the results of a survey they recently conducted.  They polled 2,178 drivers who had passed their test in the last two years.  The results were quite surprising; 46% of respondents had been taught to drive by a relative and another 28% said they had been tutored by a friend.  Only 26% replied that they had used a qualified driving instructor for their lessons.

Only a quarter of drivers learn with a qualified driving instructor

Vouchercloud Managing Director Matthew Wood said: “When you realise those who turn to their family and friends can save so much money, it’s actually a wonder that more people aren’t just using instructors for a few lessons before taking their test. That saving of over £600 could go towards the cost of a first car, an insurance policy or even treating yourself and those who have helped you to pass your test”.  Wood is right, the recent economic downturn had made most of us a lot more money savvy and being a motorist is a really expensive necessity for many. However, is this a good idea?

Learning to drive

What’s interesting is that the Department for Transport has issued statistics in the past that show newly qualified drivers are responsible for serious and fatal injuries on the road and that this figure is increasing.

The Driving  Instructors Association (DIA), the UK’S biggest profession association for driving instructors also question whether or not ‘unprofessional’ driving tuition is a good idea.  Carly Brookfield, the DIA’s Chief Executive said the link between newly qualified drivers and increasing accident rates could be attributed to poor driving training.  She is concerned that these learners are “short-cutting on learning to drive by using unqualified, inexperienced and inexpert friends and family to ‘teach’ them to save costs”.

Other motoring groups have expressed their concerns too. The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) agree with the DIA’s view: “Learning with a professional instructor, backed up with practice with a parent, can give learners valuable experience.”  The AA  has said private practice is great for getting more experience but professional instructors with dual control cars are much better.

Which begs the following questions:

  • Is the tuition from friends and families good enough?
  • Why are people passing their tests if they aren’t being taught 'properly'?

If you are learning from friends and relatives how can you be sure you are learning the correct techniques and doing what is required of you in the actual test by the DSA?  You might learn some bad driving habits. We always recommend professional tuition from a reputable driving school.