Testing times for parent drivers

If you were asked to take your driving test today, do you think you would pass? Many parents are not too sure. In a survey by the Goodyear Driving Academy, an interactive online tool that promotes road safety among young people, nearly three quarters of mums and dads (72%) thought they would fail if they had to take the test again.
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It’s a bit worrying, really. Here are the main areas of concern…

Memory problems

An alarming proportion of parents are baffled by the rules of the road - 37% claim they don’t understand all the ‘new’ regulations. They are forgetful, too, particularly the women.One in five female drivers (22%) say they can no longer remember much of their training.

Bad habits

Then there are all those bad habits. Nearly half of parents (48%) admit they have picked up bad habits since they first passed their driving test. Eating at the wheel is one of the most common, with about half of parents munching while they drive.

Mobile menace

It gets worse. About a quarter (23%) have read a text message while on the move, which is downright dangerous, not to mention illegal. The number is even higher among young parents, at 30% for those under the age of 30. Talking of dangerous, more than one in 10 confesses to driving through a red light at a traffic junction. See how some of the MoneySuperMarket team got on when they took their test again... [embed width="600" height="355"]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2KJp2nuXDA[/embed]

Road rage

Road rage is another bad habit – and if you are expecting gender stereotypical behaviour, you will be disappointed. It turns out that road rage is more common among women than men. The survey found that 20% of mums had experienced road rage compared with 17% of dads.

Role models

What’s going on? Do parents not realise that children mimic their behaviour? Maybe not. Nearly half (44%) fondly imagine their driving habits will have no influence on their children, while over a third (36%) believe it will only impact children who are at least 14 years old.

Back seat drivers

At least the youngsters have got more sense than their parents. Apparently, 15% of parents have been told off by their kids when driving and a third of all parents (33%) lack confidence if their children are sitting in the back seat, which is hardly surprising if they are eating, texting and running red lights on a regular basis
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Kate Rock, spokesperson for the Goodyear Driving Academy, is admirably restrained: “It is understandable that parents’ driving knowledge is likely to deteriorate over time and this lack of confidence is reflected in the huge numbers of parents who don’t think they’d pass their driving test again. “Parents play a hugely influential role in their children’s development and could be passing bad habits on, particularly when it comes to frequent “ferrying about” in the car. We want to help these people to support their child’s young driver education from a much earlier age but they must first ensure that their own driving skills are up to scratch.”

Generation gaps

So who are these people? Should they be allowed on the road? They certainly shouldn’t teach anyone else to drive, and yet 40% would happily give lessons to a friend or relative. Mike Frisby, chief examiner at the Driving Instructors Association, is surprisingly forgiving: “Many parents are not bad drivers, they simply fail to update their knowledge and fall into bad habits over time, increasing their risk when driving. “They need to be aware of the very influential role they play in young driver education, and that their children while passengers in the car, can pick up on their habits from a very young age. “By consciously displaying good driving habits and behaviours, it is more likely that their children will become safer drivers in the future.” So if you don’t want to raise a generation of dangerous drivers, it’s time to kick those bad habits and sharpen up those skills. You know who you are! Goodyear Driving Academy has launched its ‘Parent Pack’ to help parents brush up on skills and play a more conscious role in their child’s early driver education.

Read more! How 'Parent Taxis' can breed better drivers.

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