Parents pass on bad driving habits

THERE are few experiences more traumatic than teaching someone to drive and, despite their best efforts, learner drivers across New South Wales are picking up their parents' bad habits.

The NRMA surveyed about 900 drivers aged 16-19 who had recently obtained provisional licences or were still undergoing professional lessons.

About one third believed their parents had taught them bad driving habits that professional instructors later had to correct.

More than half of those surveyed said their parents could not teach them to parallel park.

NRMA safer driving instructor Mark Toole said the results suggested it was not just young people who needed to brush up on their driving skills and on the law.

"We find that many people come to us later in life to learn how to drive, and at that point they also may be relying on partners or friends to help supervise their hours," he said.

"It doesn't matter what stage of life you are at - if you are a learner driver, it is so important to make sure you get professional help to set yourself up with good habits behind the wheel from the get-go."

The survey revealed 84% of learners were taught to drive by their parents, with half saying their driving instructor taught them skills or knowledge of road rules their parents had failed to impart.

Only 37% believed their experience with their parents in the passenger seat had been as positive as having a trained instructor by their side.

"Learning to drive can be an exciting, but anxiety-filled time for both the learner driver and the supervising driver," Mr Toole said.

"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."

According to NRMA figures, drivers aged 17-20 are three times more likely to be involved in a serious crash than those aged 21 and over. -ARM NEWSDESK

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