Parents responsible for learner drivers' bad habits: study

M&M; Driving instructor Melissa Mayers sees kids with bad driving habits passed on by their parents every day. She's with learner driver Brent Kropp, 17.
M&M; Driving instructor Melissa Mayers sees kids with bad driving habits passed on by their parents every day. She's with learner driver Brent Kropp, 17. Christopher Chan

TEACHING kids to drive can be daunting, but a study has revealed that parents are the ones passing on deadly driving habits.

National road safety initiative CARMA Road Risk Rating revealed 75% of Queensland drivers were ignorant of fundamental rules and the 40-59 age group were worse than those aged 18-24.

It is not compulsory for learner drivers to have professional training when logging their 100 hours of practical driving experience. But if the learner decides on professional tuition, the first 10 hours count as 30.

The research showed that 15% of drivers in the 18-24 age group could identify the give way rules at a four-way intersection, but only 12% cent aged 40-59 were successful.

CARMA driver safety program's Russell White said years on the road didn't always translate into driver proficiency.

"Experienced drivers are quick to point the finger at learners and P-platers but there is a void of knowledge across the age group," Mr White said.

Tip for learner drivers: don't listen to mum and dad

Witnessing a driver frustratingly yell the right road rules to other drivers while navigating around a roundabout isn't an unusual occurrence for M&M driving instructor Melissa Mayers.

She says that during driving lessons she sees kids all the time who have been taught bad driving habits unknowingly by their parents .

"How to use indicators on roundabouts is a big one," Ms Mayers said.

She said over the years the rules had changed for indicating on roundabouts, which may be the cause of the confusion.

"People become complacent with what they know; parents need to be re-educated about the road rules," she said.

She also laid some of the blame on Facebook.

"Facebook is a killer," Ms Mayers said. "So many people comment on posts about road rules, when they are wrong, too."

She recommended parents go through the learner driver test when their child is studying for it.

"I have come across parents who didn't even know when it was legal to do a U-turn," she said.

The driver training company offers a policy whereby parents are allowed to sit in on lessons too.

But she has also been doing adult lessons lately too.

"I had two lessons last week with people who moved here from Victoria," she said.

"They wanted to understand the different road rules."

She said another issue was students riding the clutch or pulling up too close behind cars.

"There's just your general wear and tear of your car and how to look after it," she said.

Learner driver Brent Kropp, 17, said he noticed the difference between driving with his parents and a qualified driving instructor.

"It's just the little things (the instructor) picks up on, like going over the speed limit by one to two kilometres," he said.

Five bad habits passed on to learner drivers:

  • Wrongly indicating at roundabouts
  • Wrong hand position on steering wheel
  • Ignoring roadwork speed limits
  • Eating while driving
  • Driving in the right hand lane when not overtaking

Topics:  editors picks road rules road safety

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