Brake! 2 in 3 Americans say giving a driving lesson is much scarier than learning to drive

NEW YORK — If your own experience learning to drive a car was a terrifying one, you may not want to teach someone else. A new survey finds the average driving lesson will consist of five yells to “brake!” by the teacher, four reaches for the steering wheel, and six attempts to step on a non-existent brake at the instructor’s feet.

A OnePoll study of 2,000 American drivers revealed over a third (35%) have taught someone to drive. Nine in ten found it to be a harrowing experience. Of those who say the role of driving instructor is extremely stressful, two in five actually asked someone else to take over the lessons because it was too much for their nerves.

The trickiest skills to pass onto driving students include parallel parking (16%), changing lanes (12%), and merging onto the highway (12%). Sixty-seven percent of those who taught a person to drive confessed it was way scarier to give a driving lesson than to receive one. All in all, three in four (76%) are now more appreciative of the person who taught them to drive after getting in the passenger seat with their own student.

The survey, commissioned by TrueCar, finds 46 percent of all respondents think their instructor was afraid to get in the car with them back in the day.

Growing pains behind the wheel

driving lessonsOver half of the poll (53%) confessed they would be afraid to get in a car with their 16-year-old selves today. When the average person learned to drive, they had five “close calls” that almost resulted in an accident. One in five did get into an accident while learning to drive and the same number had a crash that damaged the vehicle.

The most common mistakes new drivers make during a lesson include not checking their mirrors (32%), not checking all directions before moving into traffic (25%), and cutting tight corners (24%). One in five (22%) also confessed to being easily distracted and another 23 percent forgot to use turn signals.

Learning to drive can be a stressful experience for both the student and the teacher, but it’s certainly a memorable one. In fact, almost six in ten drivers over the age of 55 say they still remember the vehicle they learned to drive in,” says Wendy McMullin, Director of Consumer Insights at TrueCar, in a statement.

Are dads the best driving instructors?

driving lessonsLearning to drive is a life-long memory and many respondents credit their skills on the road to their instructor.

Seven in ten respondents think of themselves as good drivers because of who taught them. Dads top the list as the most likely people to teach the rules of the road and 46 percent credit their fathers as their driving teachers.

Almost a third (32%) said it was a friend who helped them master getting behind the wheel while 23 percent learned from a sibling. One in five (22%) learned from a hired driving instructor. The same number received their driving lessons from their mother.

“Given all of the close calls and actual accidents associated with learning to drive, it’s important to be confident in the safety of your student driver’s vehicle. Be sure to check safety features and user verified vehicle reviews on TrueCar as a part of your shopping process,” McMullin adds.

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About the Author

Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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  1. My just graduated daughter should be enrolled in a respectable driving school, please. It’s interesting that you mentioned that seven out of ten respondents believe they are competent drivers because of who trained them. I appreciate the information and am hoping to locate an excellent one soon.

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