Most Driving Instructors Think Kids Should Learn To Drive From 10 Years Old

Offbeat / 12 Comments

That sounds dangerous, but it actually makes a lot of sense.

For car-crazed teens - or any teen looking for freedom - turning 16 is an exciting time, as you're finally allowed to get your driving license. While many take issue with the idea of a 16-year-old legally being able to get behind the wheel, some driving instructors believe kids should be learning at an even younger age.

UK-based Young Drivers has found that 69% of instructors think teens are better suited to learning before they turn 17 (the legal age for driving in the United Kingdom). While the thought of a pre-teen on the road is startling, Young Drivers specializes in coaching kids aged between 10 - 17 to teach them about the risks and safety issues that come with driving.

These lessons take place at more than 70 private venues nationwide and have proven popular thus far.

Young Drivers

The company also asked parents how they felt about whether 10 - 17-year-olds were more receptive to learning about safety, and of the 2,400 parents who were surveyed, 82% agreed.

It's important to note that participants are not allowed to drive on public roads, as safety is critical. So why is it better to teach someone at the ripe age of 10 instead of 17? Instructor Anaya Saddall explains that it's got to do with what they're focusing on when behind the wheel.

"When you're teaching someone aged 17/18, they are not always 'in the car' for much of their lesson time. Their minds may not be focused on driving, they are thinking about other stuff - be it work or exams, friends, [or] social media. When you deliver a driving lesson to a 12-year-old, you can see that their mind is focusing 100% on driving. They are in the moment, not thinking of other things."

Young Drivers

Saddall also notes that older learners often have already picked up bad habits from parents or peers and have "preconceived ideas" of what driving is.

74% of instructors also feel that students who have had driving lessons before age 17 usually need fewer lessons than their peers. The idea behind Young Driver is to get kids comfortable behind the wheel. This allows them to get used to the various car controls and experiment with braking distances and blind spots long before they reach a real road.

"Younger children are sponges who soak up all the practical information about how to physically drive, but they're also very alert to the safety aspects of driving," said the organization's Sue Waterfield. "Then, at 17, on the roads, they can focus much more on how to drive safely around other road users. It also helps reduce the time and money spent on tuition once they are old enough to get their provisional license and take their test."

Young Drivers

Kids learn to drive on something conventional, such as the Vauxhall Corsa pictured above. If the program ever made it to the states, something small (and sensible) like the Kia Rio would work beautifully.

But for teenagers with a voracious appetite for power and performance, there is a way to drive something more exciting than a budget hatchback. A company in the UK called TrackDays offers a Junior Platinum Supercar package that lets pre-teens drive a Ferrari or Lamborghini on a private race track.

If seeing a 10-year-old behind the wheel is shocking, then the Ferrari-driving toddler from Turkey will bowl you over. While it is hard to believe, there's a three-year-old prodigy that regularly pilots a Ferrari SF90 Stradale with precision. Some have criticized his father for allowing this, but there's no denying the little guy has a bright future in motorsport ahead of him.

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