Almost 90 per cent of parents think they would fail the current driving test that their children face.
A mere 13 per cent of more than 7,000 parents asked said they felt strongly that they could pass the test without taking any lessons.
With the test set to change in December that number could fall even lower as new questions and manoeuvres are introduced.
A study questioning parents on how they feel about their offspring learning to drive revealed the serious lack of confidence in their own abilities and also uncovered worries about their kids’ safety.
“From the first time your child heads off down the road with their instructor to the inevitable forecourt tussle over their first car, the whole process can feel fraught”
Simon Benson, AA Cars
Nearly half (45 per cent) said that they wouldn’t allow their loved one’s friends in the car immediately after they’d passed their test – with a quarter admitting they’d also feel unsafe being driven by their child shortly after passing their test.
When questioned about their child’s first car 61 per cent of parents placed safety ahead of value, putting it at the top of their list of priorities. That’s in contrast to the attitudes of young drivers who, in a separate study, ranked affordability first and safety a lowly sixth.
A third of parents said they would put cost first or on an equal footing to safety. However, less than half (42 per cent) knew how to – or were willing to – check official safety assessments such as Euro NCAP.
Despite their own priorities, new drivers should perhaps humour their parents’ concerns as a third of those polled said they would be happy buying their child’s first car as a reward for good exam results.
Simon Benson, director of motoring Services at AA Cars, which commissioned the study, commented: “The sense of independence that comes with learning to drive is amazing. No wonder that for the majority of teenagers, buying that first car represents a significant milestone in their lives.
“It can also be a worrying time for most parents. From the first time your child heads off down the road with their instructor to the inevitable forecourt tussle over their first car, the whole process can feel fraught. It’s compounded by the fact that the majority of parents feel they wouldn’t be able to pass the current driving test themselves – with some parents invariably projecting these concerns onto their children.
“Fortunately for concerned parents, the used car market offers a range of secondhand and nearly-new models that will satisfy the differing needs of adults and their children – whether speed or safety comes top of the list of your priorities.”