Lessons from the Road – Supporting parents of learner drivers

There are times when parenting a teenager we have to ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’. Milestones such as allowing our teens out past midnight, leaving them to mind the house while we go away for a weekend, and the parenting equivalent of jumping from a plane without a parachute: teaching them how to drive.

Why so scary?

Putting aside the fact that a child who you were bouncing on your knee not so long ago is now behind the wheel of a tonne of metal, parents are anxious about being the supervising driver for two main reasons:

  1. No matter how good a driver we think we are, it’s been many years since we learnt to drive and therefore looked at a rulebook. Driving for us may be second nature, but that doesn’t help your teenager when you have to instruct them on exactly how many metres they should stop before a zebra crossing. And how can we be sure we’re up to date with all the new rules and requirements?
  2. Even if we have a terrific relationship with our teenager, being the supervising driver will cause friction and test patience. Teachers need to be pretty special people with a reassuring manner, the ability to give instructions clearly and calmly, and low blood pressure. We are parents. Quite different.
Supervising a learner driver

Parents supervising their learner driver are anxious about being up to date with the rules and about being a good, calm teacher

Fortunately, parents are now being handed parachutes before taking that leap, in the way of some great online resources.

Lessons from the Road

Each state in Australia has its own law about the number of supervised hours learner drivers need to complete, ranging from zero to 120.

Regardless of legal requirements, research shows learners who gain an average of 120 hours of supervised on-road driving experience have a 30 per cent lower risk of crashing after getting a licence, compared with learners who have only about 50 hours of on-road practice.

“‘Lessons from the Road’ follows the stories of three learner drivers and their parents, showcasing the emotions and real life issues involved in learning to drive”

In Victoria, where the law requires 120 hours of supervised driving, the government has developed a program to support mums and dads sitting in the hot seat.

Lessons from the Road is an online video resource that follows the stories of three learner drivers and their parents, showcasing the emotions and real life issues involved in learning to drive.

There are eight episodes, each only three to six minutes long, making the videos easy and convenient to watch.

These videos are also a great resource for parents who don’t live in Victoria, but please remember that they may cover different road rules to those in your own state.

Learner driver logbook

Learners who gain 120 hours of supervised on-road driving experience have a 30% lower risk of crashing than learners who have only about 50 hours of on-road practice

Stages of learning to drive

The episodes are:

  1. Learning to drive process – questions and answers for supervisors of drivers
  2. How to reduce crash risk
  3. Supervising a learner
  4. Stage 1: Controlling the car
  5. Stage 2: Driving on quiet roads
  6. Stage 3: Complex driving situations
  7. Stage 4: Rehearsing solo driving
  8. Helping your P plater stay safe.

As you can see from the above, the content of the videos indicate the stages of driving that you should be guiding your learner driver through. Each stage is a building block in their education. Being the supervisor is not just about checking off the requisite hours to get them over and done with. It’s about helping your child practice the skills to become a safe and responsible user of our roads. Lessons from the Road will support you in this endeavour and take the fear out of what can be a daunting task.

“Being the supervisor is not just about checking off the requisite hours to get them over and done with. It’s about helping your child practice the skills to become a safe and responsible user of our roads”

The Lessons from the Road video series complements the VicRoads Guide for Supervising Drivers, found in the Victorian Learner Kit.

You can view the videos on the VicRoads website at vicroads.vic.gov.au/supervisors


This is a sponsored post, selected for its relevance and interest to parents of teenagers.




  1. Why so scary?
    Well it’s actually not. My eldest child just passed her first driving test to get her red P’s just two days ago – with not one paid lesson.
    Re the hours, you just cannot BUY experience – there are no short cuts. Getting them behind the wheel as often as humanly possible I think is the best way. My daughter clocked up over 260 hours within the 12 months. I had her drive pretty much everywhere, rain, hail, shine, fog, night, day, city, country roads, freeways, light traffic & peak hour; and believe me Sydney is not the easiest place to learn…
    Ultimately I want my daughter to survive out there on the roads, so though at times it was painful to sit in the passenger seat when I knew I could get us there faster / easier, the driving experience is what she needed – so it’s what she got. Simple.
    Though we had countless people telling us that we really should have paid lessons with a “professional” if we wanted her to pass her test I honestly never believed that that need be the case.
    Another plus of being the supervising driver is that you get many, many hours of quality time (after all what else can you do in an enclosed space for that much time…?!). We also had some great trips (did you know it takes over 5 hours to drive home to Sydney from Canberra at the NSW learner allowed max speed of 80klm?) and made some wonderful memories – though I am going to enjoy the two year break before I have to start filling out the next log book !

    • Glad you enjoyed the experience and it all worked out well for you! You must be both a good driver and a good teacher. Were you ever a little nervous? Especially at the beginning? I had another mum recommend you make them drive EVERYWHERE and run all the errands when they are on their Ps and then they get sick of it and don’t ask to borrow your car the whole time 🙂

      • Nervous at times? You bet! (a 16 year old + 2.5 tonnes of metal = nervous). But I did make sure we started out slow, repeating the basics until I felt she could handle a bit more, then a bit more etc.
        I doubt there’s a supervising driver out there that hasn’t gone hunting for the foot brake at one point or another… LOL
        As for being a good driver – It’s probably subjective for everyone. I have been on the road for 28 years, accident free & having never lost points either (but maybe I’ve just been lucky :P) though I did have to “clean up” how I drove as I didn’t want her to pick up my bad habits (and I knew I had some). It has actually made me more aware of some of the bad things I used to do and helped me change my ways.
        And as for being a good teacher – who knows? I consider her a good student, always wanting to do it right. To me patience was the best investment, and I’m not the most patient person, but was worth digging deep to find some.
        And yes I have her running lots of errands – that’s my payoff I tell her!
        I have a firm belief that we parents are more than capable of teaching our children many things in life – we just have to have a little faith in ourselves. It doens’t mean it’s for everyone, but for those that want to, can.

  2. At the Wauchope Show we discovered I am a control freak. Unable to handle the dodgem cars when it wasn’t me behind the wheel. After an excruciating experience my daughter and I came to the mutual decision that I would have no involvement in teaching her drive – look I gave birth it’s only fair my husband gets a turn to suffer too! If worst comes to worst I will remortgage the house to pay for professional lessons, but in the meantime – good on you dad!
    Janine Fitzpatrick recently posted..Weekly Photo Challenge – CloseMy Profile

    • Hilarious! Just as well as you had a trial go first in the dodgems. Maybe they need to introduce the ‘dodgem test’ to check parents’ suitability to the task!

  3. michelle says:

    I was so excited when my son got his ‘L’s,that as soon as we walked out of the Motor Registery ,i said ”righto in you get and drive us home”……he was so nervous as his dad took him on most of the lessons and it was his first time with mum in the passenger seat , he forgot to give way at a roundabout , cars beeped at him and then he ran up a gutter turning the corner[this was all 50 metres from the motor registery….when we finally got home , he said ‘mum i cant believe you let me drive , just becasue ive got my L’s doesnt mean i know how do actually drive properly yet 😉

  4. michelle says:

    His dad actually took him on a few little lessons late at night in our car before he got his L’s …not legal , but yeah i presumed he was ready to go …so wrong.



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