Last month saw the release of my book, Live and Learn: A Parental Guide To Keeping Young Drivers Safe On The Road, supported by the ADI NJC. This was a project that I had had in mind for a couple of years but only recently found the time to complete. The aim of the book is to reduce young driver crash risk through informing parents about the learning-to-drive process and options that are available once students pass their tests.

Why a guidebook and why now?

There are numerous sources of parental advice on learning to drive and buying first cars on the internet but these vary in the quality of the advice that they give, are not evidence-based, and are often attached to a particular product or driving school, hence they really only exist to help sell a particular brand or to drive internet ‘traffic’ to a particular company’s webpage. They are very rarely written by anyone with real expertise in the subject and so tend to have very little to say that may affect safety outcomes or, even worse, on occasion give unsafe advice.

It was my thought that a reasonably detailed evidence and research-based guide book that explains the underlying causes of young driver crashes before it attempts to offer solutions could help to cut through the myths and half-truths surrounding the learning to drive process and young driver safety.

In just over 100 pages, Live and Learn, provides parents with advice on: choosing a driving instructor, structuring lessons, the benefits of a student-centred approach, private practice, choosing a first car, issues of ownership, insurance and telematics, as well as other new technologies available, all with the single aim of reducing crash risk. Not to sell any particular product and not to promote any particular driving school.

The benefits to ADIs

Live and Learn encourages parents to be more active in the learning-to-drive process and to pay more attention to what is happening on driving lessons. ADIs often complain that parents don’t take enough interest in what they do, or respect their skills and what they are trying to achieve – safe drivers. There is a common perception that all parents are interested in is how they can get their child through the test as cheaply and as quickly as possible. Firstly, I do not believe this to always be true, however where it is, it is important that parents can understand the potential risks that they are exposing  their child to if they try to force them through a test before they are really ready.

Parents may sometimes choose a driving instructor based on price alone, because they are not able to differentiate between instructors and the different qualities and benefits on offer to them. By informing parents of the safety benefits of quality driver education, it is more likely that they will be able to make better educated decisions about driving lessons and not choose instructors on price alone.

For me, better educated parents may be more demanding on instructors, but in a way that benefits safety, rather than a negative way such as trying to force their children to test sooner. Live and Learn encourages parents to talk regularly with instructors and sit in on the back of lessons. In general, the greater the parental involvement in the learning-to-drive process the stronger both educational and safety outcomes will be.

Why recommend Live and Learn?

The ADI NJC and I sincerely hope that you will recommend Live and Learn to parents. As the author I would obviously be thrilled if you read and like the book, and hopefully there is enough useful content in there to make it a very worthwhile read for ADIs. However, the aim of the book is to advise parents; if it is to have any practical benefit then it needs to be seen by parents.

The advantage of recommending the book to parents is that it helps to reinforce that you are a thoughtful, caring and safety-focused instructor. Parents appreciate instructors who truly have the best interests of their children at heart. If you keep a copy in your car, showing it to parents may at least start a safety-based conversation. Developing discussions about safety and crash risk is far better than conversations about test-dates. If parents book lessons with you online, why not send them a link to the website? Every little extra touch adds value to your business.

There is an active Live and Learn Facebook page. On here I post useful advice, tips and videos all related to reducing young driver crash risk. Please like and share this page so that you can access great free material that can be shared with customers and parents. Of course, parents should also be encouraged to like the page so that they can see the safety tips and appreciate the great work that so many ADIs are doing to improve young driver safety on a daily basis.

Live and Learn is life-long learning

As ADIs we all recognise the benefits that life-long learning brings. Driving is a life skill. In the learning-to-drive process there are three key stakeholders; the learner, the instructor and the parents. For too long too many parents have been absent from this process due to a lack of knowledge and support to understand what it takes to learn to drive in the modern world. If we work together to change that, then we can all continue to Live and Learn for the benefit of everyone.

Lynne Barrie MA, ADI (Chairman ADI NJC) said about this book:

“Though aimed primarily at parents, Neil Snow’s evidence-led guide will be of key interest to driving instructors and road safety professionals looking to understand how a student-centred approach to driver education can improve young driver safety. An important read.”

Live and Learn: A Parental Guide To Keeping Young Drivers Safe On The Road by Neil Snow is available to buy now from priced at £9.99. ADI’s can also receive significant discounts for bulk purchases, allowing you to sell the book on to customers at profit. To see all the benefits of becoming an authorisied distributor see the information pdf.

Alternatively the book can be purchased from Amazon and is available as a paperback and on Kindle.

The Live and Learn Facebook page contains useful road safety information and videos for young drivers, parents and ADIs: