What are my options?
So you can drive with a driving instructor, or, like a lot of learners, you can choose to get a little extra practice in with a family member or friend supervising you. This can be a great way to brush up on your skills, refresh your memory and get some hands on experience between driving lessons.
Who can supervise me?
In order to supervise a learner driver, there are certain requirements which must be met.Your supervisor must:
- Be 21 years old or over.
- Have held a full driving licence for at least three years.
- Have a driving licence which covers them to drive in the vehicle that you’re learning in (e.g. a manual licence to supervise in a manual car).
- Meet the minimum eyesight standards, and wear glasses or contact lenses if necessary.
- Make sure the car is in a safe and legal condition.
- Make sure the car is displaying L plates, both on the front and back. (You may also use D plates in Wales).
- And ensure the learner driver is insured to drive the vehicle.
Who's the best kind of supervisor?
The best kind of supervisor is a patien one. Someone getting stressed or frustrated isn’t constructive for either of you when you’re learning how to drive.
If tensions start to run a little high, take a few minutes break apart to cool down and then try again. Learning to drive with a family member or friend is bound to feel a little strange at first but it’s important not to let the stress of the situation get in the way of you learning to drive.
Brush up on your highway code
It’s also a good idea to make sure your supervising driver has refreshed their memory of the highway code. It’s easy to pick up bad habits once you’ve been on the road for a few years, and it’s important that these aren’t passed on to the learner driver.
Make sure they brush up on what different road signs mean and what the correct MSPSL procedure is. You should make sure you’re being taught the same skills, techniques and methods in both your driving lessons and your private practice sessions. Have a catch up before each practice session to discuss what you’ve been doing in your driving lessons. This way you’ll be on the same page and will be making sure you’re making your practice sessions as constructive as they can be.
Using a mobile phone, or any other kind of handheld device, whilst supervising a learner driver is illegal. Since the supervisor is in charge of the vehicle, using anything which takes their attention off the road can be dangerous.
Because the supervisor is not behind the wheel, it’s easy to forget this, so make sure you both have your eyes on the road at all times.
How much private practice should I have?
How much private practice you have as a learner driver depends completely upon your personal circumstances. The DVSA state that each learner driver, on average, requires 47 hours of driving lessons with a qualified driving instructor alongside 22 hours of private practice in order to be ready for the driving test.
This is, of course, an average figure, and your experience might differ. Whether you have lots of private practice or just a few extra hours, make sure you’re learning at the same pace as you are in your driving lessons.