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Helping a Learner Driver at Home (Private Practice)

Helping a learner driver

When you supervise a learner driver with private practice outside of your driving lessons with BookInstructor, you’re part of the process of making them a safe driver.
It’s a team effort involving you, your learner and their driving instructor.
In this section you can find out about:

  • how you can help a learner driver
  • the rules for supervising a learner driver between their driving lessons
  • where to get help and advice for making the most of any practice sessions you do


How you can help a learner driver

The main ways you can help your learner driver are to:

  • encourage them to get enough training and practice with your driving instructor
  • supervise the learner in private practice sessions (if you’re eligible and able to)
  • encourage the learner to only take their driving test when when they’re ready
  • support the advice the driving instructor gives the learner

Encourage the learner to get enough training and practice

A learner driver starts going from being a novice to competent, safe driver by:

  • training – learning new skills with their driving instructor
  • practising – gaining lots of experience of varied driving conditions


Learning to drive takes a lot longer than most people realise.

45 hours of driving lessons with a driving instructor on average to pass

22 hours of extra private practice between driving lessons on average to pass


Training with a driving instructor

Most people learn to drive with a driving instructor. Driving instructors are professionals who are trained to teach driving skills in a structured manner to suit differing abilities. Here at BookInstructor we have a massive selection of instructors and there should be several in your area to help you begin lessons.

Many people only have a 1-hour or 2-hour driving lesson each week. This can limit their experience to driving at the same time of day and over the same types of road.


Practising with family or friends

If you meet the rules, you can help by being a supervising driver during private practice between driving lessons.

You’ll help your learner get more practice and gain wider experience of the varied driving conditions they’re likely to meet once they’ve passed their driving test.

Once you’re ready to take on this responsibility, you need to think about developing the skills of your learner – know their limits and do not attempt any driving that will be beyond their ability.


Encourage the learner to only take their driving test when they’re ready

You can also help your learner by encouraging them to only take their driving test when they’re ready to pass.

It’s the best way of them:

  • getting their independence as soon as possible
  • being ready for a lifetime of safe driving

Never encourage the learner to “just give it a go”. If they take their test before they’re ready and fail, they:

  • will have to pay again for another driving test
  • will have to wait longer to take another test
  • could damage the confidence they’ve built up

52 out of every 100driving tests were failed in Great Britain during October 2023


Support the advice the driving instructor gives

Driving instructors are specially trained to help people learn to drive.

They’ve got lots of driving and teaching experience and knowledge. It’s unlikely that you’ll have the same level of experience and knowledge.

Their advice is invaluable.

Work as a team with the driving instructor to help your learner. Support the advice the driving instructor gives. Explain to your learner that:

  • the driving instructor wants them to succeed and be safe
  • the driving instructor has lots of knowledge and experience
  • you trust the driving instructor’s expert advice
  • it’s important for their own safety that they do not take their driving test before they’re ready

Rules for supervising a learner driver

There are rules about:

  • who is allowed to supervise a learner driver
  • taking payments for supervising a learner driver
  • what you do during practice sessions

Check if you’re eligible

You can supervise a family member or friend who is learning to drive if:

  • you’re at least 21 years old
  • you’re qualified to drive the type of vehicle they’re driving – for example, you must have a manual car licence if you’re supervising someone in a manual car
  • you’ve had a full driving licence for at least 3 years (from the UK, the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein)
  • you are not currently banned from driving


If the learner is driving your car

If the learner will be driving your car, they must either:

  • be added to your insurance policy as a ‘named driver’ – your no claims discount could be affected if they need to make a claim
  • take out learner driver insurance to cover them driving your car – check with the provider if any claims they make will affect your no claims discount

If the learner is driving their own car

If you’ll be supervising the learner in their own car, they must:

  • be the registered keeper
  • have their own insurance policy covering them as a learner driver

Some insurance companies require the person supervising a learner driver to be over 25 years old. Check the insurance policy before the learner drives with you.

Penalties for not having insurance

A learner driver can get an unlimited fine, a driving ban and up to 8 penalty points if they drive without insurance.


Taking payments

It’s illegal to accept any payment, including money for fuel, when you’re supervising someone who’s learning to drive privately at home.


During practice sessions

You must follow these rules during all practice sessions with a learner driver.

You must not hold and use a mobile phone, tablet or sat nav.

This includes to text, make calls, take photos and use websites or apps.

You must not go on motorways.

Learner drivers can only drive on motorways with an approved driving instructor (ADI) in a car fitted with dual controls

You must not have a breath alcohol or blood alcohol level higher than the legal limit.

Do not drink and supervise a learner, as it will seriously affect your judgement and abilities

You must not be under the influence of drugs or medicine.

This includes having illegal drugs or certain medicines in your blood above specified limits.


Help with  supervising a learner driver

As a supervising driver, you’ll be helping your learner have more practice and gain wider experience of the varied driving conditions they’re likely to meet once they’ve passed their driving test.

You’re helping a new driver to gain skills that will help to keep them safe for many years to come.

It might not be as easy to do as you think. But there are different places you can get help.

Get advice from the driving instructor

Be guided by the learner’s driving instructor.

Ask the driving instructor to tell you when your learner is ready to start practising between lessons.

Starting too soon may be unnerving for both you and the learner. That could lead to anything from a loss of confidence through to a serious loss of control.

The driving instructor can:

  • tell you when the learner is ready to drive under your supervision
  • help you plan practice sessions at the right level
  • invite you to sit in on one of the learner’s lessons (if they agree) before you start supervising – this can help you see how the driving instructor handles situations that you might find difficult

Record the private driving practice you do to keep track of the learner’s progress. Ask the learner to show the record to their driving instructor at their next lesson.

Continue to talk to the driving instructor for advice about what to include in your next practice sessions.


Guidance about supervising a learner driver

We have published detailed guidance to help you supervise a learner driver between driving lessons. It includes:

  • who you can supervise
  • how to check the car you want to use is suitable
  • getting car insurance
  • when to start private practice
  • planning your practice sessions
  • what to do during your practice sessions
  • what to do after each practice session

Read the guidance about supervising a learner driver.


The Official DVSA Guide to Learning to Drive book

This book has almost 200 pages packed with detailed information on the driving test and how best to prepare. It will help both the learner driver and you.

It includes more than 60 pages of advice and tips for supervising drivers to help you plan practice sessions.

It will help you to support your learner with skills including:

  • moving away and stopping safely
  • checking their mirrors and blind spots correctly
  • navigating junctions, roundabouts and pedestrian crossings
  • reversing and turning the car around safely
  • driving safely on different types of road, including dual carriageways and country roads
  • driving in different weather conditions
  • driving independently by following a sat nav and road signs
  • parking in car parks and at the side of the road
  • driving in the dark
  • driving in a fuel-efficient way

Enter code TP20 at the checkout to get the book for £7.99 plus shipping – it’s about one-quarter of the average cost of a one-hour driving lesson.

Buy it on the Safe Driving for Life website

Credit to:

Helping a learner driver

and published in accordance with the open Government licence 3.0:

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