Fundamentals of teaching a learner driver
Driving doesn’t come cheap for learners, so if you’ve got a friend or relative who’s learning to drive, helping them practice could be a huge help. In fact, the DVSA recommends that learners spend at least 20 hours honing any skills that have been taught by an instructor.
Before getting started though, it’s important to familiarise yourself with the basics, from making sure you meet the legal requirements to understanding how you can really help them practice.
Am I allowed to help a learner practice driving?
To go out with someone who is learning to drive, you must:
- Be over 21
- Have had your licence for three years
- Never charge them money
- Not use your phone in the car
- Make sure they have insurance
It’s also important to make sure they’re insured, whether on a learner driver policy or they’re covered by your own insurance. We spoke to David Clarke, a Driving Training Officer at Road Safety Great Britain, who told us more about the legal requirements:
“First, supervisors of learner drivers should make sure that the vehicle to be used is roadworthy and properly insured to be driven by a learner. Generally an ‘any driver’ policy will still have some restrictions in the small print and usually learners have to be declared to the insurance company before they can drive.”
I’m not an ADI – will it really help?
Offering your time to help a learner driver get more comfortable behind the wheel can be both nerve-wracking and time-consuming, but there’s no doubting how beneficial it can be. Clarke gave us his thoughts on the benefits of practicing in your own time:
“It has been my experience that the one thing that turns a fumbling learner into a smooth and competent driver is practice in the car. Having a car that can be driven whenever there is someone brave enough to sit next to the learner will help them to develop their skills much quicker than the one or two hours each week that they may be able to afford to pay an instructor.”
What should we cover?
While practice time in the car with the learner can be invaluable to them, it’s important to remember that you’re no replacement for an approved driving instructor. That said, you can still practice things that the learner might have been taught in their lessons.
The changes to the driving test will effect what the learner will need to practice. We’ve created a checklist to make it easy to track what you’re covered in your practice sessions.
Remember: In your car, there won’t be dual controls available, meaning that you should only practice things that both you and the learner feel comfortable with, ideally when they’ve worked on them with an official instructor first.
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