Learning to drive without an instructor

Learning to drive without an instructor

Driving lessons are one of the most major parts of getting your license. However, sessions with an ADI come to around £980 in total, causing some people to look for ways to cut the cost. While recruiting a parent as your instructor might seem like a frightening prospect, this is the option some people are choosing, either as a supplement to paid-for lessons or as an alternative. If it’s something you’re considering, check out our guide to learning with family or friends.

Advantages of learning without an instructor

  • There are plenty of reasons to do this, but one of the main ones is the money you will save on lessons (which can be up to £50 per hour). Some people choose to mix professional ADI lessons and those with family or friends or go full throttle with the latter. It’s about what works for you.
  • If you’ll be using the family car once you pass your test you may feel more comfortable practicing in the same one. Then, when you’re on the road, you won’t need to readjust.
  • It’s all about preparation, the more time you get in the car the better you know the roads. Not having to schedule in times or be cut off once your hour is up, gives you the freedom to practice more. As well as this, you can experience different light and weather conditions.

What do you need if you’re learning without an instructor?

Remember to let the person teaching you know that it’s illegal for them to use a mobile phone while doing so.

  1. Firstly, you need to ensure that the person teaching you is over 21 and has had their license for over three years.
  2. Additionally, it’s illegal to pay someone to teach you if they aren’t a certified ADI, so it needs to be someone who’s happy to give up their time for free.
  3. Also, you need to have your provisional license and car insurance. You can sometimes get learner driver cover on an hourly basis, but for those of you who want to get plenty of time behind the wheel, monthly is probably better. Some policies may also have specifications on who can supervise you, so make sure you check.
  4. As well as this, the practical test is only one element of becoming a qualified driver. Doing groundwork by learning the Highway Code, “show me, tell me” questions, and also going through some hazard perception simulations.

Tips for learning without an instructor

Preparing for your practical driving test

Once you’ve completed the eyesight check and “show me, tell me” portion of the examination, you’ll be tested on your practical driving skills. You will be asked to demonstrate your ability in some of the following things:

  • Driving on different roads and in differing levels of traffic
  • Pulling out and from behind a parked car pulling over
  • Hill starts
  • Reversing: Around corners, turning in the road and into a parking space

Make sure you let the person teaching you know what will be required of you, so they can prioritise your goals and brush up themselves.

Beating your emotions

One of the main things that puts people off learning with family and friends is the tension that can arise. This can be easily avoided through forward-planning and creating a calm environment in the car. If you are both clear about your objectives before you get in the car, this should help things run smoothly.

Additionally, it’s important to remember that you’ll learn better if you keep calm under pressure. If you’re feeling anxious, take a deep breath and if things get too overwrought just pull over and start again when it’s calmer.

Steer clear of people being in the back of the car while you’re still a learner. It’s distracting and sets you back on the one-to-one time you’ve worked so hard for. Ask your driving supervisor to have a look at our fundamentals of teaching a learner driver, which should give them a better understanding of how to facilitate your learning.

Finally, rather than just using this as purely a penny-saving exercise, you should still remember that the end result is creating a proficient and conscientious driver. And never forget to take your time learning – passing your test is a marathon, not a sprint!

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