Did you know that you don’t need to be a driving instructor to teach someone how to drive?
In the UK, if you’re aged over 21 and you’ve held a valid driving licence for three years, it’s highly likely that you can supervise a learner driver legally. With the high cost of driving lessons making learning inaccessible for some young drivers and their families, hitting the roads with family and friends instead can be a cost-effective alternative.
If you’re both ready to get started, it’s worth learning a few of the essentials before you hit the roads.
Supervising a learner driver: Four things you should know
You need to choose the right vehicle
The vehicle you choose matters more than you might expect. It’s not a legal requirement to use cars with dual controls, often the first choice for driving instructors, but there are still stipulations.
You must be qualified to drive the type of vehicle that the new driver will be driving. For example, if you only hold an automatic driving licence, you can only supervise a learner in an automatic car – not a manual. Try to undertake some basic safety checks before you set off, too. The car needs to be taxed and, if it’s at least three years old, must have a valid MOT certificate.
Insurance is required
To keep yourself, the new driver and other road users safe, insurance is imperative. You need to make sure that your own insurance is valid that the learner driver has their own policy too. Their provisional driving licence will only be valid if they’re being supervised correctly.
Comprehensive insurance is essential for both parties, as third-party cover might not provide enough peace of mind. Your supervisee can take out learner driver insurance to make sure they’re covered in the most flexible and appropriate way.
L-plates need to be displayed
L-plates must be displayed clearly on the front and back of the car. In Wales, D-plates are the equivalent signal to other drivers that your supervisee is still learning. There are a few rules that apply to L-plates, and these state that they must be:
- Clearly on display at all times when the learner is driving
- Visible to other vehicles from behind and in front
- Positioned in a way that does not restrict vision
Failure to display L-plates in the correct way could result on penalty points on the learner’s licence. Additionally, you must remember to take them off the vehicle at the end of each session. Buying magnetic L-plates could simplify this step.
You can’t take risks
Lastly, it’s important to remember that you’re helping to shape their formative driving experiences and opinions. While you’re helping anyone learning to drive, it’s important to stay calm and collected. You don’t need to know everything that a driving instructor does, but it’s important to be a confident guide and give clear instructions.
Even more importantly, don’t take any risks or show any bad habits. Never use your phone while the learner is driving and try to pay attention for the entire session. If the weather conditions are particularly challenging, it could be wise to postpone your session.