Learn to drive with family and friends – supervised driving
Supervising learner driver rules, drivers record, driving at night and provisional insurance in the UK
What is supervised driving practice?
Private driving practice is when you learn to drive with a family member or a friend. It’s an excellent opportunity to clock up more hours on the road without having to pay for a certified driving instructor.
The Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) says the average learner needs around 47 hours of driving tuition with an instructor, and a further 22 hours of additional practice with friends or family.
So, if like most learner drivers you don’t yet own a car, who do you know that would be happy to let you practice in theirs? You won’t be surprised to hear that, in most cases, it’s mum or dad that gets the call.
Who can supervise a learner driver?
There are rules for who can supervise a learner driver. They must:
- Be at least 21 years old.
- Have a valid driving licence from the UK, Northern Ireland or the European Union.
- Have held the licence for at least three years.
- Be qualified to drive the type of vehicle in which you want to learn. For example, if supervising you in a manual car, then they must have a manual licence.
Be careful! You can get fined up to £1,000 and receive up to six penalty points on your provisional licence if you drive without the right supervision.
Learner drivers who have an average of 22 hours of practice with a family member or friend in addition to their driving lessons are more likely to pass their driving test at the first attempt.
Source DVSA, 2020
Tips for supervising a learner driver
Learning with a friend or family member can be more stressful than with your instructor, so you both must remain calm and patient.
We recommend you share the following tips with whoever is supervising you to make sure they’re safe and are giving you the best advice.
- Make sure you already know the basics – you should had covered the basic controls of the car with your driving instructor and be able to perform an emergency stop before you start supervised driving. Your supervisor should speak to your instructor before hitting the road, so they understand your strengths and weaknesses.
- Does your supervisor know the Highway Code? Check your supervisor is up to date with the rules of the road.
- Do they want a refresher lesson? Plenty of supervisors choose to take a driving lesson with a driving instructor themselves to refresh their skills before supervising a learner.
- Check the car is roadworthy – it is the duty of the owner of the vehicle to make sure it is fit for purpose.
- Do you have the right insurance? More on this below.
- Have you got L plates? (or D plates in Wales) – L plates must be on display on the front and back of the car when the learner is driving. You must take them off when the supervisor is driving.
- Mirrors – we recommend using temporary removable rearview and wing mirrors to allow the supervisor also to have enhanced visibility while the learner is driving.
- Be careful not to switch off – the supervisor needs to make sure they’re alert and prepared for any hazard or emergency that might arise.
- Plan your route – choose roads that are appropriate for your ability. The supervisor should make sure they’re clear and precise with their instructions and give ample notice.
- Avoid motorways – it’s illegal for a learner driver to go on the motorway without a qualified driving instructor.
- Passengers – Yes, driving on a provisional licence with passengers is legal.
- Night driving? – Yes, learner drivers can practise at any time as long as they drive under the right supervision.
- No mobile phones – it is illegal to use a mobile phone while supervising a learner driver
- No smoking – smoking is unlawful in a car if any of the occupants are under the age of 18.
- Most importantly, make sure you both remain calm. Stop and take breaks to discuss how it’s going. Your supervisor should make sure it’s a well-ventilated and peaceful environment. They shouldn’t shout or do anything to raise your stress levels.
Learner Driver Insurance
If you want to go out on the road with a family member or friend, you will need to make sure there is some form of insurance in place.
You could be on to the insurance of the person supervising you (however this will put their No Claims Bonus at risk). Alternatively, you could take out Learner Driver Insurance. Just bear in mind that some insurance companies require the supervisor to be aged 25 or over.
You can find out more about Learner Driver Insurance here: How much does Learner Driver Insurance cost?
Note: you only need to arrange insurance for supervised driving. Your lessons with the driving instructor include the insurance.
The “Drivers Record”
The “Drivers Record” is for teaching someone to drive and is published by the DVSA. The Drivers Record will assist the learner and the person supervising to keep track with progress when learning to drive.
Download the DVSA Driver Record here.
Be careful: avoid getting penalty points during supervised learning
When driving, ignorance is not an excuse. You can still get fined and get penalty points on your licence even before you pass your test.
This can happen if:
- You drive without the right supervision.
- You commit a traffic offence, such as speeding.
You can get fined up to £1,000 and receive up to six penalty points on your provisional licence if you drive without the right supervision. There are rules for who can supervise a learner driver be sure to read them here.
Source DVSA, 2020
Driving while uninsured – just don’t do it
Insurance may not be the most exciting topic, but it’s as essential as your provisional licence if you want to learn to drive. Yet, despite this, there are reportedly half a million young drivers on the road without insurance.
If caught driving without insurance, you may have to face up to the following consequences:
- A fine of £300 and six penalty points on your provisional licence.
- Should you already have six or more points on your provisional licence, you will have your licence revoked if you get just one more point in the 24 months after passing your test.
- If you have a clean record for 24 months after passing your test, the points will remain on your licence for three years from the time of the offence.
- If you get more than six points on your provisional licence before passing your test, it will be revoked.
In your licence is revoked, you will need to start the entire process again. That includes applying for another licence, arranging lessons, retaking your theory and practical tests, and, of course, getting insurance.