Our Guide to Teaching Someone to Drive

Want to teach your child to drive? Or want to supervise a learner while they get essential practice outside of lessons?

In this post we’ll cover everything you need to know.

Do You Need a Driving Instructor?

First, forget about teaching the learner entirely by yourself, from scratch. Even if you commit to giving them hours of lessons each week, they’ll still need some structured lessons from a qualified driving instructor.

Here’s why:

  • A driving instructor will know how to teach the fundamentals of driving. So if the learner’s never driven before, a trained instructor can introduce them to the very basics and help them gradually build up their confidence behind the wheel.
  • Qualified driving instructors know all the latest road regulations, and they’re also up-to-date on what it takes to pass a driving test. On top of this, they probably know all the test routes in an area. So if a learner wants to pass their test first time, a qualified instructor can show them how.
  • In order to drive on certain roads – such as motorways – by law learners must be accompanied by a qualified instructor while driving a car with dual controls.

There’s nothing in UK law that says learners must work with qualified driving instructors. But the fastest and most effective way to passing your test first time involves a combination of structured driving lessons from a qualified instructor, coupled with plenty of practice outside of lessons.

That’s where you come in! To supervise the learner outside of lessons. This extra experience will make the learner a more confident and independent driver, which will help them to keep their cool on the roads during their test and beyond.

How Do I Start Teaching Someone to Drive?

According to UK law, to supervise a learner driver you must:

  • Be over 21.
  • Have a full driving licence for at least three years (from the UK, the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein)
  • Be qualified to drive the sort of vehicle you want to teach in. For example, if you want to teach someone to drive a manual car, you’ll need a driving licence that lets you drive manual cars.
  • Meet the minimum eyesight standards.

The law also says that, if you’re supervising a learner, you must not be paid for your supervision.

Getting Your Car Ready for Lessons

You’ll need L-plates for the front and rear of the car. You’ll also need all the relevant vehicle documents, including up-to-date vehicle tax and a current MOT certificate.

Beyond this, the law just requires that you ensure your car’s roadworthy. If you passed your last MOT, you should be fine. But there are a few extra checks you can make, just to be extra sure:

  • Check your tyres for tread depth, and for any signs of wear and tear. You can read our full guide to tyre safety here.
  • Make sure all windows and mirrors are clean, with no cracks or obstructions.
  • Check all lights are working, and replace any that aren’t.

What Will the Learner Need – Insurance for Teaching Someone to Drive

Whether it’s your child, another relative, or a friend, the learner must be:

  • At least 17.
  • In possession of a provisional licence.
  • Insured.

That’s right – just like every other driver, learners need car insurance.

The learner’s driving instructor should take care of insurance for their structured lessons. But the learner will need an insurance policy of their own for any driving they do outside of lessons.

At Insure 2 Drive, we offer affordable learner driver insurance to help first-time drivers get all the practice they need outside of lessons. Get in touch for more information.

How to Teach Someone To Drive – Brush Up On Your Knowledge!

Whether you’ve been driving for three years or 30 years, you’ll have built up certain habits behind the wheel. Not all of these will be good habits. There’ll also be many aspects of driving that you take for granted.

This is why it’s a good idea to brush up on your driving knowledge before you teach someone else to drive. Here are some tips:

  • Revisit the Highway Code. It’s a lengthy text, but it will provide an essential refresher on road signs, road markings, and various other rules of the road.
  • Download a driving lesson app. This will help you ensure that the things you teach the learner won’t contradict anything they’ve learned form their structured lessons. Some apps also contain practice theory tests and hazard perception tests.
  • Read your car’s manual. You’ve probably been driving your car for so long that everything about it is second nature to you now. But it’s worth revisiting your car’s operating manual, just in case you need to answer any questions about the car that the learner might ask. Such as – what do those dashboard warning lights mean?

Before you start teaching your learner, it’s a good idea is to call their driving instructor. They can tell you about any areas where they feel the learner needs extra practice.

They can also tell you about certain things to look out for. For example, they might say that the learner often forgets to check their blind spot before pulling out. You’ll then know to make extra checks yourself when riding with the learner.

Plan Your Routes

When supervising a learner, don’t just drive aimlessly, or you might end up in a stressful and potentially hazardous situation that could destroy their confidence – or your car.

Instead, plan your route carefully. To begin with, stick to quiet residential streets and large car parks, for practicing manoeuvres. Eventually you can progress to longer routes, busier roads and more complicated junctions.

When planning your route, it’s best to think about what to avoid, rather than what to include. Until the learner builds up their abilities, you should avoid multi-lane roundabouts, dual carriageways, country roads and hill starts. And remember that learners can only ever drive on motorways if they’re accompanied by a qualified instructor in a car with dual-controls.

There’s no limit to when you can supervise a learner. So it’s a good idea to plan a few sessions at night. Not only will the roads be quieter, but it will also let the learner experience driving in the dark. This will be nerve-wracking at first. But they’ll get a huge boost to their confidence once they realise they can do it!

You can record all of your driving practice outside of lessons using this free DVSA resource.

Please Be Patient!

It’s easy to lose your cool when supervising a learner – especially if you’re trying to teach your child to drive. But if you lose your patience, the learner will only get stressed. This might make them more likely to make mistakes, and it could even affect their development as a driver.

It might be easier said than done, but here are a few things to remember when supervising a learner:

  • Practice giving instructions. Driving might be second nature to you. You might not even be aware you’re doing most of the things you do when you drive. So before you start supervising the learner, try speaking out loud while you Describe, calmly and slowly, all of your actions as you approach junctions, make manoeuvres and take turnings. This will feel weird. But this will make it easier for you to give calm and clear instructions to the learner once you start supervising them.
  • Be alert and proactive. Give all instructions as far in advance as possible. Be extra vigilant of the road around you, but also monitor the learner’s behaviour. If you see they’re about to make a mistake, or if you suspect they haven’t seen a potential hazard, tell them – but remain calm at all times! You could also ask the learner to tell you, in advance, what they intend to do when approaching junctions, and so on.
  • Never raise your voice. Even if the learner keeps making the same mistake, and even if there’s a terrifying near miss, never raise your voice. Again, this is easier said than done. But we can’t stress enough how damaging it can be to raise your voice.
  • Give good feedback. Avoid harsh or condescending criticism. Instead, calmly discuss anything that didn’t go well during the session, and talk about how the learner might do things better next time. Also be generous with your praise! If the learner does something well, tell them!

Insurance for Teaching Someone to Drive

And that’s basically all you need to know!

But before you begin, just remember that learners will need insurance for any driving they do outside of lessons.

At Insure 2 Drive, we offer affordable learner driver insurance to help first-time drivers get all the practice they need outside of lessons. Get in touch for more information.


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