Supervising a Learner Driver: What You Need to Know
Keen to learn how to drive, or interested in finding out how you can help in coaching a new driver? Then look no further, we cover all the rules and tips you’ll ever need to know!
Exciting times, learning to drive. First of all though, we should cover the basics – the legal bits you must follow in order to be able to get behind the wheel for the first time with the help of a supervisor.
First things first, you need be at least 17 years old to drive, but we’re sure you knew that already. Whilst you can apply for it before your seventeenth, you will also need your Provisional Driving License
Less well known is what criteria your ‘supervisor’ (mum/dad/mate/victim) needs to meet. They need to be at least 21 year old and have to have had a valid, British driving license for at least 3 years. They do not need any kind of qualification to supervise a learner driver.
If you’re driving someone else’s car, you need to make sure you are insured. You can get specific learner driver insurance which will cover you, protect the owner of the car’s No Claims Discount, and – most importantly – give you flexibility to buy cover on a short term basis.
Getting the car ready
Once you’re insured and ready to go, don’t forget that you need to have ‘L’ plates displayed (or D Plates in Wales) clearly on the vehicle you are learning in. If you want specifics, we have a dedicated short blog post on that.
Then, before you drive away, be sure the car is safe. Checks should include:
- There are no signs of damage to vehicle or windows
- Tyres are undamaged (no cuts or bulges) and least 1.6 mm of tread
- That the tyres are set at the correct pressures
- Fluid levels (oil, coolant, windscreen wash) are correct when cold
- That you are aware of the correct fuel for the car
- That the brakes are working
- That the lights and indicators are working
- That the washers and wipers are working
- That you have the mirrors correctly positioned
And last but not least
There’s a few more rules you should be aware of. First up, you can’t pay the person supervising you. I’m sure they’ll be devastated, but you can only pay an approved driving instructor money whilst learning.
Your supervisor must also comply with road traffic laws, even though they are a passenger. The most notable one here easily missed is they cannot use their hand-held mobile phone. Their ‘job’ is there to instruct and give guidance to a novice driver; they need to take their role seriously.
It can be hard to arrange childcare, but it is not recommend to have children in the back. Technically, the law only dictates who’s in the front passenger seat, but having kids in the car will undoubtedly cause a distraction, especially for someone new to driving.
Finally, you can learn to drive at any time of the day (but this may be changing), but you can’t drive on the motorway with a supervisor – it can only be with an approved driving instructor within a proper lesson.
Need more info? We have just the thing – check out our Ultimate Guide to Learning to Drive.