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Practice Makes Perfect!

You’re more likely to pass your driving test first time if you can get some extra hours of driving practice in your own car.

Driving in a range of weather and light conditions on a good mix of different road types will complement your driving lessons and help you develop your driving skills.

Cartoon image of a car representing private driving practice.

How To Get the Most From Your Driving Practice

Pick a family member who feels at ease sitting with you

Nervous drivers are not the best people to help you practice.

Plan suitable routes before you start your driving practice

Start by driving in areas you are both familiar with.

Decide which subjects you are going to practice

And for how long. Start with short and focused 20-minute sessions and then build up gradually. Always drive using the MSPSL system and you will develop good habits that last a lifetime.

Agree the supervising drivers’ role in advance

For example, they could agree to keep quiet whilst you’re driving and only intervene when there is a risk you’re not effectively dealing with.

Plan how you will deal with problems

Shouting is never a good idea! Instead, find a safe place to stop first. Then talk about what just happened and how it could have been handled differently.

Agree on how to deal with conflicting opinions

There may be times where your instructor has trained you one way and your supervising driver does things differently. A good example of this is gear changes. Your driving instructor will teach you modern best-practice, but remember, these methods may have changed since your supervising driver passed his or her test.

Avoid distractions!

You need to be able to concentrate. Filling the car with family members is not a good idea — we’ve all heard of back-seat drivers. Turning the radio off, or at least turning it down will help.

Driving after an argument is never a good idea

Even for the most experienced drivers, concentration and judgement goes out the window after an argument. If you find yourself feeling upset during a drive, find somewhere safe to stop and take a break.

And finally, a bonus tip!

Download our free private practice log to keep a record of each practice session. You can then share this record with your driving instructor, who can help you get the most out of your private driving practice.

Legal Requirements

Before you arrange your own private driving practice, there are some important things to be aware of. The following rules are legal requirements that must be followed — don’t start your driving career with a criminal record!

The Supervising Driver Must:

  • Have held a full UK License for more than 3 years
  • Be over the age of 21
  • Give you their full attention at all times. They must not use a mobile phone whilst you’re on the move
  • Be in a fit state to drive. They mustn’t be too tired to drive, nor under the influence of alcohol or drugs

You must:

  • Display ‘L’ plates clearly at both the front and rear of your car
  • Make sure your car is properly insured for you to drive
  • Ensure your car is taxed and holds a current MOT
  • Hold a current provisional licence

You are advised to:

  • Buy an internal mirror for the supervising driver to use
  • Remove any clutter and distractions from the vehicle. Lose the fluffy dice, and turn the radio off!

Your driving instructor will be able to tell you when you are ready to begin private driving practice. This will normally be once you have reached Level 2 in all skill areas.

At this stage, you will no longer need your instructor to talk you through each driving skill and you will feel confidently in control of the vehicle.

Do you have any other top tips for safe private driving practice? We’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments below.