The value of practice driving lessons cannot be understated. You’re much more likely to pass your driving test first time if you can get some extra hours of private driving practice in your own car.
In addition, practice lessons will give you the opportunity to drive in a range of weather and light conditions and on a mix of different road types. So long as you follow our top tips to make sure your practice sessions are safe and legal, this extra driving experience will complement your driving lessons perfectly.
Continue reading to see our 8 top tips for private driving practice — and read all the way to the bottom to get our bonus tip!
8 top tips to get the most from your private 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 driver’s 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.
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.
Bonus tip! Keep a log of each session
Download our free private practice log to keep a record of each practice session. Be sure to jot down any questions that you want to ask your instructor in the next lesson.
Legal requirements for private driving practice
Before you arrange your own private practice, there are some important things to be aware of. The following rules are legal requirements that must be followed. Whatever you do, don’t start your driving career with a criminal record!
Requirements for the supervising driver
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
Requirements for the pupil under tuition
The learner driver must:
- Display ‘L’ plates clearly at both the front and rear of their car
- Make sure their car is properly insured for them to drive
- Ensure their car is taxed and holds a current MOT
- Hold a current provisional licence
The learner is also 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 your own private driving practice sessions. This will normally be once you have reached Level 2 of our structured driver training course 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.
Get learner driver insurance – and earn £20!
You can significantly increase your chances of passing your practical driving test first time by taking private practice in-between lessons.
Learning any new skill takes practice – lots of it! The more time you can get in behind the wheel, the more quickly your skills will develop – and the sooner you’ll pass!
Why not get a quote for learner driver insurance today? As soon as your driving instructor has confirmed you are ready to begin private practice, you’ll be ready to hit the road!
There are several requirements that have to be met by both the supervising driver and the learner driver in order to ensure they are driving legally. There are also several core skills that have to be mastered before a learner can even jump into the driving seat without their instructor.
However, the benefits of gaining driving experience in your own vehicle makes all the preparation worthwhile. Provided you follow our top tips above – and listen carefully to your instructor’s advice – you will stand a much better chance of passing your test sooner!