Learning to drive can be one of the most challenging but rewarding things you ever do. It can give you the freedom you need to get that promotion at work or movie on to something bigger and better in your life. It can give you the freedom to not have to wait at the bus stop in the cold weather in the winter months.
While it can lead to better times, learning a new skill can be challenging. Learning to drive for some people is not easy. There are some very challenging skills to learn along the way such as clutch control and forward planning.
Ultimately, when you pass your driving test and you’re left to drive unsupervised, you will need to be able to drive without the help of your driving instructor. This is a big part of the driving test since a shake up in the assessment of the test back in 2017. The DVSA are looking for drivers to be able to drive safely and independently. In December 2017, the DVSA introduced a part of the driving test where you will need to follow directions from a SAT NAV or a series of traffic signs for 20 minutes (around half of the test).
Driving independently also includes the ability to drive without help and to be able to make your own safe decisions in good time. While taking lessons with an instructor in a car with dual controls, some learners find it difficult to drive without supervision.
This is where private practise is useful
The DVSA recommends that along with around 46 hours of professional tuition, learner gain experience drivin independently by practising with a family member or a friend. Getting this private practise should help build your confidence and ability to drive without help from your instructor.
There are some important rule you need to be aware of before you can get out in the car with someone while learning to drive
Anyone you practise your driving with (without paying them) must:
- be over 21
- be qualified to drive the type of vehicle you want to learn in, for example they must have a manual car licence if they’re supervising you in a manual car
- have had their full driving licence for 3 years (from the UK, the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein)
It is illegal for a family member or friend to use a mobile phone while supervising you.
- You must be insured to use the vehicle you are practising in. You can find out more about learner driver insurance from Marmalade or Collingwood
- You must display ‘L Plates on the front and rear of your vehicle when you are practising and they must be removed after. You can get up to 6 points on your licence if you don’t display ‘L’ plates or they are the wrong size. Find out more here.
- You are not allowed to drive on Motorways in England unless you are with a qualified driving instructor in a dual controlled car.
Know your car
Familiarise yourself with your car – get a feel for the clutch and brakes in a quiet area first. Make sure you know how to turn on the lights, signals, window wipers.
What should I do?
Don’t just go out a drive aimlessly. Just like your driving lessons, its best to plan what you’re going to do. Think about what you want to practise and where you need to drive to get that practise. Plan your route before you leave the house. Know which roads you are going to be driving on and plan which skills you’ll work on.
Don’t try to learn anything new, leave this to your driving lessons. Practise and improve on what you have already learned in your lessons. Ask you family or friend to not make judgements about the things or the way you have been taught or learned. There are many ways to do things and everyone learns and does things in different ways.
Record your practise
Just like your driving lesson, plan, record and reflect on your driving lessons so that you can discuss your progress with your driving instructor. You might find something in your private practise that you wish to bring up with your instructor or learn in your driving lessons. You can complete your own private practise log here.