10 top tips for teaching someone to drive

As well as getting help from a professional driving instructor many learner drivers get invaluable experience behind the wheel alongside a friend or family member. However, while it’s one thing to drive yourself, it’s quite another to help someone else learn. That’s why we’ve put together these 10 top tips to help you teach your friend or loved one all they need to pass their test.

Our driving lives can be full of excitement but also incidents, and no matter how great a driver we are sometimes we all need help along the way. That’s why the team at Insurance Factory offers a range of insurance policies to suit all manner of situations. From convicted driver insurance to impounded car insurance, we’ll be there for you whatever’s around the corner.

The specialists at the Insurance Factory can search a panel of insurers to find you the most suitable cover for your needs. So, what are you waiting for? Give us a call today.

Learner driver

Tip 1.Check you’re legally able to supervise a learner driver

Before you go anywhere near the passenger seat, you’ll need to make sure you can legally supervise your family member or friend. To supervise a learner driver on the road, you must:
  • Be 21 years old or over.
  • Have held your driving licence for at least three years.
  • Be able to drive the same type of car as the learner. For example, if you’re only qualified to drive an automatic car you can’t supervise someone driving a manual car.
  • Meet the minimum eyesight standards for driving. So, you must be able to read (with glasses or contact lenses, if necessary) a car number plate from 20 metres away.
  • Not be paid by them (unless you’re a qualified driving instructor).

Tip 2. Check they’re legally allowed to drive

It’s not just your eligibility you need to check. You should also make sure that everything’s in place for them, too. They’ll need:
  • To be at least 17-years-old.
  • To hold a provisional driving licence.
  • An insurance policy that covers learner drivers.
Having the right car insurance cover is an essential part of driving legally on the road. If they’re learning to drive in their own car then you’ll need to check that the learner’s insurance policy covers them as the main driver and you as a named driver, too. This is to ensure that if you need to take over the driving duties at any point, you’re still covered in case of any accidents.

Alternatively, you could use your own car for the lessons. If you decide to do this then the learner will need to be added on as an additional driver. You’ll also need to inform your insurer that you’re supervising them as a learner.

If a police officer stops you and has reasonable grounds to believe the driver is uninsured or doesn’t have the right type of car insurance then the vehicle could be seized. You’ll then need to call us for that all-important impounded car insurance to get your car released. In most cases, you will not be able to retrieve your car from the pound without specialist impounded car insurance.

It’s vital to remember that some insurance policies require driving supervisors to be at least 25 years old. Or insist you take out cover for a minimum of one month. Speak to your insurance provider well in advance so you’re appropriately covered when the time comes.

If a learner hits the road without the right supervision, then they can be fined up to £1,000 and receive 6 penalty points on their provisional licence. Not the best start to their driving career!

Learner bike

Tip 3. Check the vehicle is ready and roadworthy

Just like any other driver, learners also have to keep their vehicle in roadworthy condition and have all the right documents before heading out. But when someone is starting out it can be easy for them to make mistakes. Giving a helping hand with these requirements will teach them about these necessary parts of life on the road – building their confidence through every step.
Taking the subject of documentation first, the car needs to: If you don’t display an L plate or it’s not the right size, they can get up to 6 penalty points. The size rules are quite strict, so it’s always worth double checking.
When it comes to being roadworthy there are a whole host of checks that a learner driver needs to learn how to do. The government says every time you drive you should check:
  • The windscreen, windows and mirrors are clean.
  • All lights work.
  • The brakes work.
You’ll also need to check the following at regular intervals:
  • Engine oil.
  • Water level in the expansion tank and radiator.
  • Brake fluid level.
  • Battery.
  • Windscreen and rear window washer bottles.
  • Tyres with the correct tread depth and free of damage and defects.
Remind the learner driver that just because the car has a current MOT certificate, it doesn’t mean it’s roadworthy. They could receive a fine of up to £2,500, be banned from driving, and get three penalty points if they drive a car in a dangerous condition. Make sure they’re warned about the consequences!

Tip 4.Brush up on your driving knowledge

Teaching someone to drive involves a lot of knowledge. But, depending on how long it was since you passed, you might be a bit rusty! Learning how to drive has come a long way, while driving laws may also have changed.

It’s worth taking your time to re-familiarise yourself with the Highway Code and any new rules you need reminding of. For example, you might need to pay particular attention to traffic signs. Or perhaps you need some work on car parts, dashboard warning lights, and how a vehicle works. See it as a great opportunity to brush up on your knowledge.

Be sure to get familiar with what the current driving test involves and how to prepare.

Tip 5.Consider your own driving skills

If you’ve been driving for many years, you’ve probably picked up some nasty habits along the way, too. Crossing your hands over the wheel or not using the handbrake when stopped might seem like a minor offence to you but it could lead to a failed driving test for them. You owe it to them to be the best driver you can be before giving them any advice.

Tip 6. Plan your route beforehand

It’s important for any learner driver to gain confidence behind the wheel, so start with quieter roads that you’re both familiar with before attempting anything more complicated.

As they gain confidence and experience, introduce different driving scenarios, such as level crossings or driving at night. It’s important you keep a record of any driving practice you do so you can get an idea of areas you need to work on in future. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) provides a handy document for doing this.

It’s probably best to leave things like multi-lane roundabouts or hill starts to a professional driving instructor who would have dual controls in their car. They’ll know the best places for practising these tricky skills.
And if you’re planning on taking the learner driver on a motorway, then don’t! Only an approved driving instructor using a dual control car can teach a learner to drive on motorways in England, Wales or Scotland.

Tip 7. Give clear instructions

No matter how well prepared or knowledgeable you are, if you can’t give the learner clear, concise instructions when driving then you’re going to get into a mess. It may sound strange, but practising any phrases in advance will ensure the learner has lots of time to decide how to change lanes, or complete any other manoeuvre.

Steering Wheel

Tip 8. Call in a professional first

It’s always useful for a learner driver to be supervised by a professional driving instructor on their very first lessons. They will learn the fundamental driving skills to get them started. Meaning you can concentrate on slowly building their driving confidence over time. The driving instructor might be able to advise on areas where the learner needs some extra practice outside of lesson time.

You can find driving schools, lessons and instructors approved by the DVSA on the government website.

Tip 9 . Stay calm and keep distractions to a minimum

We probably all remember the trials and tribulations of being a learner driver all those years ago. Make things that bit easier for them by staying calm and collected, whatever happens. Here are a few matters to keep in mind when teaching someone to drive:
  • Raising your voice and being overly critical will put undue stress on the learner.
  • Look ahead for any hazards on the road or poor decisions from your learner, but always remain calm no matter what happens.
  • Deliver clear, concise instructions in plenty of time.
  • Wait until after the lesson before discussing what didn’t go well and what improvements could be made next time.
  • If things do get stressful, take a break. There’s always next time.
  • Never use a mobile phone while supervising a learner driver.
  • While another passenger could give the learner emotional support, be careful they don’t become distracted.

Tip 10.Stage a mock test

Just like any other area of life a good way to prepare for a test is to go through a mock test beforehand. If you decide to do this then try to make it as close to the real thing as possible.

So, the test will take around 40 minutes and include all the five parts of the real driving test. These are:
  1. An eyesight check
    The learner has to be able to read a number plate from 20 metres away.
  2. Two vehicle safety questions known as the ‘show me, tell me’ questions
    Ask one ‘tell me’ question at the start of the test before driving. And one ‘show me’ question while they’re driving.
  3. General driving ability
    Give the learner directions for them to follow and observe their speed, use of mirrors, and any other driving skills. Ask the learner to pull over at the side of the road and pull away safely. This can be a normal stop at the side of the road or pulling out from behind a parked vehicle.
  4. Reversing the vehicle
    Ask the learner to either parallel park at the side of the road, or park in a parking bay. You could also ask them to pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for around two car lengths, and rejoin the traffic.
  5. Independent driving
    Ask them to drive for 20 minutes following either traffic signs or directions from a sat nav.
Keep a careful eye out for common mistakes that will cost the learner points during the practical test.

There are three types of mistakes:
  • A dangerous fault – involving actual danger to the driver, examiner, public or property.
  • A serious fault  – something that’s potentially dangerous.
  • A driving fault that’s not potentially dangerous – however, if you keep doing it, it could soon become a serious fault.
If you make more than 15 driving faults you’ll fail. Also watch out for serious or dangerous faults as these will be treated as ‘majors’, and lead to an automatic fail on the spot.

Impounded car insurance from the Insurance Factory

Not having the right type of driving licence means your car might be impounded. If you’re in a jam and looking for help with impounded car insurance fast then call the specialists at Insurance Factory first. Our team can make even the most complicated situation as easy and straightforward as possible.
Get a free, no-obligation quote for impounded car insurance today.