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Hints and Tips for Private Practice

I recommend that all learners take the opportunity to practice their driving between professional sessions. If you are able to do this it will increase your chances of passing your test and enable you to develop safe driving knowledge and skills quicker.


Below is come guidance and advice for the accompanying driver and the next section is for them to understand: there are some Rules and Regulations that must be followed.


You (the accompanying driver) must be over 21 and have held a full driving licence for at least 3 years.


  • You are responsible for the car and all the rules of driving apply to you as well as the learner, as do penalty points. For example, you must not use a mobile phone whilst accompanying the learner or be over the Alcohol limit.
  • You are responsible for ensuring the learner has an up to date provisional Cat B (car) driving licence and that they are insured to drive the car being used. It is also recommended that you are also insured to drive the vehicle as you may need to ‘take over’ the driving at times.
  • L plates must be displayed on the outside of the vehicle, clearly visible to the front and back. Do not place them in the windows! These MUST be removed or covered when you (or a full licence holder) is driving the vehicle.
  • Learners can drive on any type of road EXCEPT a Motorway.
  • Learners can carry passengers but you (and the learner) should consider how this may affect their concentration and stress levels.


Understanding current expectations

It may have been a while since you learned to drive and things have changed a lot in that time. Road layouts, pedestrian crossings and the technology in cars, to name but a few, have evolved a lot in recent years. Before you take out a learner, it is advised that you familiarise yourself with the Highway Code and read the DVSA’s book – ‘The OFFICIAL DVSA GUIDE to DRIVING the essential skills’.


On the Road

Once you get on the road with the learner, ensure they understand what you want them to do. Give early instructions (for example, we are going to take the next road on the right just past the lamp post).


After a few lessons the learner will know about the system of approach before changing speed or manoeuvring the car. This system is used by Driving Instructors and DVSA Examiners.



M – Mirrors – Check before change of speed or manoeuver (Centre then direction – left or right)

S – Signal – Indicator (is the signal needed, will it benefit any other road users?)

P – Position – Where in the road does the car need to be positioned – What does the position ‘tell’ other road users?

S – Speed – What speed should they be doing to make the situation safe – do they need to change gear?

L – Look – What should they be looking for before carrying out the manoeuvre?


As they are driving, check they are following this routine (you could ask them to talk you through what they are doing. As they approach hazards (such as junctions or parked cars), if you spot something, check they have seen it. Ask simple questions such as ‘What are you going to do about …?’


Don’t get into lengthy discussions about faults whilst the learner is driving. Find somewhere safe, get them to pull over and discuss it then.


I will happily talk you through this and anything else you want to know about accompanying a learner for private practice. Also, if your learner agrees I welcome accompanying drivers to come out on some of the professional lessons with the learner for more experience.


How long does it take to be ‘Test Ready’?

To be honest, I can’t answer this question. Every learner is different and I would need to spend some time working through with them to assess how many lessons they would need. Every learner will get a Learner Driver Record Book. Each lesson I will complete this for what they have covered and what level they are at for each skill. There are over 50 skills topics and core skills sections. These are recorded as ‘Guided – Prompted and Independent’. They need to be independent on all the topics before they are ‘Test Ready’.


As a guide, the DVSA say that the average learner driver has around 45 hours of professional tuition and 20 hours of accompanied support. Obviously, being an average, this may not be correct in your case. Some need longer, some need less. This will be assessed as soon as possible and I will advise the learner of when they should be looking to book their test as lessons progress. Average waiting lists for Practical tests are between 6 – 12 weeks.


Theory Test

Before a learner can book their practical test they MUST have passed their Theory Test and Hazzard Perception. If you have booked a block of lessons (6 or more) you will get access to the RED Theory Test Training Aid. If not, I can advise on how to get access and the materials that will help you succeed. Waiting list for theory tests are on average, 2 – 4 weeks. The sooner this is done and passed the better as the knowledge will help the learner during their practical lessons.

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