If you decide to teach someone to drive, it can be for many reasons. Helping to reduce the cost of driving lessons or getting that person up to test standard faster are the most frequent reasons to teach someone to drive.
Before going out on the road however, there are a few legal matters that you must be aware of, but equally important, you must be fully prepared yourself as teaching someone to drive incorrectly can cause more harm than good and ultimately cost more.
This learning to drive guide provides essential information for teaching someone to drive privately.
Who can teach you to drive
Who can teach you to drive is anyone who has held a full driving licence for a minimum of 3 years and is at least 21 years of age. L plates must be clearly displayed on the front and rear of the learners car, plus if your car insurance does not cover a learner driver, you will need to either increase your policy to cover this or take out an extra insurance policy to cover the learner. Extra learner driver insurance can be obtained from as little as £2 per day. See learner driver insurance for further information.
Driving instructor mirrors
Driving instructors often have an extra 2 mirrors attached to the windscreen on the passenger side of the car. Although not a legal requirement, one of these mirrors is so the instructor can see behind them and the other is focused on the learner driver so that the instructor can keep check to ensure the learner is making the correct mirror checks at the correct time. It is advised that you have at least one mirror for rear observation for safety reasons.
If as an example you notice a vehicle driving excessively close behind your learner driver (tailgating), you can make them aware of this and explain they need to be cautious under braking by slowing down in good time and not to use heavy braking. Driving test mirror provides further information and where to obtain them. An example of good, safe braking technique is progressive braking.
Bad driving habits
Before teaching someone to drive, you ideally need to assess your own driving ability. A great many of us gain a huge amount of bad driving habits, so before you teach someone to drive, have a good read of this web site, especially the driving test tutorials to ensure you are proficient in all areas of driving.
Teaching someone to drive privately can certainly be beneficial, but teaching them your bad habits will ultimately be costly and time consuming as it is harder work for a driving instructor to undo bad driving habits then it is to teach proper driving in the first place.
How to teach someone to drive
Now that your car is prepared, legal and you have revised your own driving is necessary, you should both be ready to hit the road. Here are some tips and advice on how to teach someone to drive.
Plan each driving lesson
Driving around aimlessly during a lesson will not achieve very much. A good driving instructor will plan a driving lesson, have an objective and analyse the results on whether the objectives were met. The results will be the basis of the next driving lesson.
Your driving lesson plans should be based on two things: whether the learner driver is also having driving lessons with a driving instructor and the driving lesson syllabus. If you are combining private driving lessons with those of a professional driving instructor, it is important to only repeat what the instructor has previously taught else this may lead to confusion of the learner.
If you are planning on teaching the learner alone, you can plan each lesson based on the driving lesson syllabus. All the learning to drive tutorials are detailed below in which you’ll need to teach someone to drive.
- Cockpit drill – car controls and instruments, steering technique
- Safety checks (driving blind spots and mirrors)
- Mirror adjustment, vision and use
- Moving off and stopping – clutch control
- Safe road positioning / lane discipline
- Use of signals – when to use signals when driving
- Dealing with junctions and roundabouts
- Meeting, passing parked cars, crossing and overtaking other traffic
- Anticipation and planning
- Dealing with pedestrian crossings
- Cyclists and cycle lanes
- Independent driving
- Dual carriageways
- Motorway Driving – approved driving instructors (ADI) are now permitted to teach learner drivers on motorways. Though this doesn’t apply to those that do not hold an ADI licence, a learner will benefit from improving their knowledge on motorways. Motorway driving is not conducted on the driving test.
- Following distances – 2 second rule
- Country roads
- Use of speed / speed awareness, making progress, hesitancy
- Straight reversing
- Manoeuvres – with the recent driving test changes, manoeuvres have changed. Reverse parking and reverse bay parking are still conducted. New manoeuvres for the new driving test are forward parking into a bay and pulling up on the right.
- Emergency stop
- Show Me Tell Me driving test questions and answers
All of these tutorials can be obtained within the driving test tutorials part of this web site.
Driving lesson record of training
After each driving lesson, keep a record of training so that you can keep track of the learners progress and plan the next lesson accordingly. You can download and print the PDF driving lesson record of training to help your learner drivers progress.
Use the record of training form to tick the applicable level of progress boxes of which part you have covered. Use the comments to remind yourself and the individual you are teaching to drive what they need to cover next time and any amendments that are needed.
Identify, analyse, explain and rectify faults
It is important throughout a driving lesson to identify each fault made, analyse why the learner made the fault, explain the fault to them and the potential hazards or dangers and to rectify the fault verbally and then during driving. A high number of faults can be made by a learner in a very short time, so keeping on top of them can be difficult. You will need to remember faults and not write them down as you do not want to lose concentration of their driving – it can be dangerous.
As soon as a few faults are made and they are too complex to rectify whilst driving, park the learner up and go through the process verbally with them and rectify all faults made. Do not progress to another part of the lesson until the faults are rectified.
Be careful and consistent in the terms you use
Learner drivers get a kind of tunnel vision when it comes to driving. They tend to trust what you say without question, so you need to be careful what you say and keep it the same. For instance whilst teaching someone to drive you tell them to ‘go straight over the roundabout’ can be dangerous. Believe it or not, they may actually drive over it. So ‘at the roundabout, follow the road ahead, 2nd exit’ will result in a clear and defined term.
Whilst teaching someone to drive, they may at some point in their training appear to be confident and in good control. Learner drivers can be unpredictable and can always do something totally unexpected. A good driving instructor reads the road well ahead and predicts any possible hazards which calls for very rare use of dual controls. Even the best instructors can get caught out though. Have a constant awareness all round and well up the road and try to predict potential dangers or hazards well in advance.
Plan your routes carefully
Plan the routes and roads for your lesson before hand and try if possible to use roads that you know. This will allow you greater concentration on the driver and the road ahead. Use the type of roads that are appropriate for the learner. Quiet roads or car parks initially and gradually building up to busier roads. The driving test routes section will offer some insight into the various road types that are likely during a practical driving test.
Learning to drive with family
If you are teaching a son to drive or teaching a daughter to drive, it can become tempting to become impatient and raise your voice. Getting angry and shouting at a learner driver often results in achieving the opposite of what you intend. They will often tense up and become more concerned with upsetting you than concentrating on their driving.
They will without question make plenty of mistakes, they are after all learning and it will at times seem like they make the same mistake numerous times. Try however to remain patient and calm as this will benefit the learning process. Don’t expect too much progress too soon. A professional driving instructor can get a novice up to test standard within around 30 hours or so, so you should expect more hours than this.
Providing the individual teaching the learner to drive meets the minimum legal requirements, a learner driver is legally entitled to take as many passengers that the vehicle can legally hold. To keep distraction to a minimum however, it is advisable that the teacher or ‘supervisor’ and the learner are only present during driving lessons. See learner driver passenger for further information.
Try if possible to encourage commentary driving. Commentary driving is verbally explaining what you see and how you are going to take action and plan. It’s often an effective method for learners to focus and remember. You may need to practice commentary driving yourself before teaching. See commentary driving for further information.
Professional and private driving lessons
It’s not too likely you will get a learner driver through their test without some help from a qualified driving instructor. If possible, mix private tuition in with professional tuition. This should still help to reduce the costs of learning to drive. Use the private lessons to go over what the instructor has already taught and don’t push the learner any harder. This can be stressful and confusing for them.
Less is more
Driving instructors provide learner drivers with fewer prompts as they progress. When they reach a certain stage, they encourage the learner to identify, analyse and rectify their own faults and rely less on the instructor. It’s important to encourage the learner to do this as an independent part of driving.