Accompanying a learner driver – The Legalities
Accompanying a learner driver can be fun especially if they are a friend or relative you want to help to learn to drive. Learner drivers must be supervised whilst on a provisional licence.
The requirements are to supervise a learner driver you must be at least 21 years old and have held a full driving licence for the appropriate category of vehicle for at least 3 years.
Anyone who does not comply with these requirements should not be accompanying a learner driver as they could be liable to a maximum fine of one thousand pounds, discretionary disqualification or 3-6 penalty points (as could the learner driver).
Accompanying a learner driver – The Rewards
Accompanying a learner driver can be a very rewarding task to do. Finding an accompanying driver can also be very frustrating for the learner driver. If you are able and prepared to be accompanying a learner driver then you are doing a good thing. Any time that you are able to spend accompanying a learner driver will be very beneficial to the learner driver.
To help with resolving a few issues which can occur when a learner driver is being allowed to use a private vehicle for practice I have written the following article. It may save less hassle if you both read it.
Private practice, a blessing or a curse?
Accompanying a learner driver – This is NOT a driving lesson
An accompanying driver does not need to be professionally trained or have instruction skills to take a learner out. I feel its worth pointing out that private practice with a learner driver is not intended as a driving lesson. Often accompanying drivers feel the need to comment on issues such as road position, the number of mirror checks that the learner makes or other such things that they are not used to doing themselves.
When accompanying a learner driver the point of the exercise is not that the learner driver should drive as the accompanying driver wishes; but that the learner driver should drive as the driving instructor intends in order that they can pass the practical driving test and be a safe driver for life.
If accompanying a learner driver you must remember that you are there as a legal requirement and should only interrupt the learner driver if you feel that they may have missed something potentially dangerous.
Accompanying a learner driver – What is the best practice?
With private practice on driving in the majority of cases it is an extremely positive experience for both the learner driver and the accompanying driver. The extra experience that the learner driver receives aids development between driving lessons. Particularly where money and/or time is limited between lessons with their instructor.
This practice is invaluable for the learner driver. When it comes to manoeuvres learner drivers or the accompanying driver often do not really want to practice these between lessons. Personally this is the wrong approach.
I recommend that the learner driver practice the manoeuvres as well as their general driving skills. Accompanying a learner driver is far better than merely thinking positively all the time. If you are thinking about accompanying a learner driver but feel at all unsure as to their readiness I would advise that you make contact with their driving instructor on how best to approach taking the learner out for practice.
The instructor will not mind at all, in fact they will be grateful that their pupil is getting some extra practice.
The instructor will put you in the picture with regards to what should and should not be undertaken and they will be happy to settle any doubts that you may have.
If you are thinking about accompanying a learner driver I say go for it. Your time will be rewarded by the knowledge that you have aided a learner driver in their driving development. If as an accompanying driver you are finding it difficult, please bear with the learner driver and show patience and sympathy to the learning process they are developing. They always need a couple of goes to settle in. For the learner driver it is a big change to sit in a different car with an accompanying driver rather than in their instructors vehicle, this can help them be prepared for an examiner sitting next to them on test as well.
Being an accompanying driver can be difficult sometimes, please bear with it and value what knowledge and skills you can pass on to the learner driver preparing for their driving test.