31 May

Can you learn to drive with your parents?

Andy Moody
Car Guides

Yes, providing that all the requirements and necessary specifics have been met, learning to drive with parents is legal in the UK.

While there are a lot of benefits to learning to drive with a driving instructor, learning to drive with parents can also be beneficial and is a better option for some people.

This article will take you through everything you need to know about learning to drive with your parents and help young drivers decide if it is the right choice.

The most important requirement that must be met is to ensure that young drivers have the necessary and legal cover of temporary learner driver insurance.

Our range of learner drive insurance can help get you started by answering any questions or concerns you may have about insuring young drivers.

The requirements needed when learning to drive with your parents?  

While learning to drive with your parents is legal, you need to ensure that a few requirements are being met. Those requirements are:

  • The learner driver must be at least 17 years old unless they receive the mobility part of personal independence payment at the enhanced rate, which the learner driver can be 16 years old
  • The learner driver must hold a provisional driving licence
  • The learner driver must be insured as a named driver on their parent’s car owner’s insurance policy or have a valid learner driver insurance policy.
  • From the front and the rear, the car must display the proper red L plates – unless you are in Wales in which you can use either L or D plates.
  • The car must have a valid road tax, be roadworthy and possess a current MOT.

Learner driver insurance rules

When learning to drive, legal requirements governing both the actual driving practice and the insurance requirements must be met.

Credible and reputable temporary car insurance dealers can advise both parents and learner drivers about the type of learner driver insurance policies that are available and best suit the family member’s needs.

We offer temporary learner driver insurance that precisely and completely satisfies these requirements.

Discover more on your car insurance buying journey, and check out if an 18 year old can buy temporary car insurance.

Driving your vehicle

If you are going to be driving your car, you need to ensure two requirements are met.

First, learner drivers must have their learner driver insurance.

Secondly, the qualified driver supervising and accompanying the learner driver must be added as a named driver on the insurance policy.

Driving someone else’s vehicle

There are different insurance requirements if the learner driver’s vehicle belongs to someone else.

First, you need to ensure that the car owner’s insurance policy will cover learner drivers.

Otherwise, the learner driver must take out their own learner driver’s insurance policy and state they will be driving someone else’s car.

Find out more by reading over our guide on how you can get insured on someone else’s car.

Supervising passenger requirements 

One of the more essential legal elements of a provisional licence is that a qualified driver must accompany the learner driver, also called a supervising passenger.

However, not simply anyone qualifies as a supervising passenger. Having a full driving licence is not enough to be eligible as a supervising passenger.

To legally sit with a learner driver as a qualified driver and supervising passenger, the driver and their licence must satisfy the following:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Possess a valid full licence for the vehicle being driven, and it must be either a UK licence or a valid licence issued by an EU or EEA country.
  • Have held the valid full licence for at least three years
  • Full licences that are valid for automatic vehicles only or have restrictions do not qualify for being a supervisor for a learner driver in a manual car
  • Qualify at the minimum eyesight standards for driving
  • Ensure that the car used is roadworthy, legal, and possesses and properly displays the correct L plates or D plates

What are the pros and cons of learning to drive with your parents?

Some pros and cons go along with learning to drive with parents, and all of them should be considered when deciding not to use a qualified driving instructor.

Pros:

It could be cheaper

Learning to drive with parents is free and will save the cost of an expensive driving instructor.

You might feel more comfortable

Some people feel more comfortable with a family member and have the ability to be in the car alone with only the person supervising.

It’s more flexible

Learning to drive with parents offers the most flexibility to meet everyone’s schedule. Instead of scheduling around the driving instructor, you can schedule your driving practice around your other needs.

You can get more hours and miles under your belt

Another very good benefit is that you can practice driving as much as you want and for as long as possible.

Cons:

You could pick up bad habits

A parent is most likely to teach you how to drive by passing on any bad habits they have. These bad habits hurt your ability to pass your driving test, as many older drivers tend to be over relaxed when they drive.

You won’t have dual controls

Without dual controls, there is no way to take over the car’s operation if the learner driver gets in a bit of trouble.

Your parents might be uninformed

Some people fail to stay updated on driving laws. Learning to drive incorrectly will do more damage than it will help you and affect your ability to pass your driving test.

You’ll have to work around their schedule

While learning with your family does offer more flexibility than with a driving instructor, you will still be restricted by their professional and personal schedules. This can also include the availability of the car you need for driving practice if you have more than one qualified driver but only one vehicle to use for driving lessons.

This is important to remember as the Driver and Vehicle standards agency states most learner drivers need approximately 70 hours of driving practice.

Are learner drivers allowed to have passengers?

Yes, providing that having a qualified driver in the front passenger seat accompanying the trip is being met, learner drivers are permitted to have additional passengers in the back seat. However, all passengers must observe and comply with all driving laws and regulations.

Can I practice driving on the motorway with my parents? 

No. If you are learning to drive with your parents, you cannot drive on any motorway. To practise driving on a motorway, you need to take driving lessons with an approved driving instructor (ADI) and drive in a car fitted with dual controls.

How to get learner driver insurance

Acquiring learner driver insurance simply relies on a trusted insurance provider who can explain everything you need to know.

You might also find our advice handy on how long it takes to learn to drive in the UK, or what you don’t learn as a learner driver to steer you in the right direction for your driving test.

FAQs

What are the consequences of driving while uninsured?

Valid car insurance is a serious legal matter in the UK. If your car is being driven on the roads or simply sitting in your driveway, you are legally required to have it insured.

Courts and police are very strict about insurance requirements, and if you are caught driving uninsured, the penalties include points, fines, and even disqualification from driving.

Can I practise driving at night in my parents’ car?

Generally speaking, there are no restrictions on the hours a learner driver can drive with their provisional driving licence in the UK. Providing, of course, that all the relevant requirements are being met. However, some places do have curfews for provisional driving licences, so you need to double-check in the area in which you live.

Do I have to learn to drive with a driving instructor? 

You do not need to rely upon a driving instructor or enrol in a driving school to learn how to drive in the UK legally. Generally speaking, any driver can teach you how to drive, providing all the requirements are met. However, before making your final decision, it’s worth considering the pros and cons of both options.

What would happen if a learner driver is caught driving without supervision?

As with having valid insurance, both the courts and the police are rigorous regarding learner drivers being accompanied by a qualified driver. If a learner driver is caught alone, the driver faces the possibility of an unlimited fine, points, and even disqualification of driving altogether and having the vehicle impounded.

Final thoughts

While getting your driving licence is a great benefit for your family, driving lessons are not always best handled as a family affair. There are many benefits to taking driving lessons with an approved driving instructor. However, learning with a family member can also be the best option for some people.

The most important thing to do is fully consider all the pros and cons of each option and decide.

Regardless of which option you choose, you will need the right insurance to cover you during the entire process, and for that, GoShorty has you covered.