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Learning to drive can be a daunting prospect – but supervising a learner can feel just as – if not more – intimidating. On average, learners require 45 hours of driving lessons with their instructor, but it’s recommended they bank 22 extra hours of independent driving practice, too. To ensure they’re able to continue their learning outside of lessons, learners can purchase temporary learner driver insurance and practise privately with a supervisor of their choice.

Learner practice insurance is one of the best ways to insure a learner – it represents a cost-efficient, flexible way for learners to build up their road experience, without having to pay their instructor every time they get behind the wheel. But there are some specific requirements for who can supervise a learner driver, to ensure the safety of both the learner and supervisor throughout the sessions, and to make sure that the learner gets the most they can from their private practice.

Who Can Supervise a Learner Driver?

If you’re wondering who can supervise a learner, how old you have to be to supervise, or how long you have to have been driving to sit with a learner – don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

You must adhere to all the following requirements to supervise a learner driver:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Have held a full and valid UK driving licence for a minimum of 3 consecutive years 
  • Be qualified to drive the type of car the learner is practising in – for instance, if your licence is only for automatic vehicles, you can’t supervise a learner practising in a manual car.
  • You’ll need to be insured to drive the vehicle being practised in, should you need to take over the driving at any point.

If someone without the necessary credentials is found to be supervising a learner driver, the learner can face hefty penalties before they’ve even passed their driving test – facing a fine of up to £1000 and 6 penalty points on their provisional licence for driving without the correct supervisor. The repercussions are even worse if a learner is caught driving alone – so it’s very important to always have an appropriate supervisor whilst practising! 

Rules for Supervising a Learner

Once you know you’re legally fit to supervise a learner driver, you’ll need to ensure you’re also following all of the rules to supervise correctly. For instance, you must never use your mobile phone or travel on the motorway whilst you’re supervising a learner driver. Ideally, you should take the learner to practise in quiet areas with fewer road users around – like car parks, industrial estates, or less congested rural areas.

When supervising a learner driver you have to sit in the front of the car, as sitting anywhere but the front passenger seat diminishes your capacity to supervise safely and correctly. It’s worth noting that learner drivers can have passengers – as long as you or another supervisor is in the front with them, they can carry up to 3 other passengers (including children) in the backseat. 

Before you so much as open the passenger door, you also need to ensure that the practice vehicle meets the necessary standards to be roadworthy. The vehicle the learner driver practises in should be registered with the DVLA, hold an up to date vehicle tax certificate, have a current MOT certificate, and have a valid insurance policy in place, too. 

What Insurance is Needed for Supervising a Learner Driver?

Many people are unsure about whether the person supervising a learner driver needs to be insured. The short answer is yes, they do. The supervisor must have their own insurance in place if they’re not covered by the learner driver’s insurance policy, as they might need to take control of the car at any point during the practice session. Temporary car insurance is the easiest and most affordable way to get insured on the learner’s own car as a supervisor – allowing both supervisor and learner the freedom to switch positions should the learner require a break, for the supervisor to demonstrate a manoeuvre, and so on. What’s great about temporary cover is that you can just get insured for an hour or two, so you only have to pay for how long you need, rather than dealing with expensive annual costs. 

Don’t forget the learner must also be insured to drive the car – our temporary learner insurance is a great option for that. 

Requirements of the Learner to Go Out on Driving Practice

To be able to go out on driving practice the learner must hold a provisional driving licence and be at least 17. The learner will also need to meet the minimum eyesight standards – a good test is whether you can comfortably read a number plate from 20 metres away, or about 5 parked cars away. It’s okay if the learner driver needs glasses or contact lenses to achieve this, provided they’re wearing them at all times when driving.

When on a practice session L plates should be correctly displayed in a prominent position on the back and front of the car, to signal your presence to other road users. Not displaying your L plates can result in 6 penalty points on your provisional licence!

Unfortunately, being a learner doesn’t exempt you from speeding fines or tickets, and if you’re caught speeding the blame lies with you (the learner), not the supervisor. Should the learner be practising in someone else’s car, as the perpetrator of the offence, they’re still responsible for settling the fine and dealing with any other consequences.

The learner driver must be supervised by someone at least 21 years of age, who has held a valid driving licence for at least three consecutive years. In scenarios where supervisors are flouting motoring law (for instance, using their mobile phone, being under the influence of alcohol) learner drivers can also be penalised, as they’re not being supervised by someone who can control the vehicle if they need to. Learners need to pick their supervisors carefully in this respect! It’s best to choose an experienced driver, as the secondary controls your instructor has won’t be available for the supervisor to take control over the vehicle with.

Rules for Supervising a Learner Driver 

It’s a big responsibility to take on the role of supervisor for the learner driver in your life – not only will you be helping them to build their confidence before their driving test, but they’ll also be relying on the knowledge you have accrued throughout your year.

Remember when you are supervising you must also behave as if you are behind the wheel. This means that you can’t be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and that you can’t use your mobile phone while supervising a learner driver.

In fact, the supervisor can receive up to 6 penalty points on their licence as well as a £200 fine if caught on their mobile phone. If caught over the legal alcohol limits while supervising a learner driver, the supervising person could face charges, fines, and even lose their driving licence entirely. It is also illegal for the person supervising to fall asleep while they are in a driving lesson with a learner driver – this is not your opportunity to nap, no matter how confident you are in the learner’s capabilities!

The supervisor must be fully qualified to drive the type of car being used for driving practice, meet the legal minimum eyesight standards, ensure that the car being used to practise in is safe and roadworthy and sit in the front passenger seat of the car at all times. Whilst you’re not their official instructor, you’ll be playing a large role in their learning experience – so we’ve put together a few handy tips for supervisors.

  • Get up to scratch on the Highway Code so you can impart correct, up to date information to the learner.
  • Consider talking to the learner’s driving instructor before your practice session, so they can give you an honest idea of where the learner’s up to and what they need to work on – there’s no point trying to show them how to parallel park before they’re comfortable changing gears.
  • Choose the areas and times you practise in wisely – a busy roundabout at rush hour is unlikely to inspire confidence in your learner.
  • Be alert and responsive – you might spot potential hazards faster than the learner and they’ll need your expertise to guide them through any tricky spots.
  • Encourage the learner to take driving breaks when needed.
  • Be specific with your feedback, so that the learner fully understands what you’re telling them.
  • Always stay calm to ensure the learner feels comfortable and doesn’t panic.
  • Be patient and empathetic! Learning how to drive can be extremely nerve-wracking, and it’s vital that the learner is able to learn from their mistakes to (eventually) feel confident behind the wheel.s

Supervising a Learner Driver’s Practice FAQs

Do learners have to have a supervisor when practising?

It’s illegal to drive a car with a provisional licence without a supervising driver with you. If caught driving without a supervising driver, you can face up to 6 points on your licence and a fine of up to £1000.

How old do you have to be to supervise a learner driver?

To supervise a learner driver you’ll need to be at least 21 years old, with a valid UK driving licence for the past 3 consecutive years. It’s worth noting that some insurers won’t insure a supervisor under 25 years old – so make sure you check the policy carefully before purchasing.

Can a learner driver have passengers?

As long as the person supervising a learner driver meets all the requirements, it’s perfectly legal for the learner driver to have passengers in the back. This also includes children. It’s not always advisable, however, because passengers can be distracting, especially for someone still coming to grips with driving.

When supervising a learner driver do you have to sit in the front?

You must sit in the front passenger seat at all times when supervising a learner driver.

Can learners practise at night?

Learner drivers are allowed to drive at any time of the day as long as they meet the necessary legal requirements. Driving at night is a great way to prepare for the driving test, as it teaches learner drivers to drive in different conditions and might be a good time to avoid busy traffic.

Can you supervise a learner driver if you have points on your licence?

Yes! It’s legal for someone with points on their driving licence to supervise a learner driver. They must, of course, still meet the other requirements.

What happens if there’s an accident whilst you’re supervising a learner?

In most cases, the person behind the wheel takes complete responsibility for an accident. However, if the supervising driver was intoxicated or in the wrong in some capacity, they too would be penalised.

Do you have to be insured to supervise a learner driver?

Yes – in order to legally supervise a learner driver, you’ll need cover. There are multiple insurance options for supervisors, but temporary cover is usually the most affordable, flexible choice if they are not already insured personally on the car being used.

Can you charge for supervising driving practice?

Unless you’re a qualified, approved driving instructor, you can’t receive any payment for your supervision.

Learning to drive is a huge milestone in anyone’s life – and helping a friend, family member or partner as they practise their driving is a really kind way to show your support. Whether you’ve been drafted in to help the learner in your life out the week before their practical test, or want to be on hand throughout every stage of their driving education, our temporary car insurance will ensure you’re covered, and our learner practice insurance will ensure they are – so you can run safe practice sessions with the right insurance for all.

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