Being able to get private practise can be incredibly valuable! We've come up with some top tips for you to get the most out of your practise - whether this is with your partner, mum, dad, other family member or friend!
✅ Make sure your insurance is sorted
You can get learner insurance from places like Marmalade or Collingwood. Alternatively, you may be able to add your name to your parents/partners insurance policy. It's illegal to drive without insurance.
If you use the discount code '778440' with Marmalade, or '330048' with Collingwood, you will be able to get discounts for your insurance.
You must legally have L plates on the front and rear of your vehicle, and you must have tax, an MOT, and the vehicle must be in a roadworthy condition.
✅ Make sure your supervising driver is legal
They MUST: - Be over 21 years old - Have held their driving licence for more than 3 years - Follow all the rules as if they were driving, for example, not drinking alcohol or taking drugs, not using their mobile phone, not being distracted etc. They must be ready to take control if you need help or support
✅ Talk to your driving instructor
Your driving instructor is the best person to be able to advise you on what sort of things you could cover during your private practise. They will know your strengths and weaknesses, and will be able to suggest things which will challenge those weaknesses, without overwhelming you (or your supervising driver!)
✅ Tell your supervising driver what you already know
Make sure your supervising driver is aware of what you can and can't do. This will help them to be able to plan where to take you, and know when they may need to give you more support.
✅ Start slowly
An empty car park or quiet residential road is probably the best place to begin. You'll want time to adjust to the new car, and your supervising driver (especially if it's your parents in their brand new car) will want to see your skills and feel comfortable before taking you to different areas.
Your supervising driver could also sit in a couple of driving lessons so they can see what you're capable of. This is valuable for your supervising driver, so they can see how your instructor supports you and communicates with you, can see the skills you have, and what areas you may need to develop.
✅ Plan what you're going to do
Have an idea of what you'd like to cover. Shorter journeys (15-30 minutes) to start with may be preferable - think about taking a trip to your local shops, or taking the kids to school. You could even do a manoeuvre when you get to the shops such as reversing into a bay!
After a few shorter journeys, you may choose to drive for a little longer (30-60 minutes) and practise some things that your instructor has suggested. It could be meeting situations, city centre driving, rural roads, manoeuvres, following sat nav directions to a destination such as your college or work, or to a friend's house, etc.
✅ Keep a record of what you've covered
You could message your instructor each time you've been out and practised different or new things. Your instructor would love to hear about your private practise! If you decide not to message your instructor, be ready to tell your instructor on your next lesson what you've covered during private practise. They'd love to hear about it, and this will help them plan and structure your next few lessons
✅ Reflect on your practise
At the end of each drive, take a few minutes to think about three main questions:
What went well, and why?
What would you like to improve or develop?
What would you like to do on your next drive? (Whether your next drive is private practise or with your instructor)
❌ Don't let your supervising driver try to teach you new skills
They aren't trained to do this (unless they're an instructor!), and this could cause you to become stressed and confused. Stick to what you know and have learnt from your driving instructor - focus on perfecting those skills, rather than trying to learn new things.
❌ Don't let your supervising driver shout at you
Ask your supervising driver to stay calm with you. If they are shouting and getting stressed, this will not help you. You will feel more confident and calmer if they stay calm and supportive. If tensions start running high, pull over and take a few minutes to calm down. Driving whilst stressed can be dangerous. You can always get your supervising driver to sit in a couple of your driving lessons to see how your instructor communicates with you.