Learning to drive offers plenty of challenges, but like any difficult task, driving practice makes perfect in the end. Or if not perfect, it makes you good enough to pass a driving test anyway. The DVLA recommends at least 22 extra hours of private lessons to assist your development, so you’ll need an experienced driver to help you out. Experience isn’t all they need, but with these top ten tips, you’ll hit the road between lessons and boost your confidence in no time.
Make Sure Your Supervisor is Legal and Insured
You probably know most of this already, but let’s go over the basics. To supervise your driving practice, your supervisor must:
- Be over 25 years of age
- Have passed their driving test over three years ago
- Be legally insured for the car, and for you to drive it
- Be sober, and off their phone for the whole supervision
If your supervisor fails to meet any of the criteria above, you could face fines of £1,000 and 6 points on your licences.
Make Sure Both of You Are Ready to Drive
The best practices include two calm people driving a planned route, having a chat, and sharing some driving experience. With driving practice, the practical issues, like buying L plates and an internal mirror, matter just as much as the relationship-building involved in communicating and resolving any conflict with flexibility and understanding.
Brush Up on the Test Criteria Before Your Driving Practice
Having an experienced family member help you with private lessons is great, but the more experience, the longer it’s been since their own test. Checking in, to keep up to date on terminology, advice, and manoeuvres, gives you a great foundation for your lessons.
Communicate to Build the Right Relationship
Learning to drive can be stressful. If either you or your driving supervisor find yourselves slipping into road rage during a lesson, it’s time to find another way to communicate or find another supervisor.
Learn About the Car Inside and out Before Your Driving Practice
Driving lessons often focus on the road, while forgetting about what’s going on under the bonnet. You and your supervisor should both remember to go over car maintenance, checking the fluids, the oil, and the tires to make sure the car stays roadworthy.
Make sure your supervisor knows where you’re at on your driving journey. Even then, they’ll be less confident with you in the car than your instructor will be. After all, they don’t have their own pedals. It’s often better to start small, taking a trip around a car park, or just up and down the road.
Work Your Way Up Towards Driving Practice Tests
Eventually, your driving practice works its way up to full-scale mock tests. Knowing more about how mock tests work in your area helps you get there too. Learn a few of the routes and the criteria for minor and major test faults. Driving tests last around 45 minutes, so mock up a practice session around that time and see how it goes.
Familiarise Yourself With Varied Driving Challenges
Driving practice between lessons lets you tackle challenges you’d otherwise miss. Try something new, like hitting a drive-through, re-tracing your driving lessons at night time, or going up the spiral ramp on a multi-story car park.
Work on Specific Tasks
Everyone has strengths in different areas. Find out your weaknesses, be they hill starts, parallel parking, or switching lanes, and nail them on your driving practice.
Debrief and Log Your Driving Practice Journey
Communication is key before, during, and after your driving practice. Consider debriefing after each session and even keeping a log of what went well, what went wrong, and what to do for next time. Fuelling your practice, and your driving lessons, with insights from your experiences gives you the tools to crush your test when the time comes. Until then, good luck and happy driving.