Supervising a learner driver: everything you need to know

You can practise driving between lessons without your driving instructor, but obviously you can’t jump in a car and go for a drive on your own. You have to somebody with you who is fit for supervising a learner driver. There are legal requirements to be met, and you may need to go further to keep your insurer happy.

What are the legal requirements for supervising a learner driver?

Whoever supervises you needs to…

  • Be at least 21.
  • Have held a full driving licence for at least three years.
  • Hold a licence valid for the vehicle being driven. In other words, somebody who passed in an auto can’t supervise in a manual.
  • Meet the minimum eyesight requirement for driving.

Someone who ticks all those boxes may not be legal to supervise a practice session if they are not in a fit condition to drive. That means you can’t have mum or dad supervising you if you are acting as the designated driver and giving them a lift home from the pub. They can’t be unfit to drive through drugs, either.

What extra requirements might an insurer have?

Check the terms of your insurance cover carefully. If you are learning to drive in the family car while covered by your own learner driver policy, it could be that the driver needs to as old as 25 rather than 21.

What sort of person is good at supervising a learner driver?

Supervising a learner is best done by someone with several years of driving experience. That’s why some insurance companies will insist the supervising driver is much older than the minimum required in law.

Their personality counts as well. You want someone in the passenger seat who is patient and understanding. They need to be ready to correct any faults, but without nit-picking or making you feel on edge. You need to get on well and trust each other.

It also helps if the supervising driver has spoken to your instructor to get a clear idea of what you need to practise, and the types of roads you can confidently tackle in a car without dual controls.

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