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Learner driver rules

Everything you need to know about learner driver requirements

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As a learner driver, you are focused on learning the rules of the road. To make sure that you and other drivers are kept safe, there are also a set of learner driver rules that everyone learning to drive must follow before and during private lessons.

What you need to learn to drive

Provisional Licence

Before even thinking about getting behind the wheel, you need to make sure you have a provisional driving licence. To apply for a provisional, you must meet the minimum requirements of being:

  • 15 years and 9 months old (although you will be unable to learn to drive until you’re 17)
  • Able to read a number plate from 20 metres away

You must also provide the following information:

  • Your identity with a valid UK biometric passport or another form of I.D.
  • The addresses of where you’ve lived over the past 3 years
  • Your National Insurance number
  • A credit or debit card number to pay £34 for the licence

It can take about a week to receive your driving licence and you must make sure it has physically arrived before you start driving.

Insurance

Once your provisional licence has arrived, you can start planning your driving lessons. If you are practising with a qualified driving instructor, then you don’t have to worry about insurance because your instructor will have the proper insurance for you.

If however, you’re planning on taking some private lessons with a friend or family member, you must make sure you’re properly insured to do so.

A great way to save you time and money is with temporary learner driver insurance. It’s specifically designed for learners and is available to those aged 17 and above with a valid provisional licence.

You can get a short-term policy for just a day or up 3 months, so whatever your situation, you only pay for the insurance you actually need.

Temporary insurance is comprehensive; offering learns the highest level of coverage available. This means that if you have an accident while driving, any damage to the vehicle you’re learning in is covered as well.

Not only is the vehicle protected but because short-term insurance is a separate policy, any No Claims Discount the vehicle owner has is protected. It’s the best way to give peace of mind to the vehicle owner while saving you the large expense of annual insurance.

For many learners, it’s the easiest and often cheapest way to practice when you want without being tied into long policies you might not be able to afford or need.

The supervisor

If you’re not practising with a fully trained instructor then the driver supervising you must meet a number of minimum requirements. This is to ensure that you are in the car with an experienced driver, not only for your safety but to make sure you’re learning how to drive properly.

Any driver supervising a learner must:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Have a full valid driving licence for the vehicle being used
  • Have had that licence for at least 3 years
  • Not receive any payment for the lessons

Your supervisor must all follow the rules of the road as if they were driving the vehicle themselves, i.e. they must not use a mobile phone while in the car.

If you’re learning with a driver who doesn’t meet these requirements then you could face a fine of up to £1,000 and up to 6 penalty points.

The car

Like all vehicles on the road, the car you want to practice in must be taxed and have a valid MOT. While you are driving the vehicle you must display an L plate on the front and back of the vehicle. If you’re driving in Wales, you can use a D plate instead. The L or D plate must be red on a white background.

The vehicle you’re learning in must also be covered by an annual insurance policy. This is normally in the name of the vehicle owner; as a learner, you will simply be insured to drive the vehicle for a set period of time.

On the road

It’s important that learner drivers experience all aspects of driving and this includes different driving environments. From roundabouts to quiet country roads, a learner should try and have a go on a variety of different road types.

That being said, learner drivers are not allowed to drive on any motorway. Doing so can again see you face a £1,000 fine and between 3-6 penalty points.

convicted drivers

It’s also important to clarify the famous ‘private land’ myth. Many learners believe they don’t need to be insured to practice on private land but while this is true, the definition of what is private land is different to what many may think.

If the land is accessible to the public through a footpath or crossing then it’s considered public and you must have insurance to practice there.

These learner driver rules are designed to keep the learner safe while practising and should be followed at all times. Private lessons are an important part of learning to drive and can help you gain the experience you need to pass your test.

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