How to Accompany a Learner Driver (UK)

Accompanying a learner driver can be a daunting experience, but also rewarding and helpful. Here's what you should know to make the experience as pain-free as possible for both the supervisor and the learner driver.


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    Ensure that the vehicle is correctly insured. It is paramount that the learner driver is insured correctly on the vehicle as a Provisional Licence Holder, or the insurance company is not obliged to pay out in the case of an accident. It may also be prudent for you (as the supervising driver) to be insured also, allowing you to take control should the learner driver be unable to continue driving.
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    Remember that the supervising driver is legally the main driver of the vehicle. This means that all road laws also apply to you, even if you are not driving yourself. In the United Kingdom, the supervising driver MUST be over 21 years old and have held a Full UK Licence for over 3 years. You should not be under the influence of any alcohol or drugs when accompanying a learner driver, and you must not operate a mobile phone or other electronic device.
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    Agree boundaries with the learner driver before setting off. This includes the length of time of driving and that the learner driver is prepared to accept your instructions and criticism. If you are in doubt as to whether these boundaries will be respected or obeyed, then do not agree to supervise.
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    Double-check everything during driving. A learner driver is not equipped with the same driving experience as you, and does not know how to read the road and traffic conditions as effectively. You should remain alert at all times, monitoring not only the driving but also the surrounding environment. Where possible, look in the mirrors often and ensure that you know about vehicles behind as well as in front. Provide guidance at junctions and roundabouts as to when it is safe to proceed, or when it is safe to change lanes or overtake where necessary.
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    Make sure all instructions are clear and precise. Make sure that you are familiar with the roads that you are supervising on, and provide clear guidance throughout the drive. Vague or confusing instructions can be frustrating and off-putting to an inexperienced driver.
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    Do not teach bad habits. A learner driver will not drive in the same way as an experienced driver. This is normal, as a learner driver is specifically taught techniques that will help them to pass a driving test. Do not attempt to un-teach these techniques or replace them with more casual or bad habits, as this will confuse a new driver and undermine their driving test readiness.
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    Remember to observe the speed limit and monitor vehicle speed regularly. Your judgement on speed for the given road or conditions is very important. If you feel that the driver should change their speed to match conditions, tell them.
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    Remain as calm as possible at all times. You should avoid becoming agitated, frustrated or argumentative whilst supervising a learner driver. Arguments can frequently cause car accidents, and can be very off-putting to the driver of the vehicle. Try to keep criticism friendly wherever possible.
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    Positive feedback is equally as important as negative feedback. Make sure to also comment on things that the learner driver has done well. When evaluating with the driver, mention positive points before negative ones as this can help to reinforce things that have been done well or correctly. Do not make criticism personal - driving is a complicated art that takes time to master correctly.
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    If an accident does occur, stay composed. Unfortunately, accidents do happen, and sometimes they are simply not preventable.


  • Both the supervising and the learner drivers should ensure that they are carrying the correct documentation at all times. This generally includes driving licence photo cards and insurance certificates, in the case that you are pulled over.
  • Choose a vehicle that is appropriate for the task. Mishaps are less likely to occur in smaller vehicles with smaller engines. The risk of an accident occurring as a result of bad vehicle control are much higher in a car with a larger engine. Many insurance companies will (rightly) refuse insurance for provisional drivers on unsuitable vehicles.
  • Remember that you are not a substitute for an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI). No matter how good you think you are at driving, you are not a qualified driving instructor. Ensure that any private driving practice is only in addition to professional driving tuition.


  • As stated above, it is critically important that the vehicle is correctly insured. If the learner driver is not correctly insured on the vehicle, the responsible supervising driver is also likely to receive a penalty for aiding and abetting driving without insurance.
  • If you do not feel safe accompanying a learner driver then, simply, you should not do so. A nervous supervisor can be particularly dangerous.
  • Provisional licence holders are not permitted to drive on motorways under any circumstances under UK legislation. You should ensure that any driving routes avoid motorways.

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Categories: Driving Basics