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11th June 2023

Learner driver rules: all your questions answered

Learning to drive is part of life’s journey but finding affordable car learner driver insurance can be hard to find.

Car Insurance from just £125 per year

Learning to drive is part of life’s journey but there are many rules you need to know, both for the learner driver and the person who sits with them in lessons.

Here the learner driver insurance experts at Sterling answer your FAQs about the UK’s learner driver rules.

Can a learner driver drive alone?

A learner driver is not permitted to drive a car on public roads unsupervised. In fact, driving alone could result in prosecution. Driving without supervision could also invalidate any insurance and you could end up with extra points on your provisional licence and possibly a driving ban before you have even taken to the road legitimately.

learner driver

Who can supervise a learner driver?

A learner driver can be supervised by a registered driving instructor, either an approved driving instructor (ADI) or a potential driving instructor (PDI).  

Learner drivers wanting to get extra driving experience by going out for lessons with family or friends must only be accompanied by people who: 

  • Are over 21
  • Have held a full driving licence for at least three years
  • Are qualified to drive the type of vehicle the learner will be practising in

For example, they must have a manual driving licence if they’re supervising a learner in a manual car.

Though not actually driving, whoever is supervising the learner will be deemed to be in control of the vehicle. This means they must abide by driving laws and can be prosecuted if caught using a mobile phone or found to be over the drink or drug driving limits. 

Where can learner drivers practise?

A learner under supervision can practise driving on private land or any public highway. 

However, learner drivers wanting to practise on motorways will have to be accompanied by an ADI in a dual-control car fitted with L-plates. Their instructor will also have to be satisfied that the learner is competent enough to have lessons on the motorway.

learner driver

When can learner drivers practise?

Learner drivers are encouraged to practise in varied road conditions and at different times of the day. This is in preparation for them passing their test and will help them cope with whatever they encounter when they have qualified and are driving on their own.  

If you will be practising night driving, read our blog for some advice on driving safely in the dark.

Can learner drivers carry passengers?

As long as the learner driver supervisor rules are adhered to and the car isn’t overloaded – meaning there is no more than one person for each available seat – it’s OK to drive with passengers as a learner driver. In most cases, this means you will have a supervisor next to you and room for three passengers with seat belts in the rear of the vehicle. 

However, as learner drivers are new to the road, you might want to think carefully before carrying passengers as extra people in the car can add extra distractions.

learner driver

Can learners practise in any car?

You can learn to drive in any car as long as it is roadworthy and has no faults, has a valid MOT and suitable insurance, and prominently displays the learner driver symbol, a red “L” on a white background at the front and rear of the vehicle (or a “D” plate in Wales with, again, red lettering on white background).

What insurance does a learner driver need?

For lessons with a registered driving instructor, you won’t have to worry about insurance as their car will be insured for any person to drive while under tuition.

If you’ll be taking extra lessons in a car owned by family or friends, you will either have to be a named driver on their policy or take out your own learner driver insurance policy, which is otherwise known as provisional licence insurance.

Sterling’s learner driver insurance costs from as little as 77p a day and policies can be taken out on a month-by-month basis. This means you only pay for the insurance you need until you pass your driving test, and it doesn’t matter how long it takes for you to pass.

You can also insure the learner’s own car, or one owned by family or friends, and cover can be fully comprehensive or third party, fire and theft.

If an accident does happen with the learner driver at the wheel that causes accidental damage to someone else’s car, it will not affect the owner’s no claims discount.

learner driver

What happens to my learner insurance when I pass my test?

Once the learner driver has passed their test, the learner driver insurance ends and the newly qualified driver will need to take out new or young driver insurance or black box insurance

If the just-passed driver is using a friend or relative’s vehicle, they will need to become a named driver on the owner’s policy – or the main driver if they will be the main person using the car.

If your test is imminent, read our blog containing tips on passing your test first time

How long does it take to learn to drive? 

The length of time spent learning to drive varies but the DVSA suggests people typically pass their test after 45 hours of professional tuition alongside 22 hours of private tuition with family or friends.

What’s the quickest way to get learner driver cover?

Great cover is just a quick phone call away. Sterling’s best learner driver insurance deals are available over the phone. To find out how much learner driver insurance will cost you, call Sterling on 0344 381 9990 or use the online form to book a callback at a time that suits you.

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