Learning to drive without an Instructor

There are many people in the UK who are learning to drive a car without using a DVSA approved driving instructor, and that is okay. In fact many do go on to pass the driving test, though not at their first attempt, and I'll explain why later, but if you want to learn to drive and for one reason or the other be it financial constraints from the credit crunch or just personal choice decide not to use the services of an ADI, here is some advice to help you on the way.

Keep it legal. Stick to the legal requirements of your provisional driving licence, by making sure you have a supervising driver aged 21 or more who has held a full british licence (in the appropriate category, Automtic can not supervise in a manual car) for at least 3 years. You must also display regulation 'L' plates on the car being used for tuition purposes, and finally make sure you are fully insured against a minimum of 3rd party incidents while out on the road learning the driving skills required to pass the practical car driving test.

Know the standards expected by the DVSA driving examiner. This is where a lot of people learning to drive with a family member or friend go wrong, they get taught to drive the way their supervisor handles the car, not what is required to pass the test, and this is why most don't pass on their first attempt!
If you want to have a very good chance of passing the driving test while learning to drive without an instructor, I strongly suggest you buy the two books listed below, one is an offical book by the DVSA who conduct the practical assessment, while the other is the most important book that any learner driver in the UK should buy.

If there is one book you should buy, it is the Highway code as it tells you how the DSA examiner expects you to deal with anything you come across on the driving test. I know many good drivers who have failed due to silly mistakes they made because of a lack of konwledge of the highway code, for less than £5 they could have avoided the expense of a second test with the DSA people. The book is small enough for you to carry around with you, so take the time to know the rules inside out, it will go along way to guarantee your success in the practical car assessment.

DSA offical learning to drive guide
The more knowledge you have of what is expected by the examiner, the better prepared you will be.

Finally with the internet of today, there is no excuse for not taking advantage of the many driving test tips websites and forums that are out there giving you practical and up to date advice, remember that whoever is supervising you while learning to drive without an instructor would have taken their test at least three years ago, and a lot could have changed in that time.

Suggested learner driver reading
Manual or Automatic driving lessons for a learner?
Cheap Driving Lessons.
Learning To Drive On Motorways

Highway Code Required When Learning To Drive

If you are planning on learning to drive a car or motorcycle in the UK, then it is important that you not only get a copy of the Highway Code, but you actually master the contents, as it could be the difference between passing and failing especially if you are not taking lessons with a driving instructor.

Most people learning to drive will not pay attention to or read their highway code book once they have passed their theory test, but this is the wrong attitude to take, as I have seen many learners fail their practical tests due to silly mistakes which would have been prevented had they fully memorised the rules. signs or road markings that are in the highway code.

The video clip below shows an example of someone with a practical test the next day making a mistake which would cause them to fail the driving test.

If you spend 30 minutes each day reading some of the rules and regulations in the Highway Code, by the time you are ready to take the car test, you will have a wealth of knowlwdge that will ensure your success.

Learning To Drive Snow and Bad Weather

While it is not advisable for you as a complete beginner to take lessons in snow conditions especially since the DSA will not normally conduct a test in heavy adverse weather conditions, it is not a bad idea if you have reached the test standard to ask your supervising driver to take you out in the snow to learn a few skills.

As a learner driver, you can learn how to avoid skids, understand what black ice is and how it affects the road conditions as well as practice the increased stopping distances involved with snow.

You might also want to consider taking Driving lessons in Snow using an instructors dual controlled car as it is safer.

Learning To Drive Roundabouts

If you are learning to drive without an instructor you need to make sure that you know how to deal with every type of junction that you might encounter on the DSA UK car test, and roundabouts in particular can be tricky for inexperienced provisional driving licence holders.

On this page I will list a few resources that will help you learn and gain more experience with this important driving skill.

You need to know that it takes a lot of practice to become confident in dealing with roundabouts so do not be discouraged if after a few lessons with your supervisor you do not seem to be making progress.

Learner Driver Roundabouts Videos

Make sure you get rid of a common mistake many learners commit on mini roundabouts stopping for traffic or vehicles approaching fast from the left.

Know how to indicate at roundbouts and the use of appropriate lanes.

It is also a good idea before taking a driving test to have a few lessons with an approved instructor to make sure you are not committing any serious driving faults and also familiarise yourself with some of the routes used as they could be complex.

Learning To Avoid Stalling A Car when Driving

One of the most important skills that a learner driver needs to master is how to avoid stalling a car, because you are going to be stopping and moving off a lot in the early stages of getting to grips with your tuition vehicle.

Even if you decide to go for automatic driving lessons, you will still have to learn the DSA POM routine as many provisional licence holders fail the UK driving test because they did not check their blind spot or did not make effective observations when moving off or performing a manuever.

Find a flat and quiet road where your teacher can spend enough time giving you a lot of practice finding the biting point and coordinating the clutch and accelerator pedals. It will be easier the more you do it.