Restrictions on private practice have finally lifted from today (29th March) as essential journey guidance has now changed in England. Previously, you could only head out for a private practice session if it was part of an essential trip.

The latest development means once again you can take to the road with a parent or friend for the sole purpose of honing your driving skills without fear of being fined.

However, remember that your private practice must be with someone from your own household or support bubble.

Why going private matters

Private practice is especially important as booking a driving lesson may become more difficult in the short term because of huge expected demand.

Crucially, you’ll also want to get in as much as practise as possible – both through an instructor and private practice – to ensure you’re ready for your practical driving test (when you can finally book one, that is).

“The pandemic has changed the way we learn to drive massively, with many lessons and tests being cancelled due to lockdown … This has put pressure on learner drivers, as they’ve had a lack of professional advice and relied on family members to teach them to drive.”

• Gunnar Peters, CEO, Veygo.

Here’s the ‘but’

However, private practice comes with its own challenges (to put it diplomatically). According to the new 2021 Learner Driver Report from Veygo, the hardest parts of learning to drive privately for students are:

• A lack of knowledge of test routes

• A lack of time

• Picking up bad habits

• The parent/friend not being a pro instructor with a dual control car.

Top 10 pitfalls

As most of us will know, it’s not unusual either for a learner to ‘disagree’ with their ‘teacher’ during private practice session – or vice-versa.

While 52% of learners say they’ve never had an argument with the person teaching them, 48% admit to locking horns with their ‘teacher’ for multiple reasons.

According to the 2021 Learner Driver Report, the top 10 areas of ‘conflict’ are:

10. Different opinions

9. Roundabouts

8. Nerves and panic

7. Parking

6. Doubt ability

5. Not giving clear instructions

4. Driving too fast

3. Other

2. Mistakes

1. Communication.

Keep it calm

Perhaps a key reason for arguments flaring up is based on the relationship you have with the person conducting the ‘lesson’.

According to the report, the person offering lessons are typically:

• Dads (44.1%) • Mums (32.2%) • Another family member (10.2%) • Friend (5%) • Partner (4.9%) • Sibling (2.1%), • Spouse (1.3%).

Our advice? Choose the person who is the most suitable – of course – but also the most patient plus actually enjoys the experience.

Keep it legal

Also remember that the person who is taking you for a private practice session must:

• Be over 21.

• Be qualified to drive the vehicle you’re in.

• Have had a driving licence for over three years.

• Have a manual licence if you’re being taught in a manual car.

• Not be over the limit or using a mobile while supervising you.

• Not take you out on a motorway; only a driving instructor with a dual control car can do that.

Whoever you decide to learn with, just remember that nothing beats a great driving instructor. After all, they’ve dedicated their careers to making you the safest possible driver you can be.

Get Ready!

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Main Photo by Zack Harris / Unsplash.