You do not need to be a qualified driving instructor to teach someone to drive. However, not just anyone can teach a learner. You first need to ensure that you’re legally able to teach.
Before we look at the criteria, one important thing to note: It’s illegal to charge a learner for lessons unless you’re a qualified driving instructor.
How Old Do You Have To Be To Teach Someone To Drive?
You must be over 21 to teach a learner to drive. You also must meet the minimum eyesight standards.
How Long Do You Have To Have Your Licence To Teach Someone To Drive?
To teach someone to drive, you must have held your licence (from the UK, the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein) for at least three years. You must also be qualified to drive the same type of car as the learner. So if you have an automatic licence, for example, you cannot teach a learner to drive a manual car.
Who Can Supervise a Learner?
So long as you meet the criteria, anyone can supervise a learner.
For more, read our full guide to supervising learner drivers.
But as well as checking that you’re legally qualified to teach, you must also ensure that the learner’s legally qualified to learn.
The learner needs:
- A provisional driving licence.
- To be at least 17 years old.
- A learner driver insurance policy – read our full guide to learner driver insurance.
One further thing to consider – when you’re supervising or teaching a learner, you’ll be legally responsible for the vehicle. However, different driving offences might affect you or the learner in different ways.
Read our full guide to your legal responsibilities when supervising or teaching learners.
Supervising vs. Teaching
Are you supervising a learner driver outside of their structured driving lessons with a qualified driving instructor? Or are you teaching them to drive yourself, from scratch?
The DVSA says that the average learner driver needs 45 hours of driving lessons and a further 22 hours of practice before they’re ready for their test.
For best results, learners should get lessons from a qualified driving instructor.
Why Should Learners Use a Driving Instructor?
- Approved driving instructors (ADIs) have specialist training. They know how to structure their lessons to enable people to learn at their own pace. They know how to explain the fundamentals of driving in a way that makes sense. And crucially, they know how to keep their cool, even when the learner’s flustered. So in summary, ADIs know how to teach driving in the safest and most effective way possible.
- ADIs have dual controls. Most instructors teach in cars with an extra clutch and brake pedal on the passenger side. In this way, they can intervene if they sense the learner’s about to do something dangerous. Private driving teachers are less likely to use cars with dual controls, which may make accidents more likely.
- ADIs stay on-top of things. They keep tabs on changes to road laws and on changes to the driving test, so any training they give is guaranteed to as relevant and up-to-date as possible. Qualified driving instructors also tend to commit to their own ongoing training and development. On the other hand, a private teacher might have developed bad driving habits years ago, which they just may pass on to the learner.
- ADIs know when learners are ready. A qualified driving instructor won’t recommend a learner takes their test until they’re absolutely sure that they’re ready. And if they’re not ready, they’ll know exactly which areas of their driving need further development. Private driving instructors might not be so sure of this, so they might send a learner for their test long before they’re ready. If the learner doesn’t pass, it could shake their confidence, and set back their progress significantly.
Still Want To Teach a Learner To Drive?
In almost all cases, learners will be better off learning with a qualified driving instructor.
But if you still want to teach a learner to drive, it’s vital that you prepare as much as possible.
You need to ensure your car’s ready for lessons, and you need to ensure your knowledge of the Highway Code is up-to-date. You also need to get used to giving instructions, and you need to be able to stay calm in stressful and potentially hazardous situations.
We have a complete guide to teaching someone to drive. As well as providing tips on getting yourself and your car ready, our guide also offers advice on how you might effectively work with a driving instructor to give the learner the best of both worlds.
Make Sure You Have Adequate Insurance
The learner driver will need to have insurance in place. While they can be added to the supervisor’s policy, there are benefits to taking out their own policy. The learner may even be required to take out their own policy if they’re driving their own car. Find out more about our learner driver insurance.
If you’re supervising a learner in their own car, remember that it’s a good idea you have insurance too – in case you need to take over at any point.