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Taking Driving Lessons UK Guide

The number of lessons needed to learn driving, and time for practising, varies from one person to another. Even so, DVSA reports suggest it will take most novice drivers close to 50 hours of lessons.

So, what does the law say about taking driving lessons in United Kingdom? In fact, there is no minimum and no maximum number of lessons you must have or hours you must practice.

If You Pay Someone to Teach You to Drive

How quickly you learn will determine how many lessons you need to have. But, taking driving lessons from someone you pay means they need to be (either):

In fact, driving instructors set their own prices for giving lessons. There is no official regulation on the minimum or maximum amount they charge.

There is an online search facility that can help you find an approved driving instructor in your area. After finding one to take lessons with, you should always check their badge to make sure they are bona fide.

All driving instructors must display a badge in their car windscreen. It provides proof that they have registered with the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).

The colour of your instructor’s badge will be:

  • Pink (if they are a trainee driving instructor).
  • Green (if they are a qualified driving instructor).

Recording Your Progress

There is a way to keep a record of your progress while learning to drive a car or a motorbike. The form includes any training you do with a driving instructor as well as any private practice you do (e.g. with family or friends).

Downloading the driver’s record for learner drivers can help you to become a safer driver in several ways. So for example, the study guide can help you:

  • Identify which skills may need more focus and attention.
  • Monitor how you are progressing as you practice.
  • Prepare you for the day you book your practical driving test.

Note: Some rules for choosing a driving instructor differ in Northern Ireland. It has to be an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) or an Approved Motorcycle Instructor (AMI) to charge money for teaching driving or riding.

How to Complain about a Driving Instructor

There are some common reasons for complaining about an approved driving instructor (ADI). Complaints occur most if learner drivers are unhappy with the service they provide or their conduct and behaviour.

Complaints about Service

Contact the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) if the driving instructor you are paying:

  • Gives shorter lessons than offered in the agreement.
  • Cancels lessons ‘repeatedly’ or arrives late for lessons on a regular basis.
  • Fails to provide the driving lessons that you already paid them for.

DVSA Driving Instructor Team
Email: [email protected]

PO Box
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE99 1FP

Note: The DVSA can discuss the issues with the instructor on your behalf. But, they are unable to help you recover any lost payments for lessons.

Complaints about Behaviour

Inappropriate behaviour or conduct by an ADI is another reason to contact the DVSA. Some examples of instructor’s behaving badly may include:

  • Using their mobile phone during the lesson (e.g. while you are driving).
  • Using abusive (e.g. shouting or swearing) or inappropriate language in person or as messages.
  • Using unnecessary physical contact (there are other ways to report sexual assault).

Information You Should Provide

To help the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) investigation, you should try to give them as much information as possible, such as:

  • Your full name, an email address, or a telephone number.
  • The name of the driving instructor and the driving school in question.
  • The dates and times that the incidents happened.
  • Any other relevant evidence (e.g. receipts for lessons or screenshots of abusive messages sent by the driving instructor).

Note: The DVSA will not force you to report the incident to the police (unless you choose to do so).

Reporting Illegal Driving Instructors

You can report an illegal driving instructor to the DVSA (e.g. not a qualified ADI or trainee and charging for lessons).

DVSA Counter-fraud and Integrity Team
Email: [email protected]
Telephone: 0300 123 3248
Monday to Friday: 8am to 6pm
Information on call charges.

Note: You can also use the same process to report someone impersonating driving test candidates.

Practising Driving with Family or Friends

You can practise driving with your friends or family, providing you are not paying them for the lessons. The limit on passengers while having driving lessons is the maximum that the vehicle can ‘legally’ hold.

But, the family member or friend that supervises you must:

  • Be at least 21 years old.
  • Be qualified to drive the type of vehicle you are learning in (e.g. have a manual car licence to supervise a learner in a manual car).
  • Have held a full driving licence for at least three (3) years (from countries in the EU or EEA).

Note: It is illegal for a person supervising a learner driver to use a mobile phone while. Driving without the correct supervision can result in a fine up to £1,000 and six (6) penalty points on your provisional licence.

Vehicle Insurance for Learners

As a learner driver, practising in a car that you own means you will need to have your own insurance cover. As a rule, the policy would also cover the family member or the friend.

The rules change if you are practising or rehearsing in someone else’s car. In this case, you must ensure their insurance policy will cover you as a learner.

Note: Some insurers will require the person supervising a learner to be over 25. Driving without adequate vehicle insurance can result in an unlimited fine, a driving ban, and eight (8) penalty point endorsements.

Using ‘L’ and ‘P’ Plates

Size of L Plates While Taking Driving Lessons in United KingdomThere must be an L plate on the front and back of the vehicle while taking driving lessons. The position of L plates must allow other road users to see them ‘easily’. You can use a ‘D’ plate in Wales, instead.

Any time you use an L plate (learner) or D plate (welsh), it must:

  • Contain a red L or D on a white background.
  • Be the correct dimensions (as shown in the diagram).

You should remove (or cover) the L or D plates from the vehicle any time it is used by someone other than a learner driver.

Note: The diagram shows the correct size of L plates. You can round off the white corners of the background.

Displaying Probationary Plates

Some drivers will display green ‘probationary’ P plates to show they recently passed the driving test. Even so, UK motoring laws do not force you to display P plates or force you to remove them either.

Note: Failing to display an L plate, or using the wrong size, can result in six (6) penalty points on your licence. You must use ‘R’ plates (restricted driver plates) for a period of one year after passing the test in Northern Ireland.

Beginners Guide to Taking Driving Lessons in United Kingdom