With the UK plunged into lockdowns and restrictions amid rising coronavirus cases, one road safety organisation has issued advice to drivers supervising learners. Because formal driving lessons are off the menu under Covid-19 restrictions, GEM Motoring Assist says learning time will be limited to essential journeys with household members.
As some drivers will be turning into impromptu instructors, GEM says they will need to prepare themselves to give learners the best chance behind the wheel. In particular, the organisation says it’s important those supervising learners adhere to the same standards as drivers themselves.
Those supervising learner drivers are still banned from using a handheld mobile phone, drinking alcohol and other distractions. Supervising drivers must also be at least 21 years of age, and although they aren’t behind the wheel, they are legally deemed to be in charge of the vehicle.
To prepare, GEM suggests spending some time swotting up on the Highway Code, which has changed in recent years. And the safety and breakdown firm says it’s worth checking with the learner driver’s instructor to find out what has been covered so far and what might be worth practising.
And while it may seem obvious to many, the company is reminding drivers to make sure the car is properly insured and fully road legal. The driver should also have the correct, valid provisional licence, while the car should wear L plates (D plates are also legal in Wales) at the front and rear.
“Driving practice is a vital component of the learning process and a great way to develop skills and experience,” said GEM Motoring Assist’s chief executive, Neil Worth. “The presence of a calm, friendly and unflappable supervisor will be enormously beneficial in making that process as positive as possible. But accepting the role is a big responsibility, and not something you would want to do lightly.
“That’s why we are asking anyone who sits down with a learner to ensure they are fully familiar with the rules of the road, many of which may have been altered or adapted since they were learners, and that they take the responsibility seriously by not being distracted. In the early stages, this is usually best done with just the learner and supervisor in the car. As the learner’s experience builds, then you can consider bringing rear-seat passengers – but we suggest not until the learner’s familiarity with different road environments has been allowed to develop.”