Is it Better to Learn to Drive in My Own Car?
Taking driving lessons in your own car can be an appealing prospect. It can make your weekly driving lessons more comfortable and convenient, potentially speeding up the process of getting your licence.
It can also open the door to a short notice driving test, as there is no need for your driving school to provide one of its own cars.
But what do driving instructors and examiners make of learners’ decisions to use their own cars? Is it recommended to learn to drive in your own car, or is it better to use the instructor’s car?
The answer depends on a variety of factors.
A Case of Quality and Safety
If your own car is not as new or advanced as the instructor’s car, the latter may be the better choice. Learning to drive in a car that is not safe, responsive or easy to drive in general rarely makes sense.
Most driving schools exclusively utilise the highest-quality vehicles with excellent safety ratings. They also choose very specific cars that are ideal for all learners, which will make the driving experience as simple as possible.
But if your car is new, safe and has dual controls fitted there is no reason not to use it. It is not advisable to learn to drive as a complete beginner in a vehicle without dual controls as there is no way for the person supervising to be able to stop the car in the event that you do stop the vehicle when you need to.
Can Any Car Be Used for Driving Lessons?
The vast majority of standard cars can be used for driving lessons and tests. Make and model are not particularly important, as it is all about the quality, safety and condition of the car.
There are certain requirements that a car must meet to be legally used for driving lessons. You will therefore need to ensure your car meets the following criteria, before requesting to use it:
The car is taxed, insured and has a valid MOT
No warning lights are showing at the time
All tyres have been checked for appropriate pressures and tread depth
The speedometer is working correctly and is accurate
All pedals are in good condition and working properly
An additional rear-view mirror has been fitted for the instructor
All exterior lights are functioning properly at the time
There are no known mechanical or electrical issues
The brakes are in good condition and fully functional
A functional seatbelt and airbag are fitted in the passenger’s side
In addition to the above, you will also need to ensure that two L plates are fitted to the exterior of the vehicle, and a passenger interior mirror is added. If all of these criteria are met, you will be able to take driving lessons in your own car.
What Are the Benefits of Using My Own Car?
It is the feeling of comfort and familiarity that appeals to many learners who choose to use their own cars. But above all else, it is the ability to practice as often as you like that makes it such a popular choice.
If your own car is appropriately taxed and insured, you can drive it with a provisional licence as long as the supervising passenger meets the legal requirements to be able to accompany you when you are out on the roads.
Practicing without the supervision of a qualified instructor can lead some to fall into bad habits. You may find that the way you drive your own car is not quite what your instructor or examiner is looking for.
So while practicing in your own car can be great, you will still need a series of driving lessons with a suitably qualified professional to help you iron out your imperfections before taking your test.