When learning to drive, doing your own private practice can be very beneficial along with driving with a professional instructor. Private practice can increase the chances of experiencing many different driving conditions and situations. Practising both ways means you can continue learning what you have been taught professionally and spend more time on the things you think you need to work on. Working with your instructor to discuss progress can help to make sure you get plenty of practice where needed.
It may be a good idea to initially have a few lessons with an instructor to get used to general driving and having the dual controls. Then when you begin to take private lessons you will feel safer and more comfortable without the dual controls being there. At our driving school we are happy for, and encourage, parents or whoever is providing the private lessons to sit in on the pupil’s lessons. This way they can see how they the pupil is being taught and can continue this in private practice. This will also give them a better understanding of the pupil’s ability and what areas they need to focus on more.
There are certain standards that need to be met when taking the test, so being taught by a professional instructor will make sure you do not go to test with habits picked up from whoever else may be teaching you. This will also make sure you know what to expect on the day of the test as professional instructors can perform mock tests with the pupil prior to the practical test.
Pupils who already have their own car or who will be using their parent’s car may find it beneficial to also practice driving in that car so that they can get used to it and it won’t be such a challenge after passing the test and driving independently in a different car. However, even though it may be useful, private practice is not essential and some learners may just find it easier to stick to a professional instructor. At the same time, others may prefer to learn completely privately and then have just a few lessons with an instructor prior to test. The most important thing is that the pupil feels safe and ready when going to test and confident when driving independently.