Your guide to learning to drive in Kingston upon Thames
How to choose a driving school in Kingston upon Thames
You deserve an instructor who:
- Encourages you
- Makes it fun to learn
Won’t cost the earth!
So be sure to tick off these 4 things:
1. Compare reviews
It’s useful to look up what other learners have said about driving schools in Kingston upon Thames for unbiased reviews to see which school and instructor might be the best match for you.
2. Beware of terms and conditions
If you block book lessons with some schools in Kingston upon Thames, you’ll have to complete them in 6 months. This means if you stop your lessons for whatever reason and resume them after this period, you’ll end up losing money. If you think you might pause midway through your lessons, check the terms and conditions to be certain you can pick them up again within a timeframe that suits you.
3. Check that you can switch instructors
Some schools in Kingston upon Thames let you swap instructors, which is useful if you’re not getting on with your current driving instructor. However, it’s worth double checking if you can change instructors easily at your driving school.
4. Avoid long waiting times
It’s important to ask what the waiting times are when booking with a driving school, as you’ll want to avoid waiting long before you begin your first lesson. Some schools in Kingston upon Thames won’t tell you their available times until you’ve started to book lessons.
Choosing between manual and automatic
Before you book your first lesson, you’ll have to decide whether you want manual or automatic driving lessons.
Automatics only have two pedals (an accelerator and a brake) as opposed to a manual’s three (accelerator, brake, clutch). Since you don’t have to worry about the clutch, automatics are simpler and more relaxing to drive in.
Kingston upon Thames has its fair share of traffic on its main roads, especially those near the station like the A307 and A308. An automatic would be easier for congested roads like these as you won’t have to keep changing gears in stop-start traffic.
However, if you’re concerned about price, manual cars are cheaper to buy and maintain. Manual lessons are also cheaper as there are more manual driving instructors, meaning less demand.
Another thing to keep in mind is that a manual licence is valid for both automatics and manuals, whereas an automatic licence only lets you drive automatic cars.
Think about the pros of both and then decide. It’s all up to you!
Choosing your test centre
Your instructor will help you practise the routes that are likely to come up in your driving test.
Tolworth is the only test centre within the Kingston upon Thames postcode. However, there are other centres nearby in the South West London area. See the pass rates of these test centres below:
Test centre pass rates
DVSA practical car test pass rates, 2018-2019.
Tolworth Test Centre | Pass rate: 49.3%
Tolworth Test Centre has a pass rate slightly above the UK national average. You’ll find the centre along Douglas Road next to the A240.
Address: Douglas House, 1B Douglas Road, Tolworth, Greater London, KT6 7RZ
Check out the DVSA page to find your nearest Driving Test Centre.
Test tips from Kingston upon Thames instructors
1. Watch out for parked cars
You’ll drive on a handful of suburban roads around Tolworth Test Centre like Berrylands Road, Manor Drive and Rectory Lane. Keep a safe passing distance between you and the parked cars.
2. Prepare to parallel park
There’s limited parking at the Tolworth Test Centre. If there aren’t any spaces available, you’ll likely have to parallel park along Douglas Road.
3. Take a lesson before your test
Having a final driving lesson just before your practical test should give you a much-needed confidence boost. You could use the time to get used to the day’s driving conditions and go over any roads you want more practice on.
4. Be prepared for Tolworth Roundabout
Tolworth Roundabout is very near the Tolworth Test Centre, so it's likely to come up on your test. This large roundabout leads to the A3 and the A240 with the Kingston Bypass underneath, but don’t let it intimidate you. You’ll ace it as long as you check your mirrors and watch your speed.
5. Bring all that you need
Your theory test pass certificate and provisional driving licence are needed on the day you take your practical test. If you don’t bring both of them, your test will be cancelled and you won’t be refunded, so make doubly sure you bring them.
Driving lessons in Kingston upon Thames
Some of the most popular areas to learn in Kingston upon Thames include:
Berrylands, Chessington, Cobham, East Molesey, Epsom, Hampton Wick, New Malden, Norbiton, Surbiton and Weybridge.
Enter your postcode to check lesson pricing in your local area.