Your guide to learning to drive in Newcastle
How to choose a driving school in Newcastle
In regards to driving schools Newcastle has a lot of choice. Yet you still deserve a driving instructor in Newcastle who:
- Encourages you
- Helps you enjoy learning
- Won’t cost the earth!
So it’s important to do these 4 things:
1. Compare reviews
It’s really useful to find out what learners like you have said about your local driving schools in Newcastle. Sites like Trustpilot, and Google give a wide range of reviews schools. These will help you find the best driving lessons in Newcastle.
2. Beware of terms and conditions
You might want to block book lessons for efficiency, but keep in mind that some driving schools in Newcastle won’t refund any hours you end up not using. To avoid this, have a look through the school’s terms and conditions.
3. Check that you can switch instructors
You might find a different instructor would help you learn in a way that suits you better. So it’s worth looking into whether the schools you’re considering let their pupils switch instructors. Not all driving schools in Newcastle do.
4. Avoid long waiting times
There can be significant waiting times for driving lessons in Newcastle during peak periods. Some driving schools in Newcastle won’t reveal their waiting times until you’re midway through booking your lessons, so make sure you ask before paying!
Choosing between manual and automatic
Decide whether you want manual or automatic driving lessons before you start.
An automatic licence will only let you drive automatic cars whereas a manual licence will let you drive both transmissions.
People tend to like the feeling of control a manual car gives, especially when it comes to changing down a gear in anticipation of a hill, for that extra boost of power. If you’re based outside of the city, for example in hilly Prudoe, that might be handy! Not to mention manuals are cheaper and easier to maintain.
However, automatics are simpler to learn and drive in since they don’t have a clutch pedal. That means you don’t need to get your head around clutch control and biting points. Automatics are particularly useful in heavy traffic, as they remove the need to press and depress the clutch every few metres - which might be perfect for you if you’re tackling rush hour in Newcastle!
Lastly, remember that some driving schools in Newcastle may not provide automatic lessons, which might factor into your decision.
Choosing your test centre
After you've had enough driving lessons in Newcastle, your driving instructor will help you decide on the best test centre for you. Once you've chosen a location, your instructor can help you practise in it.
Test centre pass rates
DVSA practical car test pass rates, 2018-2019.
Elswick Test Centre | Pass rate: 42.4%
If you choose Elswick Test Centre, you could encounter dual carriageways with cycle paths like Scotswood Road. So be sure to check your mirrors regularly for any oncoming cyclists.
Address: Unit 2 Sirius House, Asama Court, Amethyst Road, Elswick, Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear, NE4 7YL
Gateshead Test Centre | Pass rate: 45.2%
Gateshead Test Centre has a pass rate rather close to the UK average so it’s a solid choice. Expect crossroads on Queensway and mini roundabouts on Easdale Garden and Harlow Green Lane.
Address: Waterside Drive, Dunston, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, NE11 9HU
Gosforth Test Centre | Pass rate: 43.7%
You’ll find Gosforth Test Centre within the Sandy Lane industrial complex. It has a pass rate just slightly below the national average.
Address: Sandy Lane, Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear, NE3 5HB
South Shields Test Centre | Pass rate: 48.8%
At South Shields Test Centre, you’ll encounter dual carriageways and roundabouts on roads like John Reid Road and Prince Edward Road. Driving instructors in Newcastle recommend this centre.
Address: Bedesway, Bede Industrial Estate, South Shields, Tyne and Wear, NE32 3EG
Visit the DVSA to find your nearest driving test centre.
Test tips from driving instructors in Newcastle
Driving instructors in Newcastle walk you through the challenges you'll face:
1. Get ready for multi-lane roundabouts
You’ll get lots of roundabouts one after the other if you take your test at Elswick. Scotswood Roundabout is particularly big with three lanes, heading to the A191 and A695. Keep within your lane and watch your speed.
2. Keep calm in congestion
Main roads like the A1056 are bound to come up on your driving test. They can get busy so keep calm and maintain safe distances from other vehicles.
3. Book a lesson beforehand
It’s useful to book a driving test before your practical test to go over any areas you’re unsure of. These can be roads you want more practice on or roads you suspect will come up on the test.
Where can you have driving lessons in Newcastle upon Tyne?
No matter where you're looking for a driving school in Newcastle, there's an instructor for you. Popular areas include:
Arthurs Hill, Chapel House, Dunston, Fenham, Gateshead, Hazlerigg, Lemington, North Shields, South Shields and Spital Tongues.
You can enter your postcode to check lesson pricing near you.