Your guide to learning to drive in Peterborough
How to choose a driving school in Peterborough
We know what you’re thinking. You want an instructor who:
- Boosts your confidence
- Helps you enjoy learning
- Won’t rip you off!
That’s why we recommend following these simple steps to choose a driving school.
1. Compare reviews
No matter how trustworthy a school is, they’re never going to put their worst reviews on their website. So, head to independent review sites like Trustpilot to see what other learners in Peterborough really have to say.
2. Beware of terms and conditions
Some driving schools in Peterborough charge you an admin fee if you decide to cancel your driving lessons before finishing your prepaid package. Make sure you read the terms and conditions carefully so you know exactly what you’re signing up for.
3. Check that you can switch instructors
We know how much you want to get on with your driving instructor. That’s why it’s important to check that you can switch instructors if you’re not fully happy. Some driving schools in Peterborough, particularly small ones, don’t offer this option.
4. Avoid long waiting times
Once you’ve decided to learn how to drive, you’ll want to get out on the road as quickly as possible. Many schools in Peterborough don’t state their waiting times clearly on their website, so make sure you check them before you book. Then you can avoid waiting longer than you need to.
Choosing between manual and automatic
Before you book a lesson package, you’ll need to decide whether to take manual or automatic driving lessons.
Automatic cars are easier on hills, but Peterborough is largely very flat. In fact, just 7 miles out of Peterborough you’ll find Holme Fen, the UK’s lowest point below sea level! That means you might well lean towards learning to drive manual cars, which tend to be cheaper to buy and maintain.
That said, automatics are also easier to drive in heavy traffic. If you anticipate handling Queensgate Roundabout regularly during rush hour, you might prefer to drive an automatic car, as you won’t need to press the clutch pedal each time you come to a stop.
Bear in mind that a manual licence will qualify you to drive either type of car, whereas an automatic licence will only qualify you to drive automatics.
There are pros and cons to both, so take your time choosing between the two!
Test tips from Peterborough instructors
If you have access to a friend or family member’s car, put in some practice between lessons to accelerate your learning. According to the DVSA, you should aim for 22 hours of private practice before taking the practical driving test.
There’s a great mix of residential streets, dual carriageways and complex roundabouts to practice on in Peterborough. Here are a few of our favourites:
Park Crescent: This is a wide, quiet road ideal for getting the hang of the basics like moving off, stopping and indicating. Make sure to avoid it during the school rush as it goes right past Peterborough Regional College and the university centre!
All Saints Road: One for when you’re a bit more confident. This narrow street has cars parked on both sides, making it handy for getting used to the rules of giving way on the road. It’s also a great place to perfect your parallel parking.
The A1: This dual carriageway is at the national speed limit, so it’s a great introduction to driving at higher speeds. You can also use it to reach some winding rural roads like those around Stamford, where you can practise judging the right speed to drive at and identifying hazards.
Queensgate Roundabout: No road system strikes fear into the hearts of learners quite like the multiple lanes of Queensgate Roundabout! And yes, it’s likely to come up on your driving test. Familiarity is key, so head here for some practice and you’ll be nailing it in no time.
Choosing your test centre
When the time is right, your instructor will help you to pick a driving test centre. There’s only one in Peterborough, but there are a few others in the surrounding areas. Luckily for you, every test centre nearby has a pass rate that’s well above the 45.8% national average.
Once you’ve made your choice, your instructor will introduce you to the routes that could come up on the big day.
Test centre pass rates
DVSA practical car test pass rates, 2018-2019.
Peterborough | Pass rate: 46.5%
Peterborough Test Centre is located in a quiet industrial area off Fengate. Just a stone’s throw from the A1139, dual carriageway driving is very likely to feature in a test from this centre.
Address: Second Drove, Fengate, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, PE1 5XA
Grantham (Somerby) | Pass rate: 48.3%
You’ll find Grantham Test Centre on the busy A52. If you’re asked to turn right on leaving the centre, you’ll quickly end up on a roundabout. But don’t worry, it’s single laned and as straightforward as roundabouts get!
Address: Spitalgate Airfield, Blue Harbour, Grantham, Lincolnshire, NG31 7TX
Kettering | Pass rate: 52%
Situated in a peaceful industrial area on the outskirts of Kettering, this test centre has an unusually high pass rate. However, you’ll want to get some practice driving on the A14, which is just around the corner from the test centre.
Address: Orion Way, Kettering Business Park, Kettering, Northamptonshire, NN15 6NL
Enter your postcode on the DVSA site to find more test centres near you.
Test tips from Peterborough instructors
1. Perfect your lane placement on roundabouts
We’ve said it once but we’ll say it again. Queensgate Roundabout is a tricky one! So, if you’re taking your test at Peterborough Test Centre, make sure that you’re confident with your lane placement on multi-lane roundabouts.
2. Don’t ignore the road signs!
There are a few one-way streets in Peterborough that tend to trip learners up. Make sure that you pay attention to road markings and signs so that you don’t get caught out!
3. Prepare for dual carriageways
You’re unlikely to avoid dual carriageway driving if you take your driving test in Peterborough. The A15, the A47 and the A1139 are all nearby and at the national speed limit. Take some time to perfect using slip roads and switching lanes before the day of your test.
4. Judge your speed on country roads
There are many winding roads at the national speed limit surrounding Peterborough. Make sure that you get some practice driving on these in various weather conditions so that you’re comfortable judging the best speed to drive at on test day.
Where can you have lessons in Peterborough?
No matter where you are in Peterborough, instructors have got you covered. The top areas include:
Bretton, Chesterton, Dogsthorpe, Fletton, Longthorpe, Orton, Stanground, Walton, Werrington and Whittlesey.
Enter your postcode to check lesson pricing in your local area of Peterborough.