The essential guide to learning to drive in Portsmouth
How to choose a driving school in Portsmouth
Everyone deserves an instructor who:
- Builds their confidence
- Makes learning fun
- Doesn’t cost the earth!
That’s why you should do these 4 things:
1. Compare reviews
Most schools in Portsmouth only display their top reviews online. Explore independent review sites like Trustpilot to find out what learners have been really saying.
2. Be aware of terms and conditions
Plenty of schools have attractive introductory offers, like 10 hours for £280. But these are often offered as beginner packages, meaning they’re only available to people with no previous experience of driving.
3. Check that you can switch instructors
At some point in your journey, you might need to switch instructors. Perhaps you haven’t clicked with your instructor, or maybe you’re moving to a new location which your instructor can’t cover. Either way, make sure to choose a school in Portsmouth that lets you switch instructors hassle-free.
4. Avoid long waiting times
Most schools in Portsmouth encourage you to ring up and inquire about availability before you book driving lessons. Make sure to check the availability of multiple schools so you aren’t waiting unnecessarily long before you’re on the road learning.
Choosing between manual and automatic
There’s a choice to made between manual and automatic driving lessons in Portsmouth.
Some people prefer the ease of driving an automatic because there’s slightly less to remember compared to driving a manual car.
If you’re going to be driving through Portsmouth city centre during rush hour then an automatic might also be more comfortable. This transmission changes gears for you, so you won’t have to press and release the clutch every few metres in stop-start traffic.
On the other hand, choosing an automatic means that once you qualify, you’ll only be able to drive automatic cars, whereas choosing a manual will qualify you to drive either. On top of this, automatic cars and lessons are generally more expensive when compared to manual ones.
There are pros and cons to both transmissions, so take your time deciding between the two!
Choosing a driving test centre
When you’ve picked your driving test centre, your instructor will help you learn the routes likely to come up in your test.
Test centre pass rates
DVSA practical car test pass rates, 2018-2019.
Chichester Test Cemtre | Pass rate: 51.8%
Chichester Test Centre has a good pass rate. Your test will take place on mainly residential roads. Keep an eye out for pedestrians, especially on the roads around the university.
Address: Wyman House, Shopwhyke Road, Chichester, West Sussex PO20 2AA
Lee-on-the-Solent Test Centre | Pass rate: 56.3%
Lee-on-the-Solent Test Centre has a fantastic pass rate, well above the national average. Your test will mainly take place along residential roads.
Address: The Richard Sainsbury Building, Daedalus Argus Gate Daedalus Drive, Lee on the Solent, Hampshire PO13 9JY
Newport (Isle Of Wight) Test Centre | Pass rate: 52.6%
Newport Test Centre has a solid pass rate, above the national average. However, you’ll need to stay alert, as there are plenty of unmarked roads and walkers about, particularly on the snaking Dodnor Lane.
Address: Innovation Centre, St Cross Business Park, Newport, Isle of Wight PO30 5WB
Portsmouth Test Centre | Pass rate: 44.4%
Portsmouth Test Centre is right by James Callaghan Drive, a long narrow road featuring a couple of mini roundabouts. Don’t get distracted by the scenic view of Port Solent!
Address: Opposite Fort Southwick, James Callaghan Drive, Portsmouth, Hampshire PO17 6AR
Find your nearest test centre through the DVSA.
Test tips from Portsmouth instructors
1. Take a driving lesson beforehand
It’s always handy to take a driving lesson before your test, to go over any roads you’re unsure of, or squeeze in some last-minute manoeuvre practice. Plus, you’ll get yourself adjusted to the day’s driving conditions.
2. Take care on country roads
If you’re taking your test at Newport Test Centre, on the Isle of Wight, you’ll come across a lot of narrow, winding country roads. Drive defensively, keeping an eye out for blind bends and hidden dips and rises.
3. Be ready for roundabouts
If you’re taking your test at the Portsmouth test centre, be ready for roundabouts, as there are plenty studded along the A27. Control your speed on approach, and remember to signal, as it’s easy to forget during the pressure of the test.
4. Prepare for A roads
There’s a string of A roads linking Portsmouth to Chichester, which will likely come up in your test (unless you’re taking it in Newport). Remember to use the right-hand lane to overtake slow-moving vehicles, or your instructor will penalise you for hesitation.
Where can you have driving lessons in Portsmouth?
The top areas include:
Buckland, Cosham, Drayton, Fareham, Hilsea, Landport, Milton, Portsea, Southsea, Waterlooville.
Enter your postcode above to check lesson pricing in Portsmouth.