Your guide to learning to drive in Southampton
How to choose a driving school in Southampton
You should have an instructor who:
- Boosts your confidence
- Makes it enjoyable to learn
Won’t charge a fortune!
Which is why we recommend doing these 4 things:
1. Compare reviews
It’s really handy to see what other learners thought about Southampton’s driving schools. Reviews.io and Trustpilot are recommended for trustworthy reviews.
2. Beware of terms and conditions
Some schools in Southampton need you to take all your lessons within 6 months. If you want more time to complete your lessons, be sure to check the expiry dates at your driving school.
3. Check that you can switch instructors
You’ll want a good relationship with your instructor to get the best learning experience. For this reason, you might want to swap instructors if any problems come up. Not all driving schools in Southampton are clear about if and how you can switch instructors, so it’s worth looking into a school’s switching policies before you pay any money.
4. Avoid long waiting times
You’ll want to know what the waiting times are before booking so that you have all you need to make a decision. There are driving schools in Southampton that could have you waiting over 30 days for a lesson. Unless you’re okay with waiting that long, have a look at the school’s waiting times before you book lessons.
Choosing between manual and automatic
Consider whether you want manual or automatic driving lessons before booking your first driving lesson.
Automatic cars are simpler to learn in as they don’t have a clutch pedal, just one for braking and one for accelerating.
An automatic car is easier to drive in heavy traffic. Southampton was tied 4th for the UK’s worst cities outside London for traffic jams, according to Sky. So you might prefer an automatic car here. However, automatic cars cost more than manual cars, not only to buy but to maintain as well. Manuals also give you a better feeling of control over your car.
Finally, remember that an automatic licence only lets you drive automatic cars, whereas a manual licence lets you drive both manuals and automatics.
So it’s your call as to which one sounds better to you.
Driving lesson prices in Southampton
Driving lesson prices vary depending on where in Southampton you’re based, but here’s an idea of what you can expect:
- 1 hour: £32
- 5 hours: £162
- 10 hours: £310
- 20 hours: £610
- 30 hours: £910
Choosing your test centre
Your instructor will help you practise the routes that are likely to come up in your driving test. Here are the ones that are closest to you.
Test centre pass rates
DVSA practical car test pass rates, 2018-2019.
Forest Hills Test Centre | Pass rate: 39.2%
Forest HIlls Test Centre has a pass rate below the UK national average. You might encounter roads like St Deny’s Road, which has an adjacent cycle lane, so check your mirrors regularly for cyclists.
Address: Forest Hills Drive, Southampton SO18 2FY
Maybush Test Centre | Pass rate: 40.6%
Maybush Test Centre will give you a handful of zebra crossings and bus stops on the wider roads like Highfield Lane. You’ll find the centre on Green Lane.
Address: Green Lane, Maybush, Southampton SO16 9FP
Check out the DVSA page to find your nearest Driving Test Centre.
Test tips from Southampton instructors
1. Keep good passing distances
The test routes at Forest Hills Test Centre involve a handful of roads with lots of parked cars on either side like Harefield Road, Harrison Road and Honeysuckle Road. Keep good passing distances and look out for any crossing pedestrians obscured by the cars.
2. Watch out for buses
If you choose Forest Hill Test Centre, you’ll likely drive on the A35 which is a busy bus route. If you come across any buses, make sure to keep a safe distance and only overtake if it is safe.
3. Take a driving lesson
It’s helpful to take a final lesson before your practical test. You can practise around your chosen test centre or go over some last-minute manoeuvres. You’ll get used to the day’s conditions and hopefully get a confidence boost on top of that.
Where we can take lessons in Southampton
Instructors have all of Southampton covered! These are a few of the popular areas:
Chilworth, Eastleigh, Freemantle, Hillyfields, Maybush, Millbrook, Nursling, Portswood, Shirley and Thornhill.
Enter your postcode to see your area’s lesson pricing.