Thinking about learning to drive can feel like being stuck in a traffic jam, boxed in by rules and regulations, time constraints and unexpected costs. We’ve pulled together this handy checklist to help you understand what it takes to start learning to drive.
1. How much will it hurt my wallet?
The costs involved with learning to drive can soon stack up, but the good news is they’re predictable, so you can plan ahead and keep them under control.
If you aren’t panicking already, we’re about to hit you with a quick bad news, good news combo. Read the good news part, it’ll make it all feel better. We promise.
First the bad: According to 2017 figures announced by Money Supermarket, the total cost of learning is estimated to be an eye-watering £2,741 on average (sadly that doesn’t include buying a vehicle).
Now for the good news: It doesn’t have to cost that much. Read on, and the tips in this article will help you keep costs down by being prepared, and focusing on getting bargains on the things that really matter – driving lessons and insurance.
There are undoubtedly other costs, your provisional licence, L-plates, and your theory and practical tests, but the two main expenses are lessons and insurance. In fact, when combined, they account for over 90% of the total cost.
2. What to do about lessons?
People often brag about how few lessons they’ve had, but if you want to pass, who really cares?
The truth is you’ll probably need lessons (and find them useful), even if you’re confident behind the wheel, there are tricks of the trade that examiners expect and the best instructors will help you to master these techniques.
In 2017, the average learner spent £1,124* on lessons, to pass their test. Of course, depending on your confidence levels and experience this could be lower, and there are some great cheaper options. For instance, not to toot our own horn, but our approach has earned us the nation’s highest first-time pass rate, and our most expensive package is cheaper and less time consuming than the average.
Want to check out our prices?
3. Do I need Insurance?
The short answer is yes.
Supplementing your lessons with a bit of help from your friends and family is a great way to build momentum, so if you’re lucky enough to practice with your friends and family as well as with a qualified driving instructor, make sure you’re insured on their car.
It’s easy enough for them to add you as a named driver to their policy, and if you’re using multiple cars, or you’re not sure how much time you’ll have to practice, it’s worth checking out our new pay as you go service – it might just work out cheaper.
Learn more about PAYG Insurance here.
4. How much time should I set aside?
There’s no denying that learning to drive is a time commitment, but it’s one that’s worth it in the long run. You need to spend time on theory test revision, as well as your practical lessons and any other time you can get on the road with friends or family.
Whilst you can fit in practice and theory revision relatively easily around your lifestyle, you’ll need to book in instructor time. It’s useful to know that when it comes to structured lessons, on average people take 47 hours before passing, although if you do it our way we’d recommend no more than 30.
Check out our lesson packages.
Depending on your schedule they can be in an intense block, or more commonly (and what we’d recommend), spread out into multiple hourly sessions each week. It’s important not to leave too long between each lesson, to avoid the frustration of having to revisit techniques, rather than focusing on perfecting them. Building momentum is the key.
5. Do I have all the other logistical stuff worked out?
Of course, anything fun comes with a lot of admin…but lucky for you, we’ve narrowed down a lot of the boring stuff into a couple of key things to get right. Here’s the absolute minimum you’ll need to do, to keep you from delaying your progress:
The first is the legal stuff – licensing.
To drive in the UK you’ll need a provisional licence. In most cases you can apply for this three months before your 16th birthday, and be behind the wheel from when the clock strikes midnight on your 17th birthday.
Applying for your provisional licence online is the quickest and cheapest way of doing it.
If you have an overseas licence, it’s worth checking whether you even need a provisional licence, as in some cases it’s not necessary.
Some more legal reminders…
Don’t forget you also need to have good eyesight, or prescription glasses, and L-plates on both front and back before you can take to the road. These are legal requirements…so there’s no cutting corners here.
And finally, booking your tests.
You don’t have to have passed your theory to get started on your practical lessons, but it can help to have it out of the way pretty quickly. That means you need to work out when you can study for the theory (maybe using our great app), and book it as soon as you feel ready.
Once the theory is under your belt, and you’ve had a few lessons it will be tempting to think about the practical. Now is the time to talk to your instructor, and trust their instincts….plus you’ll probably need to use their car. Your instructor will help you know when you are ready, and the time is right to take the test. If you decide to learn with us, we’ve already cherry-picked the best instructors based on customer feedback, so you know you can trust their judgment.
6. Is it the right time for me?
People of all ages and backgrounds are learning to drive, there’s no rules as to when to get started, except of course, legally you have to be over 17. Consider the costs and time commitment as it relates to your personal situation.
In order to truly make learning as easy (and cheap) as it can be, you need to be committed, and that means both money and time. Learning to drive isn’t an overnight job, it’s acquiring a life skill and it needs both patience and a real desire.
So if you think you’re ready, hit the website comparisons hard, pick your instructor, buckle up and get learning.
Good luck, and drive safely!
*based on national averages of 47 hours of lessons at £24 per lesson.