Learning to drive can be a stressful, time-consuming and financially draining experience. And it can seem daunting and overwhelming to learners.
But most of us need to drive. So we’ve put together a handy list of useful tips that will help you pass your driving test as quickly and cheaply as possible
It pays to know the basics before your first lesson. The chances are that someone close to you owns a car, so get them to show you the key parts before your first lesson. Knowing your way around a vehicle beforehand might make it easier when your instructor comes to explain to you how to drive a car.
Although people are encouraged to at least try to learn to drive in a manual car, it is not for everybody. Many people now opt to learn to drive in an automatic cars which can be more convenient and even more fuel efficient than manual cars.
But just be aware that if you get an automatic driving license, you will not be permitted to drive a manual car.
No minimum number of lessons are required to pass your test and there is no fixed time frame for learning to drive. Most people spread their driving lessons out over several months but you can also take an intensive driving course if your budget allows.
If you decide to spread out your lessons, we suggest block booking them with at least one or two lessons per week for weeks in advance. This way you’ll remember more going into each lesson and you won’t have to worry about the availability of your instructor. Some instructors may also offer a discount for block booking.
Choosing the right instructor is crucial to how quickly you learn. Don’t just go with the first instructor you find. Ring around the big driving schools and local approved driving instructors and question them on their prices, qualifications, experience and track record. Word of mouth from people you trust is usually a good way of choosing an instructor.
But, if you’re really not happy with your instructor, don’t be afraid to switch. It could save you time and money in the long run.
Professional driving instructors know exactly what examiners look for during a practical driving test. Therefore, their advice and methods on aspects such as mirror checks and speed are invaluable. Even though their advice will likely be different to what you have observed as a passenger from other drivers.
Buying a used car to practise in between lessons can help you learn and pass your driving test quicker. But it’s important to note that, until you pass your driving test, you must be accompanied by someone over 21 who has had a full driving licence for at least three years. Additionally, it’s crucial you practise in exactly the same way as taught by your instructor to avoid picking up bad habits.
Learner drivers are unable to take their practical driving test until they have passed their driving theory test. Your instructor should give you some theory learning resources once you understand the basics of driving. But there are plenty of great additional materials you can access whenever you like online, including a practice theory test based on the real thing.
It won’t hurt to learn the theory from the start in your own time. It can only benefit your road knowledge and chances of passing.
Mistakes are inevitable but you shouldn’t dwell on them. Whether it be stalling the vehicle under pressure or getting a manoeuvre wrong, it is important to remain calm in these situations and not to worry about what other drivers think. Just like you, they have been in exactly the same situation and should fully empathise.
Some mistakes will also go unpunished on driving tests providing you rectify them and react in a safe and proper way. Practise responding in a calm way.
Don’t beat yourself up if you fail once or even multiple times. Take any feedback on board so you won’t make the same mistake next time.
Also book your next test right away. Leaving it too long between tests may result in you forgetting certain things and end up costing you more money on further lessons and tests.
When you pass your test, the learning continues. You’ll face new situations all the time, such as motorways, city centre driving and tight parking. Therefore, it’s important you do not dismiss all you have learnt and that you approach each new situation with the same careful thinking and execution taught by your instructor.
Whilst passing your test and driving for the first time can be an eagerly awaited moment for most – it can often result in the want to fast track your time as a learner driver.
Some opt for intense driving courses over driving lessons for this very reason. However, there is a reason why learning to drive takes time and practice.
It's often not as simple as jumping in a car, driving for a few days and passing a test. Driving lessons provide you with the structure and discipline needed to remain safe on the roads. They allow you to build the skills required to deal with a range of scenarios you’ll encounter whilst driving.
Intense driving courses offer a full week or two of lessons followed by the test – teaching learners in a shorter time frame and requiring the need to take holiday from work. However, they are not for everyone. You should consider your own circumstances. Ask yourself:
Driving a car is all about practice. Learning to drive quickly with a crash course might get you your licence sooner, but it will not offer you the same skill set and experience than ongoing lessons would.
Ongoing driving lessons are bespoke to your abilities as a driver. There is no pressure to be the perfect driver within one or two weeks of an impending test. You can learn at your own pace and digest more knowledge along the way.
Learning to drive can be easier than you think. Hopefully these tips will help you get started.
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