Learning to drive

Becoming a competent driver can be a long, hard slog, but the results (and the cost) are well worth it. Here’s how to get on the road to freedom.

learning to drive

Did you see that stop sign?

Although it’s not compulsory, the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) recommend that you take lessons with an ADI (approved driving instructor). A family member can teach you, but it’s wise to combine this with tuition from an instructor to increase pass success.

How do I find an instructor?

Approved driving schools can be found using local directories or the DSA website. Large and well-known schools have instructors across the country and there will certainly be one in your area.

How much do lessons cost?

Many schools offer the first lesson for £10, however the average cost of lessons after that is between £20–30 per session (usually an hour) for a reliable driving school or independent instructor.

How many hours would I need?

It depends on how quickly you take to driving. Everybody learns to drive at their own pace, so no one can say how many lessons you’ll need. A good driving instructor will monitor your progress at every lesson and should give you honest advice on how ready you are for the practical test.

What car choices do I have?

The majority of people learn to drive in a manual car. However, it’s possible to take lessons in an automatic car, which is usually easier to drive. The major difference is a manual car has gears and three foot pedals, including the clutch that is operated with the left foot. An automatic car has an automatic gearbox that changes the gears for you and only two foot pedals that are operated with the right foot. It’s totally up to you what type of car you choose, but you must be aware that if you pass the practical driving test in an automatic car you will not be licensed to drive a manual. If you pass in a manual you can drive both legally.

Learning to drive with a disability

There are medical standards set for all drivers – you must answer questions on the form when you apply for a provisional licence and you may have to undergo a medical examination. You might need to think about whether you need an adapted car and lessons from a specially trained instructor. When it comes to the test, if you let the Driving Standards Agency know of any special requirements you have it will try to accommodate them.

Photo of boy learning to drive by Shutterstock

Next Steps

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By Sarah Willoughby

Updated on 29-Sep-2015