Learning to drive opens up a world of opportunity and freedom to explore.
However, for many, the thought of calling up a driving instructor and booking that very first lesson can seem overwhelming.
Coupled with anxieties of putting the pedal to the metal, learning to drive is renowned as being an expensive venture. But how much does the whole process really cost, and what can you do to cut the price tag?
The price of driving lessons completely depends on the area you live in the UK, and the level of experience that your chosen driving instructor has. On average, most driving lessons are between £22-£30 per hour, but it can be a good idea to read the reviews of the driving instructor to make sure that you know you’re getting your money’s worth.
Many instructors also provide blocks of lessons at a discounted price. However, you should be careful when committing so far in advance and make sure that the instructor is right for you.
We spoke to David Walkley of Chicane School of Motoring, which covers Beckenham, Bromley and surrounding areas of South East London. He told us that he charges £28.00 per hour lesson or £270.00 per pre-paid block of ten lessons. This price is average for the UK; however, it should be noted that prices will usually be higher in London compared to the rest of the country.
On average, most learners spend between 40 and 50 hours of driving before they pass their practical test. Even if you calculate these figures at the lowest end, that is already £880!
David talked us through the optimum amount of driving you should be doing per week when you’re learning:
“The optimum length for each lesson really does depend on the individual, as we all learn and focus differently. In general, we find 1.5 hours seems to be most effective. This is long enough for the individual to take in what they’re learning and to practise it. For many, one hour finishes too quickly and two hours can be too long to maintain concentration.
In terms of driving per week, we recommend one driving lesson per week, plus one or two hours’ private practice if you have access to a vehicle and someone to supervise you.”
On top of lessons, there are few hidden costs along the way. A provisional licence is mandatory when learning to drive and undertaking your theory test. This will cost either £34 if you apply online or £43 if you send off your application in the post. To do this, you’ll need to provide an identity document, an address from the last three years and a National Insurance Number.
You can take a theory test at any point once you’ve got your provisional licence, even before you have your first practical lesson (although this isn’t recommended). Your theory test costs £23, but keep in mind that you will often have to pay for materials to help you revise.Find out the common mistakes when taking your theory test and how to avoid them.
The practical test also comes with a hefty price tag. The test is usually £62, but can be increased to £75 on evenings, weekends and bank holidays.
It’s not all doom and gloom. There are many ways that you can keep the costs down and be careful with your money when learning to drive. For example, if you’re able to get insured on a family member or friend’s car, you can practice driving and therefore may require less driving lessons.
When it comes to paying for your theory, there are lots of free online resources to help you out such as the Highway Code which can be found online entirely for free. There are also lots of free practice theory tests, including hazard perception.
Depending on the company, intensive driving courses can work out as cheaper than conventional lessons per hour, but they also require you to pay all the money up front. While the theory and practical test costs are also usually included in the price, keep in mind that there is no guarantee that you will pass first time. For more information, have a look at our intensive driving course guide.
In a word, no. They’re not essential, and if you’re on a budget, you can get by without any additional lessons. Advanced driving lessons are meant for drivers who wish to brush up and refine their driving skills or gain more confidence on the road. They’re usually a similar price to a conventional lesson. If you feel like you need to extra guidance, speak to your instructor about the advanced lessons that they offer.
Remember, even when you have a provisional driving licence, you must have valid car insurance. One option is to be added onto a family member's or friend's policy.
David told us the benefits of being added to your family or friend’s insurance policy: “It does help to practice driving in between your driving lessons. This can help you to consolidate what you’ve been learning in your lessons and may help you to reach test standard more quickly. However, beware of picking up bad habits from your parents/guardian, who may have been driving for a number of years already!
"Always heed the advice and guidance of your driving instructor, as they know what is needed to get you through the driving test and for your future lifetime of safe driving.”
With Veygo by Admiral's Learner Driver Insurance, you have the option of being covered from two hours to 90 days. It's a cost-effective way to be covered while you're learning to drive in mum or dad's car and it won't affect their No Claims Bonus if you need to make a claim.