The DVSA recommends around 45 hours of professional driving lessons and a further 22 hours of private practice to learn to drive. But how many driving lessons you need is influenced by many factors. In particular, how quickly you learn, your level of confidence, commitment to driving lessons and when you feel ready to book your test.
Apply for a provisional licence
Before you can think about taking driving lessons, you’ll need a provisional licence. You can apply for a provisional licence at 15 years and 9 months old, although you won’t be able to learn to drive a car until you turn 17. But at least getting your provisional licence early, means you can book lessons as soon as you’re legally old enough to do so.
The quickest and easiest way is to apply online. Your provisional licence should arrive within one week, although may take longer if the DVSA need to make further checks. Postal applications will also take longer.
Starting your driving lessons
Driving can open so many opportunities for young adults and can make life a lot easier. From new job opportunities to seeing new places, visiting family or socialising with friends. Driving gives you the freedom to do what you want when you want, without having to rely on public transport or lifts from friends or family.
There are many factors that determine how many driving lessons you need. For instance, how quickly you learn, your age, the quality of tuition and your commitment and attitude towards driving. Because of this, there is no minimum number of driving lessons required. Everyone learns at a different rate.
Your professional driving instructor
Choosing the right driving instructor is an important part of the learning process. A good driving instructor should be someone you trust and feel comfortable around. They should be a good motivator who knows how to get the best out of you.
On top of that, your driving instructor should be a good judge of your ability and will know roughly how many driving lessons you need.
Time between lessons
When learning to drive, it’s important you practice at a pace you feel comfortable with. The DVSA recommends around 45 hours of professional driving lessons.
Where time allows and if you can afford it, regular driving lessons can help you retain the instructor’s information better. Also, the skills you’ve learned will be fresh in your mind. It gets you in the habit of driving regularly, so that it starts to become second nature.
If you’re able to commit to three to four hours of professional driving lessons a week, you should be able to reach the test standard in around three to four months.
If you’re only practicing once a week, it can be easy to forget the things you’ve been taught. It will also take a lot longer before you’re ready for your practical test. If you only have a single one-hour lesson per week, it will take 45 weeks before you’re ready for your test. That’s nearly a year!
Intensive driving course
An intensive driving course or ‘crash course’ could help you pass your driving test safely and quickly in under 2 weeks.
With an intensive driving course, you are still committing to a similar number of lessons, but over a shorter period. By taking driving lessons every day, the learning process is quicker. Also, the skills you learn will be fresh in your mind and this can help you become a more confident driver.
To start an intensive driving course, you must hold a valid UK provisional driving licence and depending on the course, you may need to have passed the theory test beforehand.
Professional driving lessons can be expensive and depending on your instructor’s schedule it may be difficult to arrange appointments.
As well as professional driving lessons, the DVSA recommends a further 22 hours of private practice to reach test standard. Private practice between lessons is a great way to further develop the skills you’ve learnt from your instructor. It can also help save money on professional lessons. Furthermore, it gives you the flexibility to drive when you want and can help you feel more confident about booking your test.
Our provisional insurance enables you to get extra private practice behind the wheel. This will help you develop your driving skills and you’ll gain valuable on-road experience.
Driving test waiting times
Learner drivers may have to wait up to 18 weeks for a practical driving test due to the backlog caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
It’s important to book your test with plenty of time in advance to avoid long waiting times. You can book a test online up to 24 weeks in advance. Once you’ve booked your test, you can use the time between to fit as much practice in as possible.
Statistically younger drivers are more likely to pass their test quicker. Data from the DVSA found that learners that are 17 years and under have the highest pass rates at 64.3% for the first attempt and 66% for the second attempt. Whereas for a 30-year-old learner driver, the pass rate drops to 48.6% for the first attempt and 48.1% for the second attempt.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you should rush out to book your practical test, as failing could cost you time and money in the long run. Younger drivers are also more at risk of having an accident after they pass because they haven’t built up enough on-road experience. And while it may seem tempting to boast to your friends about how quickly you’ve passed, driving is unpredictable, and you never know what’s around the corner.
Failing your test
If you fail your practical driving test, you’ll need to wait 10 working days before you can retake it. This is not the end of the world and at least it will give you chance to practice on your weaknesses.
Whilst it’s easy to get carried away with excitement at the prospect of driving, rushing to book your driving test when you’re not ready can cost you further time and money. It can also be dangerous.
You may be able to get a licence within a few weeks, but it is important to look at the bigger picture. Passing your driving test is just the start. You are constantly learning when driving, even after you pass.