The UK Credit School of Driving: 7 ways of keeping costs down when you’re learning to drive
Learning to drive, are we? Good work – as you’ll undoubtedly know already, getting your automotive wings and that much-coveted licence upgrade from green to pink will open up the world. The roads of the UK will be your oyster! As a word of warning, however, you’ll also find that booking driving lessons, buying study material, paying for licence applications, and taking driving tests costs serious money.
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Today, it can easily cost you upwards of £1,300 before you’ll get your driving licence in your hand if you pass first-time – expect to pay even more if, like many, you find you have to retake your test once or twice. With the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency estimating that the average learner driver will need 45-hours of lessons to pass their test, the lion’s share of your learning to drive expenses will be paid into your driving instructor’s pocket.
It is unavoidable, therefore, that you’ll have to cough-up an unwelcome sum of money to get on the road. On the flip-side, the good news is that there are ways and means of keeping the costs down, so long as you show a little savvy.
Here are a few ways of minimising the financial sting that comes with learning to drive.
Choose a great instructor
There are many, many driving instructors out there and as with anything else, some are great, some not bad, and some not so great. This is why it’s good to find an instructor who comes recommended – why not ask friends, family or colleagues if they know anyone?
This aside, there are certain measures you can take to help ensure that you are getting into the car with a great driving instructor. For starters, look for a driving instructor who is approved by and registered with the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency – it’s certainly a good sign if someone comes accredited.
Also, comparing prices of instructors in your area can be a good way of keeping costs down too. That said, don’t rely on price alone before picking your instructor. Upon getting in a car for a lesson, listen to your gut – your instructor should be someone you trust, and feel both safe and confident with. Don’t forget to ask them if they intend to raise prices later on, however.
Book 2-hour lessons
Driving lessons are more often than not an hour long, but depending on your persona and style of learning this might not work for you. For some of us we’re just getting warmed up after an hour behind the wheel, after which, bang – time’s up.
If you’re something of a momentum learner, somebody who learns best through continually doing something over protracted periods of time, it might be better to instead book two-hour lessons. By doing this you might find that you learn better, and gain driving competence far faster.
Don’t pay through the nose for expensive study aids
It’s often said by salesmen and advertisers of official DVSA that you’ll significantly boost your chances of passing both your theory and practical driving tests by buying the newest edition official study aids… at great cost.
The official material might well have the edge over unofficial products, granted, but not by much, and it certainly doesn’t justify the additional cost if you’re on a budget. Instead, just borrow study material which is a year or two within date from a friend or family member, or buy it second-hand online for next to nothing.
Get friends and family to help you practice on the road
Your once or twice weekly driving lessons will be handy, as will a bit of online practice. However there’s no beating the benefits that come with taking regular trips out on the road, not to mention the confidence that this will bring.
This is why getting practice behind the wheel with a trusted friend or family member is recommended. What’s also recommended though is that you have a little driving experience behind you first, and that the person taking you out is an experienced, seasoned driver. Don’t forget to make sure you’re insured to drive their car before you go!
Do driving lessons intensively
As we discussed earlier, everyone has their own style of learning. For some of us, an hour lesson at a time is enough – it works. For others who learn better by doing things continuously over intensive periods of time, the odd hour lesson a couple of times a week will likely be an ineffective means of learning to drive.
This is why an intensive driving course might be for you, if you are among the latter. An intensive course, which is designed to help you learn to drive within a week or two, will have you behind the wheel of a car between 4-6 hours a day.
It is recommended by experts that if you opt for an intensive driving course, that you first complete the theory test and also get a few hours of driving lessons under your belt first – this is so that you don’t lose valuable time getting to grips with the basics of finding your way around the car.
Show flexibility when booking your driving lessons
In case you didn’t know, practical driving tests are a little cheaper to book on weekdays than during the weekend. Every little helps, however, and it will save you a few pennies if you can book the morning off work to take the test.
On a side note, if your practical or theory is fast approaching and you don’t feel ready for it, you can postpone at no extra cost so long as you give 3-working days’ notice.
Book lessons in advance for a discount
Many driving instructors will be willing to offer great discounts on driving lessons if you book in advance and book blocks of over several driving lessons at a time. If you have the cash upfront to do this, you could save quite a lot of money in the long-run.
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