It’s no secret that learning to drive is expensive, but how much does it really cost to get a licence?
We have delved into the cost of learning to drive and found that learners spend £1,676 before they can legally get behind the wheel! Breaking this down, that’s £34 for a provisional driving licence, £23 for a theory test, £75 for a practical test and £1,544 for 12 months’ insurance. Find out below which regions are the cheapest and most expensive for learners:
And these are just the immediate compulsory costs, as successful learners may also need to consider the cost of buying or leasing a vehicle if they don’t already have access to a car, fuel costs, breakdown cover, MOT and tax!
With all this expense, it can put some people off learning to drive - but it shouldn’t have to. Our research found that those age 17 or under are most likely to pass their driving test first time, with 56% of men and 53% of women passing on their first attempt, so there’s no reason to put off learning to drive. If you’re thinking about getting behind the wheel but need to cut costs, then don’t worry. We’ve collated our five top tips to learn to drive on a budget:
1. Buy lessons in bulk
If you’re serious about learning to drive, the best thing you can do is buy your lessons in bulk, rather than on a lesson-by-lesson basis. Most driving schools and instructors will offer a discount when you buy a block of lessons, rather than just one or two, so doing this will reduce the overall cost of your lessons.
We’d recommend buying between 5-10 lessons in bulk first, to see if you like the instructor and feel confident and comfortable with them. If so, then buy another block, or try another instructor until you’re 100% happy. According to the Driving Standards Agency, the average driver in the UK needs 47 hours of lessons to pass, so take this into account when booking your blocks.
2. Shop around for the best deals
One of the best ways to save money on your driving lessons is to shop around first. The cost of driving lessons varies from business to business and where you are choosing to learn. So research the cost of lessons from driving instructors or schools before booking to make sure you’re getting a good deal. Driving schools often offer reduced rates for introductory lessons too, so try to seek these out.
3. Get a grip on your theory
You can’t take your practical test without passing your theory, so start learning for your theory test as soon as, or even just before, you begin your driving lessons.
The more you can practice your theory test, the higher chance of you passing it first time, meaning you won’t need to pay for extra lessons or multiple tests. Books and apps are the best way to prepare for your theory test, so if a friend or family member has a driving theory book, ask to borrow it so you don’t need to buy one new. There are also a number of free apps you can install on your phone that will help you learn everything you need. We recommend the Driving Theory Test 4 in 1 Kit (Free) to get you started.
Once you feel comfortable, take a free online theory test to help you feel more confident with what’s expected of you during the test, and help you to pass first time.
4. Only book your test once you’re 100% confident
It may sound easier said than done, but passing your driving test first-time means you don’t need to spend money on retaking it or on the extra lessons - saving you serious cash.
To make sure you pass the first time around, the best advice is to only book your test when you’re 100% ready and confident. It can feel like a rush to rip off your L-plates, but waiting a few more weeks until you’re ready can save you money, disappointment and ensure you’re safe and confident when on the roads.
Practising is the best way to make sure you’re ready to pass your test, but another way to do so is to book two-hour lessons before your practical test. Two-hour lessons give you more time with your instructor to practice your driving skills and manoeuvres, and you’ll probably find that you improve a lot faster than during an hour-long lesson.
5. Get behind the wheel with friends and family
A great way of practising your skills and preparing for your test is by getting out with a friend or family member to practice your driving and manoeuvres, alongside your lessons with an instructor. As you near your test and have more confidence on the roads, you may even find you don’t need as many lessons with an instructor, and can get out with your friend or family member more, which will save you a lot of money.
Some people choose to forgo a driving instructor and learn only with a friend or family member, and while this definitely would cut costs, it’s important to have lessons with a qualified instructor as they will teach you not only how to drive, but how to pass your test, minimising the chance of you failing and having to spend money rebooking it. An instructor is the best way to ensure you pass your test first-time and become a safe and confident driver.
If you are driving with friends or family, it’s important to make sure you’re insured to drive the car, so make sure this is all sorted before you get behind the wheel.
We hope these five tips will help you learn to drive safely, and cheaply!