Learning to Drive? Here’s what you need to know
- Rebecca C
The past year has been a difficult and busy one for aspiring learner drivers. The Covid-19 pandemic caused huge shortages and backlogs for driving instructors, provisional licenses, theory and practical test booking.
For many new drivers, it has taken a year or more to complete their driving lessons and to pass their driving test. Before the pandemic, most learner drivers could complete their courses and tests within a few months. Waitlists for booking driving tests for many has been a minimum of 6 months.
Add on top of this the fact that driving tests changed in recent years with the addition of the sat nav section. This is an added step for new drivers to complete in order to gain a full driving licence.
So, let’s run through some steps for how to get yourself booked in, learning, and passing to get yourself out on the road!
Step 1: Get your provisional license.
Due to the backlog from lockdown, it has been taking a little longer to get your provisional license application approved and sent out. The sooner you get it before your lessons the better!
If you want to practice driving with someone such as a parent you will need a provisional license for this as well. You can apply for one via the government website.
Step 2: Research instructors in your local area.
This is the most important step, this is your first stepping stone on the path to becoming a new driver. It is essential that you have a browse around the providers within your local area. They will have to be an approved instructor.
Once you have done the initial research, compare their availability, their prices, and their reviews. Evaluate what is most important to you for your driving instructor. Do you want the cheapest option? Are you happy to pay a little more if it means they can book you in sooner and more frequently so that you can get your test done faster?
Step 3: Book your lessons and get practising and learning.
Once you have selected an instructor make sure you stay in good contact with them to get your lessons booked in frequently. It is great to be able to practice driving in between lessons with your instructor if you can.
Driving is very much a muscle memory type of skill, the more practice you can get the better, the things you have learnt will cement better.
Be aware that if you are practising with someone at home such as a parent they must be over 21 and have held a full driving licence for 3 years, and have an insured car. Note that you cannot practice on a motorway, you can only drive on a motorway on a provisional license with an instructor.
Get learning and revising for your theory test! There is no shame in getting ahead and learning the material for your theory test. Some people breeze through them whereas others may struggle with the information. There are loads of resources online where you can take practice tests so make use of them.
Step 4: Book your theory and practical tests.
Booking your theory and practical test is nice and easy, head to the government website, or book it over the phone, you may also be able to book it through your instructor. You need to have passed your theory test before you can take your practical.
You can book your practical driving test up to 18 weeks before you take it. A theory test currently costs £23, with the practical costing £62.
Passed your theory test? Congrats. It’s valid for two years from the date you’ve passed before expiring, so you’ll need to pass your driving test before then.
If you let the test expire before passing your practical, you’ll need to retake it.
There are no limits on how many times you can take your theory or practical driving tests, so don’t worry too much if you don’t pass the first time. However, you will have to pay for each test you take. Make sure you practice before taking either of the tests to give yourself the best chance of passing.
Step 5: Pass your tests and get out (safely) on the road!
This is the best part! Once you have passed the tests and got your full driving licence you can look to buy your first car, or get insured on a parents/another car.
It is best to try and keep your first few journeys short and sweet to give yourself good practice after passing.
Stay safe and enjoy your new travelling freedom!
At AutoCoinCars we have a great range of budget cars that are perfect for first-time buyers.