Cheap Driving Lessons – Not Always What They Seem…

In this article, Driving School Dave explains how cheap driving lessons may not always be as good as they look, while looking at the tell-tale signs that something may not be quite right.

I am always hearing from driving instructors “all pupils want are cheap driving lessons.” Is this true, or do they really want value driving lessons? Are the two the same?  In this article I will answer these questions, as well as showing you how you can save real money on driving lessons.

cheap driving lessons

The 10 hrs for £99 cheap driving lessons deal.

Lets look at this deal. This was a common cheap driving lessons deal doing the rounds a while ago.

Image for cheap driving lessonsInitially this looks like £9.90 per driving lesson but what are the actual terms of the offer?

  • You must have had less than 5 hours of previous driving lessons or tuition
  • You must not have had driving lessons with the same company before
  • You must not have a driving test already booked
  • You cannot use them for refresher lessons

So, anyone thinking a quick few lessons to take them for the driving test are immediately excluded. This offer was designed to get brand new learners into the driving seat. These are learners that would probably need another 20 plus hours of tuition after this offer expired. So to be of any real value to the learner, they would need to know what the lesson price was after. You would also need to be assured that those additional more expensive hours would not be dragged out longer than needed.

If additional hours were £27 an hour and you needed another 35 hours to pass the test then the true cost per hour would be £23.20, so maybe not too bad a deal for the pupil. But these deals usually came with another clause. In one offer, you might get 6 hours of tuition straight away from your initial 10 hours, and the remaining 4 hours are held back for the driving test and lessons before. Still the same ‘cheap driving lessons deal,’ but what if you really didn’t like the driving instructor or something changed that meant you needed to change lesson time? You would probably never see those remaining 4 hours.

This deal was designed to put ‘bums on seats’ and keep them glued there whether you wanted to or not. It caused many an unhappy customer who would want those four hours refunded for some reason or another.

Deal summary:

  • Deal: 10 hours for £180
  • Average lesson price: £23.20
  • 4 hours are held back for the week of your test – you may never see these hours again!!

Let’s take a look at another deal…

The 10 hours for £180 cheap driving lessons deal

This is a offer that was being run by a driving school in Manchester, and like the previous offer has a few terms and conditions.

  • You must be a new learner
  • Lessons are taken as 2 hour lessons
  • You must not have a driving test booked.

Again, an offer designed to put you behind the wheel of the car and you’ll notice that with this deal you are able to take all lessons in one go, rather than holding hours back for your test. On the face of it, this is a much better deal. Let’s look at the pricing in more detail using figures estimated by the Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) about how many of these cheap driving lessons you will need to pass the driving test.

If you took an additional 35 hours at £26 per hour, then the average cost of 45 hours would be £24.22. Additional savings of a further £2 an hour could be made by booking the additional 35 hours in blocks of 10 hours. There is a lot more flexibility in this deal, and the only stipulation is that any hour taken from the block would be taken as the normal £26 hourly rate and the remaining paid back to you.


  • Deal: 10 hours for £180
  • Average lesson price: £24.22

So that’s a much better deal than the first. But what deals are we currently running?

The first 2 hours for £30 cheap driving lesson deal

This type of deal has been going around for a long time and is the one that we currently use. you can see that initially, your first 2 hours would be just £15 an hour. The only stipulation is that the 2 hours must be taken as one lesson. This cheap driving lessons offer is normally open to anybody and not just new learners.

driving lessons deal

With our signature first two hours for £30 offer*, you can find out for a relatively small cost what the car and driving instructor are like before committing to further driving lessons. It is a fair deal, designed to give both the pupil and the driving instructor a chance to assess each other. It’s a short term deal too, so your peace of mind is assured. View our latest full pricing structure here.Picture of cheap driving lessons

So let’s look at the long term viability of this deal with the normal driving lesson rate after the offer and assuming the DVSA average lessons needed to pass the driving test.

An additional 35 hours at our Plymouth and Cornwall rate* at £26 an hour would mean you end up paying an average driving lesson rate of £25.40, slightly higher than the previous offers but is that added peace of mind worth it? It’s also important to take into account discounts for block bookings. We’re currently running a 10 hour block of driving lessons for £240, bringing the average lesson price down to £23.78. Can you see the value?

I run this deal because I believe it is a great deal for driving instructors and pupils alike. It has integrity and is fair. Having an offer fair to the driving instructor is good for the pupil too, because they are happy and thus give better tuition. The 10 for £99 deal that was around for some years was not popular with the driving instructors as they felt it was too long a deal.


  • Deal: First 2 hours for £30
  • Average lesson price: £23.78
  • No strings attached. Flexible, cheap driving lesson deal.

Look at the deals. Which is the best?

The two offers, 10 for £180 and 2 for £30 are good deals for the pupil. Those that understand marketing will know the secret is to come up with an offer that is different from what other people are offering.

The trick for the company is to ensure that everyone gets a fair deal. When all is said and done, it’s down to the learner to get a feel for the car and the driving instructor to see if they are right for them. What is right for your friends is not always right for you.

As always, remember to do your research. If you’re unsure about anything, feel free to contact us via the usual channels – we’re here to help.

*prices correct as of April 2019

Driving Instructors Near Me

What you must know before choosing your driving school. (Get this wrong and it will cost you a fortune in driving lessons.)

driving lessons near me

We’ve all had to find a local service at some point in our lives, whether it’s a gardener, a hairdresser, a plumber or a driving instructor. Google is a very powerful tool for finding local businesses, and a quick search shows that there are literally hundreds of driving schools out there to choose from. But which one should you choose?

When searching for a driving instructor nearby, there are many factors to take into account. Many driving instructors offer lessons over a wider area and are prepared to travel, so closeness to your proximity might not always be the best option. Have a look at the driving school’s website – is this a company you can trust? Do they have good reviews? Do lots of people pass their driving test with them? Try to get a good feel for the school as to whether they have been around for a while etc.

Many driving schools offer an introductory deal – this is an excellent idea as you can get a feel for the driving instructor and school near you before commiting to a lot of money. Often, your instructor will assess you after your first lesson and recommend booking a block of lessons to help you eventually pass your test. We at 1st 4 Driving often run introductory deals and offers.

Many driving schools use a directory service to appear near the top of search results and these directories often have their own reviews, look though these reviews to see what the general perception is. It’s really important to do your research here, because at the end of the day it’s your money and your life! At 1st 4 Driving, we pride ourselves on our reviews and testimonials from pupils who have passed their driving test and want to share that experience with the rest of the world.

Look for other benefits of starting to learn with a particular company. 1st 4 Driving offers a satisfaction guarantee on all lessons. We’re so confident that you’ll love us that we will give you your money back if you don’t.

What Next?

image for driving instructor near me

Ask your friends, they may be have a glowing recommendation for their instructor. You can search Google or Bing for “driving instructor near me” and look at the maps and the results. But really, you don’t need to go anywhere. You’ve already found us. 1st 4 Driving offers the best driving lessons around at great prices, backed up with a money-back guarantee from probably the most qualified driving school owner in the country. Sounds too good to be true? Check out or reviews to see what other people are saying.

How To Pass The Driving Test First Time

Nobody passes their driving test first time, right? Wrong! The majority of our pupils pass first time! Driving School Dave explains how…

This article looks at how to pass the driving test first time in the UK. With pass rates around 45% in many test centres it appears that more than every driving test taken, more than half fail. To put it another way, you are more likely to pass on your second attempt. So why do people fail and are there any tips on how to pass the driving test first time.

pass the driving test first time

First let’s look at the reasons people fail the driving tests. According to the research done every year by the Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) the reasons in 2017 were as follows;

  1. Junctions (observation)
  2. Mirrors – (change direction)
  3. Control (steering)
  4. Junctions (turning right)
  5. Move off (safely)
  6. Positioning (normal driving)
  7. Move off (control)
  8. Response to signals (traffic lights)
  9. Reverse park (control)
  10. Response to signals (Traffic Signs)

Click here for some pass stats from the DVSA

This has been almost the same for over ten years so given a list of the top ten fails, we can do something about this. I would be interested to know how many driving instructors actually have this list.

Let’s look in a little more detail of how you can avoid failing and how to pass the driving test first time.

Junctions (Observations)


How to pass the driving test first time

The Highway Code tells us ‘observations must be effective’. To make your observations effective, pause a little when you look. Just long enough to ask yourself “is there anything coming?” If your head or eyes do not pause, you may not believe me but your eyes do not see when they are moving. If you don’t believe me, look in a mirror and look at your right eye first then left eye and keep moving to each eye. I bet you did not see your eyes move. Now get a friend to watch you and ask did they see your eyes move. They will say yes. This is known as ‘secades.’

So; you need to look well at junctions and just ask is there anything coming. Roundabouts are an area where some learners struggle and this is a key failure on the driving test. The only way around this is practice, practice and more practice until you are confident.

Mirrors (changing direction)

how to pass the driving test first timeThe Highway Code tells us to check mirrors frequently and I paraphrase, before you change speed, direction or overtake. You will have been asked to check centre mirror before changing speed or direction and left mirror as well when going left and right mirror before moving right. Where I see many problems with ‘mirrors changing direction’ is when a pupil finds themselves is a wrong lane or a situation where they suddenly change lanes for fear of being failed for being in the wrong place. How to pass the driving test first time on this issue is remember, being in the wrong lane is not necessarily a problem and as long as what you are doing is safe, you can’t fail. So you find yourself in the wrong place and want to move over? What will you do first? Check if it’s safe by checking any appropriate mirrors and if it’s not safe STAY WHERE YOU ARE. Even if this takes you down a wrong road it’s better than a sudden change of direction. I have seen hundreds of tests where this happened and the examiner simply redirected them down another route and they passed of course.

Controls (steering)

Many driving instructors will tell you ‘you must use pull push steering’ and it’s been the debate of more forums than I care to remember, The DVSA (remember the people who run the driving tests) will tell you, it doesn’t matter if you cross your hands a little as long as you have control. How to pass the driving test first time with steering is to never let the steering wheel come back on its own. A bad practice with many drivers is to let it slip though the hands to return to the normal position. This article is not about the many reasons why that is dangerous but about how to pass the driving test so I will stick with that. The often cause of a driving test fail is the steering too late or too soon into maybe a corner. So ensure you are confident at when and where to steer. As a rule your hands follow your eyes or as I used to say to my pupils ‘look at what you want to hit’ so look at the space or side of the junction where you want the car to go.

Move off (safely)

The Highway Code tells us to make effective observation before moving off and to check our blind spot before we move. I often hear people say before moving off you must signal, well that’s not entirely true. If nobody will benefit from a signal then who are you signalling to. I have seen many fails for inappropriate signals. So let’s explain, before you move off I want you to think ‘is there anyone who needs my signal?’ Now to make this decision you have to look effectively behind you using the mirrors and to the right hand mirrors at the least and over you blind spot. Now did you see anyone who needed a signal? If they were coming from behind you might actually think its not safe to pull out and therefore you won’t signal because you decide to wait. Maybe you look and there is nobody to signal too, great it’s safe to pull out and actually do you need the signal as there is nobody there? Probably not but don’t forget vehicles coming towards you might benefit from that signal. This simple change of thought can alone show you how to pass the driving test first time

Positioning (normal driving)

how to pass the driving test first timeWe should always drive on the left and we should drive in the centre of our available space. Are two rules that can help you to see how to  pass the driving test first time? When driving between parked cars try to keep about one metre (3 feet if old school) from them if you can’t slow down or if necessary stop. When in a lane stay in the middle of that lane whenever possible, practice by looking far ahead and following the position of the car ahead. We should always drive in the left lane under normal circumstances unless road marking or signs tell us differently or when overtaking.

Move off (control)

Ah the dreaded hill start, they just require practice and really should be easily managed before moving on to other subjects. Hill starts are not difficult when practised in quiet locations but, and it’s a big but, if you are not confident and you are trying to do a hill start in a busy junction, with an impatient car behind you, you will struggle with all the demands. Hill starts are like any other subject, you have to get the basics right first. So if you are not confident get your driving instructor to take you to a quiet area with a few hills where it does not matter if you roll back and practice. Seriously it might feel like going backwards (pun intended) but even 15 minutes getting this right can put your mind at ease.

Response to signals (traffic lights)

The traffic light ahead is green great you can go right? But what should we be thinking really. What if the light suddenly changes as you get there? What will you do? Panic, what’s behind OMG can I stop. None of which is a recipe for how to pass the driving test first time. So; the rule is next time you see a traffic light check your rear view mirror regardless of the traffic light colour. Ask yourself, ‘what’s behind me and can I stop?’ If the answer is no, then even if the light is green ease of your gas if it’s red you need to stop anyway. Do this with plenty of time and as soon as you see traffic lights start planning. The car behind will slow down too and if the light changes you will know you can stop.

Reverse park (control)

I am always surprised to see that so many fail for this. Any manoeuvre is just a matter of practice and doing it from every angle possible. Yes the reverse park can be done from different angles. I know many instructors like to teach ‘their’ proffered method but there are lots of ways and it’s up to you to choose what method is best for you and each given situation. 90 degree, 45 degree it does not matter as long as it’s under control and safe.

Response to signals (Traffic Signs)

Interestingly this is a new one for 2017. Previously we would see faults for ‘response to signals (road markings). This I am sure has come about due to the new elements of the driving test where pupils now have to read road signs to direct themselves during the independent drive. I know from my educational degree that if you are not confident or are worried about one task then an additional task will be difficult. If you are not fully confident in your driving ability of controls etc. then trying to read road signs at the same time will be difficult. To pass first time, you need to be fully confident in the basics before the more complex tasks of reading road signs and making decisions. Each task on their own seems simple but to put the two together seems impossible.

To summarise how to pass the driving test first time

I have met many people over the years who when they find out what I do tell me ‘I failed my driving test because of nerves’. I always ask them;

  • How do you feel about roundabouts? They reply with phrases such as they don’t like them or they are difficult.
  • How are you on the manoeuvres? Is met with replies such as they are horrible and I get them right mostly.
  • Are there any complicated junctions you don’t like and I’m told of lots of horror stories.

I always reply with ‘if I had all that going on inside me while sitting in the test centre waiting for the examiner, I would be nervous too’. My learners would come back having passed disappointed they didn’t get that roundabout or junction. Strange I know but they were ready for the test and anything it had to bring and yet they still took fewer hours than with other driving schools!!

How to Pass the Driving Test Easier

This is the first article in a short series designed to help learner drivers pass the driving test easier and remove some of the mysteries surrounding learning to drive.

As a trainer of driving instructors I have so often heard how complicated driving instructors can make things. Correct education of any subject needs to follow simple methods normally starting with an ‘empirical fact.’ This could be a proven fact from an official publication, such as ‘The Highway Code’ and ‘The Official DVSA Guide to Driving: The Essential Skills’ to name just two. Using these alongside driving lessons can help learners pass the driving test easily.

But what else should you be doing to cut down on lessons?

pass the driving test easier

Note: You should use the following advice in conjunction with your professional driving lessons and if your driving instructor tells you something different to what you have read in the Highway Code then think cautiously. You can contact us to ask advice or use any of the links that come from these articles.

What do I need to learn to pass the driving test easier?

So, is it easy to pass the driving test? Well, yes if you put the practice in. Bloom’s Taxonomy tells us there are three main things that we need to learn in order to achieve any subject. These are knowledge, skill and attitude. In any subject those are the essential things to learn. If you have been given confusing or incorrect knowledge, then the attitude might not be correct or confusing.

In my role delivering speed awareness courses I come across many people who carry so many wrong ideas like “You’re allowed to do 10mph over the speed limit” or “Cars stop quicker these days.” Much of this has come from their driving instructors. If you take incorrect knowledge into your own driving then you might fall foul of the law and you won’t understand why. Likewise, if your skill is not well practised or maybe you’re a little worried about a particular aspect of driving, then taking this to your driving test will mean you’ll be nervous. This will not help you pass your driving test. In short, correct knowledge and well-practised skill will help you pass the driving test easier.

How many lessons should it take to pass?

It’s always difficult to know how many lessons it will take, but I maintain many driving instructors end up giving too many driving lessons to learners. It is true that the more practice you have the better you will be. But that practice needs to be focused on YOUR needs and not those of the driving instructor. I often even find pupils who have recently passed who can’t tell me the correct distance to follow other vehicles, yet can tell me where their instructor goes on holiday or what football team they support. It’s important to state that there is nothing wrong with chat in the car, indeed it can even be a good thing to be able show you can have a conversation and concentrate on the road at the same time. This would be beneficial practice for the ‘independent drive’ section of your driving test.

For many years I have promoted 2hr driving lessons and often this can suit both the learner and the instructor. On occasion, it could benefit pupils to take hourly lessons, but deviating from the 2 hour lesson structure could increase the overall time it takes to learn. Normally 2 hour lessons will end up being the easiest and the cheapest though in the long run. Follow this link to read more about the benefit of 2 hour driving lessons.

Can Mum and Dad help me pass the test easier?

Sometimes, yes but please – only in conjunction with your driving instructor. I have heard many stories how Mum or Dad have cost someone a test because they have been told (with the best interest at heart) to do something wrong and the learner has failed.

I remember one case in particular where Dad (an ex-driving instructor), told their son to keep exactly 10mph under every speed limit so the examiner would be impressed with his safety. It ended badly in 2 ways. The learner failed the test with the examiner asking why he did it. The pupil, a very large rugby player ended up breaking his Dad’s nose…

The Driving Vehicle and Standards Agency (DVSA) say that the average learner takes 47 hours of driving lessons and an additional 22 hours of private practice to pass the driving test. At 1st 4 Driving, we find that this is far less on average, as we adopt the 2hr driving lesson practice.

So in conclusion, passing the driving test can be easier if you get the correct knowledge and practice. This starts with your driving instructor. Ask your friends if they can recommend their instructor. Do your research before choosing. Check out reviews and social media.

1st 4 Driving prides itself on expert and professional tuition. Find out if we cover your area here.

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