The REAL truth about how many driving lessons you will need – explained by Driving School Dave.
One of the most common questions we are asked is How many driving lessons you will need to take the practical test? This is a very valid question but one that is very difficult to answer. That said, there are some definite guidelines and tips to reduce the amount you need without compromising your safety.
A quick search of the internet shows several websites quoting the Driver Vehicle and Standards Agency (DVSA) as 44, 45 and 47 depending on what website you look at. So the official guide is somewhere in the mid to high 40’s but hold on, don’t panic this is THE AVERAGE.
An average is taking everybody who takes driving lessons. I have taught an elderly lady to drive. Her husband had died, and her long-term wish was to learn to drive. Her husband would not let her so now she was determined to learn. She took over 100 hours, each lesson making small but definite progress. Teaching this lady could fill another article but this was one exceptional case. Recently with 1st 4 Driving we have had 3 pupils passing 1st time with under 10 hours. This also extremely rare. The number can to some extent work on the younger you are the fewer lessons you might need. But I have found that it’s more about the capacity to learn and probably more important, your instructor’s ability to inspire and teach, more about this later.
There is no minimum number on how many driving lessons you will need. Neither do you have to use a professional driving instructor for your driving lessons. On top of the 47 (44) hours of tuition the DVSA say is the average with a professional driving instructor, they suggest that a further 22 hours are taken as private practice. I’ve seen figures from the DVSA who suggest 95% of driving tests taken are in a professional driving school car. But you can take your test in your own or someone else’s car. There are some minimum requirements for this and insurance issues to consider but it’s very possible. To be more likely for a first-time pass, it’s likely only a driving instructor will know those oddities on test routes and current regulations and test procedures. These are often changing. This is also likely to reduce how many driving lessons you will need.
One of the most important things is the length of driving lesson. Let’s use our DVSA figures as an example, remember it’s likely you’ll be a lot better than this and certainly will be if you follow the advice that follows.
So, the DVSA say 47 hours of practical tuition to pass the test. If you had a one hour lesson every week and you and the instructor missed the odd week for holidays etc. it’s going to take you a year to pass the driving test, I am positive this is not what you’re looking for. This is one of the reasons why so many pupils move instructor. They feel they are just not making progress. Interestingly I was told at a conference by the DVSA some years ago the average pupil takes their 47 hours of tuition using an average of three driving instructors. Now there is an instant way to reduce this time and this is to take two-hour lessons.
Why the two-hour lesson can reduce how many driving lessons you will need.
Let’s consider how a driving lesson is structured (or should be)
Normally when you are picked up for your lesson, there will be a 10-15-minute discussion on how you are and how the lesson went last week. You will discuss how you felt the driving lesson went last week and be asked about what YOU would like to achieve today. At the end of the driving lesson there will be an equal 10-15-minute discussion on how you felt things went, booking the next lesson and even maybe the payment to be sorted. This leaves just a 30-minute practice session in the middle.
Now consider the two-hour driving lesson. You have the same 10-15-minute sessions at the start and the end but, you have three x 30-minute practice lessons in the middle. You are getting 3 times the lesson for twice the price. There are also other benefits in this two-hour lesson in not so many gaps between driving lessons where you might forget some stuff. Certainly 2 hour driving lessons will reduce how many driving lessons you will need.
We find at 1st 4 Driving that we reduce the average from 47 hours to 30 hours taken as just 15 2 hour driving lessons. And remember this is the average still, you could do fewer. We sell a very popular all-inclusive 30 package including theory and practical test as we’re so confident that this works for the pupil. Certainly 2 hour driving lessons will reduce how many driving lessons you will need.
Using this two-hour driving lesson option will considerably reduce not only how many driving lessons you will need but reduce the overall cost. Some pupils are concerned at a two-hour driving lesson each week because they feel it’s too expensive. I can see how this might seem. But in the long term you will save a considerable amount of money. When I delivered lessons and I tell my driving instructors now is, if a pupil can’t afford the two-hour driving lessons then suggest they do two-hours every two weeks. The length of time it will take them may not reduce but the cost will.
How many driving lessons you will need is carved in stone. It’s a figure you will not know until you have passed but whatever the elusive figure is the advice given above will certainly stack the odds in your favour. There are other things you can do too, like choosing the right driving instructor. This is the subject of another article and is equally important.
Dave Foster MA, Dip.DI (or Driving School Dave) is the most qualified driving school owner in the country, after completing his Master’s Degree in Driver Training Education in 2011 at Middlesex University. He also holds a diploma in Driving Instruction and is a Cert Ed. qualified teacher. Dave is the founder and Managing Director of 1st 4 Driving Ltd, and also looks after over 15 driving schools across the country on a consultancy basis.