Learning to drive and wondering about costs? We’ve crunched some numbers
Getting your driving licence is a liberating experience, but the costs involved can be quite significant. Driving lessons are a big part of this, but you also need to factor in your provisional licence, driving tests and various other expenses, too.
We detail what these costs are as well as some of the best ways to save you money throughout the process.
How much do driving lessons cost?
Driving lesson prices vary depending on where you live. A recent study found that the average cost for a one-hour lesson is £27 across the UK. This can come down to an average of £23 per lesson if you buy a block of sessions.
London – as you might have guessed – is at the top of the charts when it comes to costs, with an average lesson coming in at £30. If you live in the South West then this drops to £24, while block bookings can dip below £20 a lesson.
You may be quoted slightly more or less than these figures as each driving school sets their own fees. As an example, some instructors can charge as much as £35 per lesson, so it’s definitely worth looking around for the best deal.
How much will I need to spend in total on driving lessons?
The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) worked out that learners who passed their driving tests needed on average 45-47 driving lessons to do it. This excluded 22 further hours of private practice.
If we take the average driving lesson cost of £27, and assume you need 46 lessons to pass your test, then this will equate to a total of £1,242. That’s not an insignificant expense, but there are a few ways you can lower your costs.
How can I save money on the cost of driving lessons?
To help lower the cost of your driving lessons there are some tips you can follow:
- Book driving lessons in bulk – they can save you an average of £184 over the course of 46 lessons.
- Do as much private driving practice as you can – this can lower the number of paid driving lessons you need to ready yourself for the final driving test.
- Intensive driving courses can be cheaper – some driving schools offer an intensive session of driving lessons in a short period, often at a discount over the regular lessons.
- Shop around – driving lesson prices aren’t regulated and vary between driving schools and instructors.
- Avoid doing combined lessons – sharing your driving lesson with another driver may seem like a way to save costs, but you may actually do less driving and require more lessons in the future.
What other costs are involved in learning to drive?
Aside from your driving lessons, there are several other costs associated with learning to drive. Including car insurance, you should budget just over £1,400 for the entire process.
Provisional licence application – £34 to £43
You can apply for your provisional once you are at least 15 years and 9 months old. An online application costs £34 and you should get your provisional licence within a week. If you apply by post it will cost £43. If you lose your provisional licence a replacement will be £20.
Theory test – £23 (plus an optional £22 for books)
The theory test itself is £23 once off. You may, however, want to invest in some of the books offered by the DVSA such as the Official Highway Code for £4,99 and the official DVSA guide to driving for £16,99. This will add £22 to your total, but can help you avoid having to retake the theory test and paying more anyway.
Driving lessons – £1,058 to £1,242
Driving lessons are approximately £1,242 for 46 individual lessons. This can be reduced slightly to around £1,058 if you take advantage of bulk pricing offers. You may find that you can cut this cost down even further if you don’t require the full 46 lessons to prepare for your test – some learners require far fewer lessons, especially if they do a lot of private practice in-between lessons.
Driving test – £62 to £75
The final hurdle to achieving motoring freedom will be your driving test. You will have your eyesight checked, will be asked to complete a set of ‘show me, tell me’ vehicle safety questions and finally your driving ability will be tested.
There is a £62 fee if you do it during a weekday, but it is £75 on weekends and bank holidays. The average pass rate in the UK is just under the 50% mark. Statistically speaking over half of people end up paying for their driving test at least twice.
Insurance – £80 per month
Anyone driving a car on UK roads must have motor insurance. If you are practicing driving in someone else’s car, then you need to make sure that you are covered in the event of an accident.
Several insurers offer learner driver insurance and prices vary greatly. Some even have daily, weekly or monthly packages. Daily cover can start at around £17, while monthly cover averages around £80.
Taking the average time a learner needs to be on the road to prepare for their driving test (46 paid lessons and 22 private lessons), this equates to 68 hours of driving time. It would require just over two months to do this if you practiced one hour each day. Factoring in weekends and days off, that would require roughly 3 months of insurance cover at £240.
Estimated cost summary:
|Provisional licence application||£34||Save £9 by doing it online|
|Theory test||£23||First time pass rate is just 55%|
|DVSA recommended books and guides||£22||A good investment to avoid having to retake your theory test|
|Driving lessons||£1058||Can be far lower by increasing your private practice sessions|
|Driving test||£62||Be prepared – over 50% of learners retake their driving test|
|Insurance cover||£240||Average cost for 3 months of learner driver cover|
These figures can only roughly approximate your exact costs, but they serve as a guideline as to what to expect.
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