Driving down costs: The price of learning to drive

Driving down costs: The price of learning to drive

In 2016, the cost of learning to drive is just under £1,250 for someone who passes first time. That’s certainly a large amount for someone who still may be at school. This includes lessons, the tests themselves, and all the revision materials you need.

The cost of living is something that’s on many of our minds at the moment, and for those who want to learn to drive this is just another thing to add to the list. According to Aviva, the average millennial is left with just £156 disposable income each month, which highlights how conscious young learners need to be when taking driving lessons.

According to the National Travel Survey, the number of 17-to-20-year-olds who have a driving license has dropped by over 10% since the 1990s. Nearly half (44%) of this age group also said that their reasoning for not getting on the roads was the cost of learning to drive. We looked at driving schools from around the country and found the average price of lessons was £21.78, which alone added up to £980.22.

Cost of driving lessons per city

There’s a number of other factors which need to be taken into consideration, so we’ve compiled a list of all the things you need and how much they’ll cost.

The cost of learning to drive

Essentials for learning to drive

Provisional license

Before you’ve even considered mirrors, signals or manoeuvres, you’ll need a provisional license. This can cost £43 if you apply by post but goes down to £34 if you pay online.

Driving lessons and practice

The average time it takes to learn how to drive is around 45 hours of lessons with an ADI. The hour-long lessons we looked could cost up to £50 depending on the school and location. However, there were deals from as low as £1 - showing the importance of shopping around. The average saving that could be made was £6.33 per hour, which is no small sum when totalled. Yet, keep in mind that it’s always worth having a chat on the phone with your instructor beforehand to make sure they know your goals and level of experience.

On top of the 45 hours of official lessons, you are advised to have on average 22 hours of driving practice. It’s illegal to do this without insurance, and you’ll need someone in the car with you who’s held their license for three years and is over 21. Check out our learner driver insurance to see whether this is the right option for you.

Test costs

Your theory test can cost up to £23 and your practical will be up to £75. While there isn’t much you can do to avoid this expense, booking your tests during off-peak times will shave the cost by £13.

Extra expenses

L and P plates can be bought for around £10 at supermarkets and hardware stores. Similarly, there are a plethora of CDs, DVDs, and apps that you can utilise to learn to drive when you’re not in the car. These are particularly useful for hazard perception and theory practice.

Total cost

According to our research, from start to finish learning to drive will cost around £1,248.34 if you pass the first time. But there are plenty of little tricks to get in the drivers’ seat without breaking the bank.

Learner driver money-saving tips

  • Make the most of bulk buying deals from driving schools. Some will also let you refund lessons if you pass before you’ve used them up.
  • If you’ve just started learning, you may also be able to take advantage of introductory offers.
  • Once you’ve got the basics down with a certified ADI, why not get a friend or family member to teach you?
  • Most instructors will start off by going through the Highway Code in your early lessons. If you’ve already completed your theory test, let your instructor know, so you spend less time on that and more on practical skills.
  • It’s more expensive the more times you have to take your test. Put simply, revise as much as possible, you’ll pass faster, and won’t have to spend on more lessons and tests. Check out our guides on learning to drive to brush up.
how to save money on driving lessons

Remember, the cheapest option isn’t always the best option. When learning, don’t just rush through cut-price options to get your license but be sure you’re supported in being a competent and safe driver.

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Additional Sources

[1]Aviva Family Finances Report 2016
[3]One driving lesson picked at random from every city in the UK. Standard lesson price and lowest cost lesson price (due to offers and bulk purchasing) taken into account, with a final average calculated from these statistics.

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