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Learning to drive

Driving practice plans from 10 minutes to an hour

The worst thing about learning to drive? The cost. The second worst thing? How much time it takes!

Ironically, the one thing that can cut down on the number of driving lessons you need is...spending more time driving!

Practising outside of lessons is the very best way of making sure you're solidifying the knowledge you're getting from your instructor. And it doesn't have to be hours at a time.

How to work driving practice into your schedule

And not just yours - your practice partner's. If your mum or dad is nice enough to agree to help you practise your driving, you need to be able to grab any spare minute you can find.

So whether that's a couple of hours a week or 10 minutes of driving here and there, we've got a practice plan for you.

Your mini driving practice plans

  1. The 10-minute driving practice plan

  2. With time short, you need to stay around your home. That means - parking!

    If you live close to the street, you can practise your parallel parking or bay parking for real. If you have a big drive or you're more rural, put out some cones (or flower pots if you're brave!) and do some faux manoeuvres.

    1. Parallel park - both ways!
    2. Bay park forward and backwards
     
  3. The 20-minute driving practice plan

  4. 15 minutes is a good amount of time for getting to know your practice car's quirks.

    This is a good one for your very first practice drive outside of lessons. Make sure you only cover what you've done with your instructor and go easy because it can be a bit nervy the first time.

    1. Try adjusting your seat and head rest so you're comfy
    2. Go through your practice car's controls: lights, indicators and wipers
    3. Try moving off and stopping just to get the feel of the clutch and brakes
    4. Drive to the end of the road, remembering your observation
    5. Find somewhere safe to turn around - indicators and steering practice
    6. Pull up safely using obervation, clutch control, foot brake and handbrake.

    Phew! You did it.

     
  5. The 30-minute driving practice plan

  6. You've got just enough time to drive around the block to practise your moving off, observation, indicating and junctions.

    This one's great for an everyday, low-on-time practice just to keep yourself sharp.

    1. Check your seat, head rest and controls are all where they should be
    2. Move off, with all your observation
    3. Go through your gears as you get safely up to speed
    4. Keep your observation game going so you're reacting to other drivers
    5. Take some left and right turns with lovely observation, positioning and indication
    6. Head for home
    7. Pull up perfectly and stop safely
       
  7. The one-hour driving practice plan

  8. And hour is a great amount of time for some driving practice because you can cover plenty of miles. This is an opportunity to practise a test route because your driving test will include 20 minutes of indepedent driving - and you'll still have time to get there and back if you're local.

    It's also the perfect chance to practise driving with a satnav. The new driving test includes driving to satnav directions so you'll need plenty of experience with that. If you want an exact test route, ask your driving instructor to help you plot the route in your satnav after a lesson, including how to get there.

    1. Set up the satnav so you won't need to touch it again
    2. Move off and start your journey with great observation
    3. Make sure you're keeping focus on the road while listening to directions
    4. Follow the test route (your practice buddy could note down anything tricky for you)
    5. If the test centre will be open, include a bay park if it's safe
    6. Head for home
     
    Driving test examiners have a million options for where to take you so don't get too attached to 'test routes' - it's just good to practise in the test centre area.

    Download our free ingenie Learner app to track all your lessons and practice in one place.


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Honor joined ingenie in 2014 and is in charge of words on the Young Driver's Guide and blog. Her first car is a Peugeot 206 cabriolet, which is a very sensible choice for the British climate. Follow her on .