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Learning to drive

How many driving lessons should you have before your test?

We asked ourselves this and came up with a simple equation to help you work out exactly how many lessons you need:

(banana² x marshmallow) + potato!

Or in other words - there is no answer.

The DVSA say "there is no minimum number of lessons you must have or hours you must practise driving." - hooray! But to give you an idea, it's said on average that 47 hours of lessons with a instructor should do it.

Everyone's different

If you've ever tried to get 5 people to agree on where to go for food you'll soon realise that no one is the same. One person doesn't do carbs, one person is skint, one person only eats gluten free breadsticks when there's a full moon. You get the idea - and learning to drive is no different.

Just because your best mate had 30 lessons before the test and you're on number 45, it doesn't make them a better driver than you. In fact, you could argue that in the long-term you'll be the better driver as you had more experience behind the wheel.

Learning factors

But there are some things you should avoid to make sure it's a smooth process:
  1. It's not me, it's you

    Making sure you pick a driving instructor that's right for you is mega important. Price is obviously something that can sway you, but ultimately if you don't feel comfortable or you're not enjoying their teaching style - don't put up with it.

    Spending 47 hours in a tin box with someone you just don't click with will start shaping your attitudes towards driving in a negative way. You'll end up dreading your lessons every week and it will most likely take you longer to pass as the motivation just won't be there.

    Take our advice on finding 'the one.' You can thank us later.

  2. Driving in the same conditions

    This is something we all find ourselves doing as it's easily done. Booking your lessons on the same day each week, at the same time, means you're not experiencing different road situations.

    Try to vary when and where you have your lessons - morning rush hour will be totally different to a weekday evening. You instructor shouldn't have a problem with picking you up from different places either, so try switching up where you want to be collected from so you're driving different routes.

    Getting a range of driving scenerios under your belt will make you feel more confident and will stop you from cancelling your driving test due to rumours that it might rain that day.

  3. Taking long breaks

    So you're on a roll with your lessons and you feel like you're improving week on week - then you book yourself a holiday as a reward for working so hard. Ah.

    Everyone needs to take breaks but disappearing to a beach somewhere when you're in the swing of learning can really set you back.

    Exams, holidays, hangovers - they can all get in the way of getting to the finish line so try to plan your life around your lessons.

    Just think - once you've passed you can go anywhere you like! That's if you haven't spent all your dollar on the lessons. Ermmm, about that.

  4. Private practice

    Sorry to be Miss Boring but just like any test you sign up for - the learning and preparation doesn't stop once the lesson is over.

    Mum and Dad (despite all their annoying behaviours) are your golden ticket into passing your test quicker. On average you should be aiming to do 22 hours of private practice on top of your normal lessons. Yikes.

    Going out with a relative will really help with the learning process. Again, you're not restricting yourself to one set of very nice, safe, expected conditions. You've not got the instructor next to you with another set of pedals, so you instantly have to be more in control and confident in your ability.

    If you're borrowing someone else's car it's also great experience having to adapt to another set of wheels. You'll find that useful when you finally wave goodbye to the instructor's car.

    Just remember to remind Mum and Dad: they're NOT teaching. They're only helping you PRACTISE what you've already learned. You're the driver. You've got this.

    Good luck!

    Still a bit unsure about jumping in the car with Mum? Make sure you know the rules on private practice before you set off.


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Katey Joined ingenie in 2014 and is in charge of all things social. She passed her driving test in 2015 and her first car is a Toyota Yaris T3 named Tyrone.