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Driving Lessons

In this article, I will endeavour to provide you with the most up to date and comprehensive information available relating to Driving Lessons.

  • Why take them.
  • Approved Driving Instructors.
  • How many are required?
  • How to gauge quality and value for money
  • Male or female.
  • Manual or Automatic.
  • How to choose your instructor or school.
  • Special needs.
  • How to apply for your provisional licence.
  • Theory test.
  • Practical Driving test.
Driving Lessons

Driving Lessons

Why Take Them?

According to a recent survey by the money saving website “voucher cloud,” only 26% of learner drivers used approved driving instructors (ADI’s) for most of their driving lessons.

The main reason given in the poll by more than 2,000 newly qualified drivers was that professional driving instructors were deemed to be too expensive and around 46% used friends or family.

It’s perfectly understandable to look to save money and bearing in mind that this survey was conducted by a money saving website, it would perhaps show a larger representation that had this mindset.

A word of caution though! When you take these statistics and then compare the average practical test pass rate across the UK at 47.2% you should question how much of a saving is being made with over 50% having to retake their practical driving tests.

Having worked in the driving school industry for over 17 years, my own experience would suggest that taking driving lessons with a professional instructor and then complementing with extra tuition and practice with family or friends is the most cost effective way to learn.

The most successful method would be to take the first 10 hours with a professional instructor and make sure the foundations are in place. The early stages of learning are crucial to build confidence and create a suitable learning environment (see How to gauge quality and value for money?)

Having a written lesson report at the end of each driving lesson detailing what subjects have been covered and detailing strengths and weaknesses along with the area where the tuition took place will be invaluable. This report can then be made available to the family member or friend to provide the opportunity to conduct further controlled practice.

Being able to reinforce what has already been learnt is hugely powerful and creates a firm foundation for understanding the rest of the driving syllabus.

A very high proportion of driving lessons are not related to learning new tasks but practising what has already been learnt and gaining experience in different situations. This is where private practice can really save your hard-earned money and greatly reduce the learning period.

Why Does Practising With Family and Friends Often End in Disaster?


So many attempts by friends or family at offering tuition go horribly wrong during the first few driving lessons, mainly because of two reasons.


  1. Poor choice of location for an initial lesson.
  2. Over expectation of ability and knowledge.
Learning with family or friends

Learning with family or friends

Poor choice of location for initial driving lesson

Driving from home is generally not the best approach and will depend on where home is to some extent. Even if the first driving lesson is in a quiet housing estate, there will almost certainly be junctions to emerge from and an array of parked vehicles obstructing the road.

Emerging out of a side road onto a major road is one of the most difficult tasks a learner driver will face in the early stages of learning. The ability to approach the junction and assess the flow of traffic from both directions and follow the curve of the kerb to maintain a favourable road position (emerging left) or keeping a position to the centre line when emerging right takes hours of practice.

During my own experience, I found that novice drivers often find emerging on to the flow of traffic very daunting. Just think for a second, they must observe to the right (emerging left) and assess the speed of any oncoming vehicles and then judge if the gap is suitable for them to emerge and make progress to avoid slowing any vehicle down.

Assuming this is the first driving lesson and they have no experience of even moving off and stopping let alone clutch control or experience with changing gears, the potential for mistakes and a massive loss of confidence is huge.

Over expectation of ability and knowledge


 As experienced drivers, we tend to perform many tasks on autopilot and it’s easy to forget that to a learner driver most tasks are far more detailed than we remember.

Even the most basic task of moving off need to be broken down to each element.

  1. Check if the vehicle is in a neutral gear and then start the engine.
  2. Press the clutch fully down with left foot and palm into 1st
  3. Apply the correct amount of gas (throttle) to provide the power necessary.
  4. Bring the clutch up gradually until you find the “bite point.”
  5. The “bite point” is crucial to a learner driver and what it is and how to find it will need to be explained.
  6. Effective all round observation before moving off.
  7. Explanation of the gap required to move off and gain speed without causing any vehicles to swerve or slow down.
  8. Release the parking brake.
  9. Bring the clutch gradually until the vehicle starts to move off but being careful not to release fully until some momentum has been gained.
  10. Apply more gas to gradually gain speed.

This is just the procedure for moving off without covering stopping, changing gears and emerging or turning. Expecting a novice driver to deal with all these aspects let alone emerge on to the traffic flow is totally unrealistic.

It’s inevitable that mistakes will be made and thus creates an unfavourable learning environment which often results in the family member or friend becoming frustrated and maybe even resulting in raised voices which can often be perceived as shouting. The learner driver will often lose any confidence they had and the whole experience just contributes to making them far more nervous than when they started.

This can all be avoided


Travelling to a suitable training location where the novice can concentrate on the minimum number of tasks at any one time is very worthwhile. A very quiet housing estate where the learner can move off and stop until confidence is gained and then maybe progressing to steering around corners or easy left turns will pay dividends.

The initial driving lessons should be more related to gaining confidence than how much driving or topics are covered. All driving lessons should be success based and fully understanding a topic and the related components will decrease the learning period, keep the novice motivated and create a fantastic learning environment.

You could be practising at getting wrong!


Finally, in this section on why take driving lessons?

I have huge respect for family and friends that are willing to sit on the passenger side and offer tuition without the safety of dual controls. Dual controls are not actually used that much BUT having them in place makes a massive difference to the learning environment.

You often hear stories of family and friends yanking on the parking brake, grabbing the steering wheel or frantically shouting instructions to slow down or stop. Sitting in the passenger seat takes some getting used to and being able to gradually slow or stop the vehicle with no fuss or bother keeps the learning environment positively intact.

Very few fully qualified drivers ever take any type of refresher training from the day they pass their learner test. Many have either forgotten what they learnt themselves or failed to keep up with modern driving rules and regulations.

The practical driving test has changed several times in recent years and another big change will take place in December 2017.

How prepared are your family and friends to provide you with up to date tuition?

Will you be learning and perfecting the wrong methods and joining the 52% of learners that fail their practical driving test?

The financial cost of a failed test attempt is currently £62 plus any lessons to rectify your weaknesses and a possible time delay in gaining your full licence of 6 – 8 weeks waiting for another test.


Approved Driving Instructors.

 In the last section, we discussed why it would be wise to seek professional driving lessons from an Approved Driving Instructor as opposed to taking all your lessons with family or friends.

Approved Driving Instructors, often referred to as ADI’s go through a rigorous qualification process taking many months and around 70 hours of training. Before they can be added to the Approved driving instructor register, candidates must complete a DBS check(Disclosure and Barring Service) formerly known as CBS to ascertain they are fit for the job.

Please read a comprehensive article on Driving Instructors here.

Driving Instructor

Driving Instructor

How Many Driving Lessons are Required?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions.

The driving standards agency, who are responsible for administering the practical driving test claim that most candidates take around 47 hours of tuition with a qualified driving instructor and a further 20 hours of private practice with family or friends.

This is simply a guide and you may require far more or far less. Here in my own driving school, we find that the average is around 35-40 hours but we have had candidates pass in ten hours while others have taken more than 60 hours.

You are all individuals and will learn at a different pace but one thing is vital and that will be the quality of the professional driving lessons you receive. A good driving instructor will prepare you much sooner and although their lesson fees may be slightly higher it will save you both time and money in the long run.

In the next section, we will explain what to look for in your driving lessons and how to gauge quality and value for money.

How Many Driving Lessons?

How Many Driving Lessons?

How to Gauge Quality and Value for Money

There have been many changes to driving instruction in recent years and although the better driving instructors do keep up to date and offer the latest client centred techniques, others are stuck in a time warp and use old and outdated methods.

Parents reading this article may remember their own learning experiences of driving around and around and simply going over the same processes until it sunk in. I certainly remember my own experience and being told to make sure I checked mirrors every 5 seconds or I would fail my driving test.

Tuition should now be very different!

Well trained and good quality driving instructors will now be offering client centred learning and below is documented what you should expect.

How to Gauge Quality and Value for Money

How to Gauge Quality and Value for Money


The driving lesson should begin with a 3-5-minute recap of what was covered in your last lesson. This should be interactive and your driving instructor should be asking you questions (not telling you) to check your retention of knowledge from what was learnt the last time. This process is extremely important and will set the scene for the current lesson.

Lesson Objective:

The lesson objective will be vital and determine the quality and effectiveness of the current lesson. Your instructor should discuss with you where you are in the learning syllabus and suggest a feasible objective but it’s important that it’s only a suggestion and your input will be key. It may depend on how you are feeling, your frame of mind, external influences and past lesson experiences.

Once a driving lesson objective has been agreed upon, it will be vital to have a crystal-clear vision of what you are looking to achieve within the current lesson and how it will fit into the syllabus.

Managing Risk

Before setting off, a complete understanding will be required of who is taking responsibility for what actions. Some of the tasks to be covered in the current lesson will not be new and you will have varying degrees of experience and competence in dealing with them.

Let’s use approaching roundabouts as an example.

We will assume that the objective is to improve your understanding and practice at emerging from roundabouts.

It’s possible that your approach speed and road positioning are very good and you agree with your instructor that you are happy to have prompts when required. You also agree that your instructor will give you full talk through on the actual emerging process until you become more comfortable.

After negotiating 3 to 4 roundabouts to practice, pull up to discuss and evaluate.

You may feel as though you need further talk through to gain confidence and understanding in which case continue with the practice. You may feel that you are grasping the concept and would like to progress without full talk through.

In the latter example, a new plan of risk assessment is required and this should be an interactive discussion between you and your instructor as to the next step. It could be that as you now approach further roundabouts, the agreement is that your instructor will ask you good targeted questions relating to the emerging process. This is a vital progression as you are taking more control without being left on your own.

Once again after several attempts, pulling over to discuss will be a major benefit as you can evaluate your performance. It could be that you would prefer further practise with prompted questions or you may decide to try unaided with your instructor ready to help but only if required.

Summary of Lesson.

At the end of the lesson, it’s essential to summarise what has taken place.

Have you achieved the objective set for the lesson? Is it so fantastic and on to the next part of the syllabus. If you did not quite fulfil your expectations, no worries as long as you are very clear as to the reason why. It could be that you just require a little more practice and confidence and you may wish to revisit the task on your next lesson.

The most important factor is understanding where you are in the process and what is required to progress.

Horror Stories

We hear so many stories of students simply driving around and around with no objective and no idea what they are trying to achieve. It’s common place to hear of lessons where there is no recap, no firm objective and no summary. What is happening here is that the student is paying good money to simply drive the car around for 1-2 hours but learning very little.

I have had several conversations with parents that inform me that their pride and joy should be driving and not talking but unfortunately, that is not how modern learning takes place in 2017.

Many students judge their driving instructor by the rapport that they have with them rather than the quality of the tuition but to be fair how would you know if you have no previous experience to compare with? If you find yourself simply “driving around” with no idea what you are trying to achieve and failing to make progress, changing your driving instructor would probably be a good move and remember, unfortunately, over 30% of all learner drivers change their driving instructors before going to test.


Male or Female Instructor?

We find in our own driving school that almost all inquiries by males have no preference when it comes to a male or female instructor. Inquiries from females are very different and we find around 25% will request a female instructor.

I guess it will be down to your personal preference and although there are far more male instructors on the register, you should have no problem in finding a suitable female instructor in your area.

Male Driving-Instructor

Male Driving-Instructor

Female Driving-Instructor

Female Driving-Instructor

Manual or Automatic?

Traditionally here in the UK, 90% of all learners take the manual option but this is now changing. Automatic vehicles have a reputation for being more expensive, less economical and a little clunky with auto gear changes.

I changed my own private vehicle over three years ago to an automatic and I must say, it’s one of the best things I ever did. It’s faster, more economical, very smooth when changing through the gears and a dream to drive. I have now just taken possession of another new one for the next three years.

The demand for automatic lessons is rising sharply and our own call centre has witnessed a huge increase in inquiries for automatic driving lessons and I predict that over the next 5 years, 25% of all learners will go with an auto.


Auto or Manual

Auto or Manual

Advantages and Disadvantages

 Anyone will tell you that the most frustrating aspect of learning to drive is learning how to use the clutch to move off and when to change gear. Stalling and rolling backwards on hill starts leads to a massive lack of confidence and can affect all aspects of driving.

The Positives of Learning With an Automatic Vehicle

No clutch and manual gears, so no stalling. To move off, you simply increase the gas (press the accelerator) and the vehicle gently moves off. As the speed increases and a gear change is required, the auto system simply changes to the next required gear very smoothly and in some vehicles, it can be almost unnoticeable.

Feedback from our own learner drivers suggest that one area of the syllabus where the auto is a major plus is moving off at roundabouts. Stalling at roundabouts and having the vehicle behind run in the back is one of the most occurring crashes with learner drivers as it often takes the following driver by surprise as their attention is often focused on the right rather than in front of them.

With an auto, you simply apply the gas and away you go with no fear of stalling.

Another area of frustration with learner drivers is forgetting to change gear after slowing down. This often occurs when slowing for traffic lights, pedestrian crossings, meeting traffic or junctions and then forgetting to select a lower gear to pick up speed again.

Hill starts can also lead to frustration and the fear of rolling backwards, but with an auto, you simply release the parking brake and the vehicle will start to creep forward with no chance of a rollback.

Once clutch and gears are taken out of the equation, more focus can be applied to the rest of the driving syllabus, often resulting in a much shorter learning period.


When passing your practical driving test in an automatic vehicle, you will only be licensed to drive that class of vehicle and you will have no entitlement to drive a manual vehicle with gears.

The thinking within the learner driving industry has been to encourage young drivers who are just starting out on their driving careers to learn in a manual vehicle so they have a choice in the years to come. This thinking is gradually changing with the increase in automatic vehicles available, their improved refinement and favourable fuel economy.

Historically, learning in auto vehicles was mainly utilised by middle-aged people, older people, the disabled or very nervous drivers, but this trend is changing fast and we could be heading towards the USA’s example where 90% of drivers use an automatic.

How to Choose Your Driving School or Driving Instructor


We have already covered the subject of How to gauge quality and value for money, but how do you decide on who to choose without having the benefit of experiencing the driving instructor in action?

Traditionally, most driving instructors or driving schools keep busy on recommendations from past pupils and that is still true today. The driving instructor has a good rapport with his or her student and they are happy to pass details to family or friends.

Prior to 2010, most students or their parents looking to book driving lessons would either go on a recommendation or look in Yellow Pages but 2010 was a major transitional period.

Driving Lesson Reviews

Driving Lesson Reviews

2010 witnessed the phenomenon that is Facebook.

The social media giant changed everything almost overnight and made personal information available to the masses. Pictures of recently passed students were now appearing on smartphones with details of their instructor and this increased exposure and recommendation to a whole new level.

My own driving school grew from just 7 instructors to over 30 in just 18 months during 2010 -2012 and it was mainly due to the extra exposure from Facebook.

In addition to Facebook, most driving schools or independent instructors were now making use of websites that could provide more information than was previously available in directories such as Yellow Pages.

Fast Track to 2017

During the past 7 years, we have gradually become a customer review society, mainly down to the giants of Amazon and Trip Advisor who sell their products on the back of customer reviews.

The vast majority of driving school websites or their Facebook pages will show happy and smiling students who have just passed their practical driving tests and the photos will often be accompanied by a short write-up with the student recommending their instructor.

You are now able to surf the net and look for students that you may know from your local area who have just passed their tests. You will be able to see who their driving instructor was and their location.



Typically, you will see many “testimonials” or recommendations from students with comments such as:



“My driving instructor was Dave and he was fantastic. He was always positive and never shouted at me once, even though I made lots of mistakes. I passed the first time and would recommend Dave to anyone looking for lessons.”


That makes good reading if you are looking for driving lessons yourself and you may be tempted to call Dave if he’s local and book some lessons with him.


Most students don’t know the difference between good quality driving lessons that will take you to practical test much sooner and save you money and poor quality lessons that will prolong the learning period and cost you far more money.

You see in the example above, Julie clearly had a good rapport with Dave (that’s how most students perceive their lessons and instructor), it was important that he didn’t shout and she passed first time, so she was very happy.

But, is Dave a good fit for you?

There could be several criteria that are important to you:

Here are just a few select reasons that students found to be the most important:

  • The school/instructor came recommended
  • Structured lessons
  • High Test pass rate
  • Flexibility of lessons
  • Local to me
  • Passion for teaching and friendly
  • Approachable
  • Positive reviews
  • Passing quickly
  • Value for money
  • Preparation for safe driving
  • Easy to get on with
  • Patient and understanding of my nervousness
  • Professional service and tuition
  • Good instructor
  • Adaption to my learning pace and style
  • Excellent local reputation
  • Great customer service
  • Made to feel comfortable
  • Reliability
  • 2-hour lessons
  • Family run school
  • Success rate and reviews
  • Experienced instructor
  • Regular block bookings and consistency

Driving Lessons Reviews

 A customer Review is very different than an old-style testimonial or recommendation.

They are written by students that have had the customer experience you are seeking and are far more comprehensive in detail. They are not always positive and will explain in an unbiased way a more balanced view.

An example of an authentic Customer Review:

An example of Customer Review:

“I was really pleased that Kelvin White Driving School had structured lessons as my previous Instructors had not provided me with lesson plans or feedback. I was also looking for flexibility from an Instructor due to working shifts.

 I really enjoyed my lessons with my Driving Instructor Steve Hales as his lesson plans helped me to progress. Steve’s teaching methods were fantastic, always giving me feedback and ways I could improve.

I have experienced a different School’s ‘methods’ and yours are a lot better!! You certainly get my recommendation!!

Ashley Johnson, Taunton.

Customer Reviews

Customer Reviews

Let’s explore the detail.

He was pleased about the structured lessons as his previous instructor did not provide this.

He was also pleased with lesson plans and feedback offered to him.

He was also happy with the flexibility of lesson due to his shift working.

He thought the lesson plans were fantastic as it helped him to improve.

He could make a comparison with his previous learning experience.

The reasons given by Ashley may be important to you, and if so you could expect a similar experience when choosing Ashley’s instructor Steve.

You may have other criteria that are more important to you, so just keep looking for and reading reviews until you find what you are looking for, BINGO.

Where to Find Driving Lessons Reviews

Although the clear majority of driving school websites and Facebook status posts still use the old-style testimonial and recommendations that lack any substance, you will find some that have the new style customer reviews and it will be more than worth your effort to seek them out.

One of the quickest and most reliable ways to access reviews is to visit the UK directory site This a Driving Lesson review only site that shows 5 star authenticated reviews in the local area.

The Driving Lesson Reviews Directory has been produced to take the risk from purchasing your driving lessons.

ALL Driving Schools and Instructors listed in this directory MUST comply with a very exacting, trusted and authentic review policy which includes a customer photo, full name and location before they are listed as a Trusted Review Member.


Authentic driving lessons reviews

Authentic driving lessons reviews

Special Needs Lessons

 New Drivers

Should you feel that you have a disability that may cause you problems when learning in a standard tuition vehicle, you could explore the possibility of learning in an automatic vehicle. Auto tuition vehicles help to overcome many issues related to using the clutch with your left foot or difficulties changing gears with your left hand.

Should you feel that a specialist and adapted vehicle would best suit your needs, then an online search for special needs driving lessons will provide you with further information.

The specialist’s website would be an excellent source of information.


Special Needs Lessons

Special Needs Lessons

If you think you may have a medical condition affecting your fitness to drive, seek advice from your GP or visit the DVLA website

Returning to Driving

Should you be looking to return to driving following a serious illness or accident, the first step should be a consultation with your GP. He or she will be able to confirm whether you will be able to drive again now or whether there will be a statutory period before restarting. Your GP will also advise whether a notification to DVLA is required.

Older Drivers

Many older drivers feel the need for reassurance as to their ability to drive safely on today’s busy and congested roads.

Should you be returning to driving following a serious illness or accident, please see the section above, returning to driving.

If, however, you simply need reassurance, then I would recommend booking a refresher or assessment session with an approved driving instructor.

I have personally conducted many assessment sessions with older drivers and many are very capable and often there are just a few safety issues to brush up on.

Here are the most common issues that I found during assessments.

  • Driving too slow and failing to make reasonable progress.
  • Lack of observation before moving off.
  • Road positioning.
  • Effective use of mirrors (especially door mirrors).
  • Causing confusion with incorrect signals.
  • Lack of up to date theory knowledge.
  • Fear of motorways and lane discipline.


Most of these issues can be rectified with just a few sessions that often restore any lost confidence.

Hearing Difficulties

Having a hearing disability will not prevent you from driving either a manual or automatic vehicle. Finding a specialist “deafaware” instructor will make communication much easier and a visit to this website will give more information.

How to Apply for Your Provisional Licence

 To get your first provisional driving licence online for a moped, motorbike or car you must:

  • be at least 15 years and 9 months old.
  • be able to read a number plate from 20 metres away.
  • provide an identity documentunless you have a valid UK biometric passport.
  • provide addresses where you’ve lived over the last 3 years.
  • pay £34 by MasterCard, Visa, Electron, Maestro or Delta debit or credit card.
  • have your National Insurance number if known.

Your licence should arrive within one week if you apply online.

provisional driving licence

provisional driving licence

When You Can Apply

  • You can apply for a provisional driving licence when you’re 15 years and 9 months old.

When you have your provisional driving licence you can:

  • ride a moped or light quad bike when you’re 16.
  • drive a car when you’re 17.

Your licence will say when you can start driving different vehicles. Read more about the age you can start driving different vehicles.

You can drive a car when you are 16 if you get, or have applied for, the enhanced rate of the mobility component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

The Theory Test

 When You Can Apply

  • You can apply for a provisional driving licence when you’re 15 years and 9 months old.

When you have your provisional driving licence you can:

  • ride a moped or light quad bike when you’re 16.
  • drive a car when you’re 17.

Your licence will say when you can start driving different vehicles. Read more about the age you can start driving different vehicles.

You can drive a car when you are 16 if you get, or have applied for, the enhanced rate of the mobility component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP).


The Theory Test

The Theory Test

When You Don’t Need a Theory Test

You don’t need to take a theory test before you book a driving test to upgrade a:

  • car licence, for example, from automatic to manual, or to tow a trailer.
  • motorcycle licence you’ve had for at least 2 years, for example, from category A1 (small motorcycle) to category A2 (medium motorcycle).
  • lorry or bus licence, for example, from category C1 (medium) to category C (large), or to tow a trailer.

You don’t need to take a theory test before you book a:


DVLA Theory Test

DVLA Theory test 2017 contains two parts, multiple-choice part and Hazard perception test. Both of these are taken at the same day.

There are many online sites and DVD’s to practice both the multiple questions and the hazard perception. One site we use in our own driving school and would recommend is Theory Test Pro

You do not need to pass your Theory test before taking driving lessons but you will need to pass it before you can book and take a practical driving test.

Practical Driving Test


What happens during the test.

There are 5 parts to the driving test:

  • An eyesight check.
  • “Show me, tell me” vehicle safety questions.
  • General driving ability.
  • Reversing your vehicle.
  • Independent driving.

The test is the same for both manual and automatic cars.


Practical Driving Test

Practical Driving Test

Changes to the Test From December 2017

What happens during your driving test will be different from the 4th of December 2017.

There will be 5 parts to the driving test.

  • An eyesight check.
  • “Show me, tell me” vehicle safety questions.
  • General driving ability.
  • Reversing your vehicle.
  • Independent driving.

The changes apply to the “show me, tell me” questions, reversing your vehicle and independent driving parts of the test.

The test will be the same for both manual and automatic cars.

How Long the Test Lasts

You’ll drive for around 40 minutes.

You’ll drive for around 70 minutes if you’re taking an extended driving test because you’ve been banned from driving.

Eyesight Check

You’ll have to read a number plate from a distance of:

  • 20 metres for vehicles with a new-style number plate.
  • 5 metres for vehicles with an old-style number plate.

New-style number plates start with 2 letters followed by 2 numbers, such as AB51 ABC.

You’ll fail your driving test if you fail the eyesight check. The test will end.

“Show me, tell me” questions

You’ll be asked 2 vehicle safety questions known as the “show me, tell me” questions. These tests show that you know how to carry out basic safety tasks.

You’ll be asked the:

  • “tell me” question at the start of your test, before you start driving.
  • “show me” question while you’re driving – for example, showing how to wash the windscreen using the car controls and wipers.

Your General Driving Ability

You’ll drive in various road and traffic conditions, but not on motorways.

The examiner will give you directions that you should follow. Driving test routes aren’t published, so you can’t check them before your test.

Pulling over at the side of the road

You’ll be asked to pull over and pull away during your test, including:

  • normal stops at the side of the road.
  • pulling out from behind a parked vehicle.
  • a hill start.

You might also be asked to carry out an emergency stop.

Reversing Your Vehicle

The examiner will ask you to do one of the following exercises:

  • parallel park at the side of the road.
  • park in a parking bay – either by driving in and reversing out, or reversing in and driving out (the examiner will tell you which you have to do).
  • pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for around 2 car lengths and rejoin the traffic.

Independent Driving

You’ll have to drive for about 20 minutes by following either:

  • directions from a sat nav.
  • traffic signs.

The examiner will tell you which you have to do.

Following directions from a sat nav

The examiner will provide the sat nav and set it up for you.

You can’t follow directions from your own sat nav during the test.

Going off the route

Your test result won’t be affected if you take a wrong turning unless you make a fault while doing it.

The examiner will help you get back on the route if you do.

If you can’t see traffic signs

If you can’t see a traffic sign (for example, because it’s covered by trees), the examiner will give you directions until you can see the next one.

If you make mistakes during your test

You can carry on if you make a mistake. It might not affect your test result if it’s not serious.

The examiner will only stop your test if they think your driving is a danger to other road users.

Be Test Ready

As mentioned previously in this article, the test pass rate is nowhere as high as it should be.

Over 50% of learner drivers fail their test and with an average pass rate across the UK of just 47.2% why should that be?

There are several reasons, but without a doubt, the biggest reason is going to test before being ready. It’s only natural to want to take a test as soon as possible and many students arrive with insufficient practice and experience.

During my own personal experience of over 17 years as an ADI, I remember well many students that had natural ability and they could cover the syllabus in around half the time to the average student. Now you may feel that’s a massive benefit to them as not only do they save a considerable amount of money on lesson fees but go to test much sooner. However, although they could deal with whatever came their way during lessons, they had far less experience than most and I have a number fail their test because a situation occurred during the test that they had not seen before and therefore were not able to deal with it.

To make a comparison with a student that is below average and takes far longer to reach test, they would have amassed considerable experience in many differing situations and are more likely to deal with any situation that occurs.

Nerves obviously play a part on the big day and many students appear to forget everything they have learnt! This is not the case of course and it has more to do with anxiety and the added pressure of performing for the examiner.

If I can offer some advice, I would suggest that you should be able to drive on your lesson with your instructor without making any serious faults and very few driver errors (often referred to as minor errors). If you are still making several errors during lessons, then clearly it will not “be alright on the night” and your driving is likely to get worse on the day.

When you can drive on your lessons without making errors, your confidence will grow and you will arrive at test much more assured. Yes, you will still have the nervous tingles but far too many students arrive for test unprepared and then use nerves as an excuse.

Article Summary


This is a very long and comprehensive document, so I will attempt to summarise the content.


Article Summary

Article Summary

Why Take Driving Lessons?

With an average UK practical test pass rate of only 47.2%, far too many students are failing their driving tests. Cutting corners with professional tuition may cost you more in the long run and the typical cost of a failed test is £112 (practical test fee of £62 and two hours of tuition @ £50). The most cost effective way is to take professional lessons and then supplement with private practice as most learning is not learning new topics but practising them. There have been many changes to the driving test in recent years and more to come in December 2017. Very few family or friends will be up to speed with current practices and you could be spending a lot of time practising getting it wrong.

Approved Driving Instructors

We have a whole page explaining the qualifications required to be on the register of approved driving instructors and what they will offer in professional services. Please see Driving Instructors for full details.

How Many Lessons are Required?

 Students learn at differing rates and the amount of lessons required will be determined by your own ability to take on board theory information and then apply in practical situations. The other factor will be the skill of your driving instructor and their ability to interact and get the best from you.

How to Gauge Quality and Value for Money?

There have been many changes in recent years to both the practical driving test and modern teaching methods. Just like any industry, the service and driving tuition you receive will depend on the driving school and driving instructor you choose. A top-quality driving lesson should follow this procedure and format. Recap from the previous lesson, interactive discussion to determine the objective, a discussion to determine who will take responsibility for each test, regular pull ups to discuss and evaluate, and end of lesson summary.

Male or Female Instructor?

There is a wide choice to choose from and your choice will be simply down to preference.

Automatic or Manual Lessons?

Passing your test in a manual vehicle (with gears and clutch) will enable you to drive both manual and automatic but passing in an automatic vehicle will restrict you to auto vehicles only. The demand for auto lessons has been increasing sharply over the past few years as automatic vehicles have become much more refined with better economy and smoother gear changing.

How to Choose Your Driving School or Driving Instructor

Seeking top quality customer reviews will take the risk away from simply choosing your driving instructor on price alone. Read through the reviews to find customers explaining key reasons for selecting a school or instructor and the reasons that are important to you. Be sure to look for driving school websites that use fully structured reviews that give a comprehensive description of the customer experience rather than a simple testimonial with no real substance. A good and extremely reliable UK directory site is where you will find fully authenticated reviews for your area. Just a word of warning, not all instructors are the same and this is reflected in the national driving test pass rate with over half of all practical driving tests being failed.

Special Needs Lessons

Should you feel that learning in a standard tuition vehicle will be difficult, choosing an automatic will overcome many issues. If you have a more severe disability, then this website is a great source of further information

How to Apply for Your Provisional Licence

Visit the government website

The Theory Test

 Visit the Government website

The Practical Driving Test

Take advice from your driving instructor as to when you are test ready. A good guide to being test ready will be indicated when you are able to drive on your lessons without making any serious faults and very few driver errors. Should you still be making mistakes, then this is only likely to get worse on test day with the extra pressure of being examined.

Hopefully, you will find the information contained in this article useful in your quest to gain your full driving licence and the independence that goes with it.


Author: Kelvin White.

Author: Kelvin White.








CEO Kelvin White Driving School Limited

CEO ADI Business Success Limited


Author Bio:

Kelvin White qualified as an approved driving instructor in 1999 and became a franchisee with a large national driving school until 2001. He then left the franchise to become an independent instructor and built a solid local reputation for providing quality tuition in his home town of Bridgwater in Somerset.

During 2010 Kelvin made the transition between independent instructor and business owner and launched Kelvin White Driving School. The School quickly expanded and by the end of 2012 was operating with over 30 franchised instructors.

A major part of the Schools success was down to the use of innovate marketing techniques in combination with many hours of research and business seminars. This success was documented and made available to driving instructors throughout the UK in the form of the membership site: