The first step, of course, is obtaining your Provisional Licence.
What is a Provisional Licence and how much does it cost?
Simply explained, it’s a small green card which permits you to learn to drive. Without one, you cannot legally drive – whether that’s driving lessons, or with a family member. So, make sure you apply for one before you intend to learn to drive, or take your theory test. To purchase one, you will need to be at least 15 years old and 9 months and be able to read a number plate from 20 metres away. But, please note that you will not be able to drive until you reach 17 years old.
You will need a few documents to confirm your identity, but the overall process is very quick – it costs £34 when you purchase it online, using the GOV.UK website. Alternatively, you can purchase your provisional licence by mail, but be wary, this method will cost you slightly more at £43.
If nothing goes wrong in your application process, you are likely to receive your physical green licence card within one week.
How much do driving lessons cost?
There is no simple answer to this question, as everybody takes different amounts of time to pass, but it takes most people, at least 45 hours of driving lessons and 22 hours of private practice driving before they are ready to pass their practical driving test.
That doesn’t sound like a lot of time to master driving, and it’s definitely not. You will continue to learn even after you have passed, but your lessons will provide you with a great basis, and give you the sufficient skills you need to start solo driving.
If you take longer, then don’t worry, you are not alone. Try not to rush this step – feeling ready is one major part of the process, and you may create anxiety if you aren’t ready to hit the road by yourself.
But back to the question at hand – cost of learning to drive. On average, you will be charged around £24 per hour for driving lessons. So, roughly speaking the overall cost of lessons, if you did the minimum recommended number of hours would cost you £1,128. However, if you do not have an adult over the age of 21 who has held a driving licence for three years, and does not have access to their own car, you may need more lessons with an instructor to get you up to speed.
Many instructors offer lesson bundles at a reduced rate, which may cost less in the long run. If you are lucky enough to have an adult who fits the standards needed to teach, and is willing to help you learn to drive in their car, then it’s vitally important that you first take out learner driver insurance before you even step foot in the car. Don’t forget your L plates too!
Do I need to use a qualified driving instructor?
We would always recommend using a qualified driving instructor to help teach you the basics of driving – but there is no legal requirement for you to take driving lessons, or complete a set amount of practice driving.
Because there is no legal requirement for you to take driving lessons, you can technically be taught by anyone over the age of 21, who has held a driving licence for 3, or more years. Although, you will need to have access to a car, learner driver insurance (alternatively, you can simply be added to a regular insurance policy as an additional driver), and some L plates to stick on the front, and back of the car.
While this option may be appealing for some, and rightfully so – the teaching experience and in-depth knowledge of the DVSA requirements that a qualified instructor has will likely see you pass quicker and easier than help from an unqualified parent or friend. So, seriously consider your options, and choose what is right for you.
How much does a Theory Test cost?
One of the essential steps in your journey to becoming a solo driver is taking your theory test. Only when you have passed your theory test will you be able to take your practical driving test – but don’t worry, you can take lessons and drive under supervision in the meantime.
But, to drive in the UK, you need to be at least 17 years old, so if you happen to apply for your provisional licence at the earliest possible moment (15 years 9 months old), you could pass the theory part before you even step foot in a car.
So, how much would taking your theory test cost you? It will cost £23 for a car and motorcycle test. Although it’s worth noting that, once you pass your test, you will have to pass your practical driving test within 2 years – after this time, you will have to re-take your test, and pay the fee once again.
How much does a Driving Test cost?
The final step in gaining some independence behind the wheel, and driving off into the sunset, is completing your practical driving test. Getting to this step will take quite a few hours of lessons, but hopefully it will all be worth it, when it comes to gaining the ability to drive.
But, just how much will this final step cost you? Depending on whether you book a weekday slot or a weekend one, you may be looking at different charges. If you are looking for the cheapest option, you can opt for this when it comes to booking your test – which will set you back £62, as standard for a weekday slot.
But, we know that this may be a little harder for you to do, especially if you work, or have college/uni to attend. So, there is an additional option for you to pay £75, allowing you to either book a weekend slot, or evening time frame.
It’s important to know that if you do not pass first time round, you will have to book another slot to take your driving test – but you will have to choose a date which is, at least, 10 working days after your initial test.
Now that you can drive, what’s the next step?
If you’ve passed your driving test then the next big step, and most costly, is buying your first car. Whatever make or model you are looking for, search Exchange and Mart for the best deals on used cars from local, trusted dealers in the UK. You can also find the latest new car reviews with our handy 10-point rating system to see the best rated models added to the market.