Category Learner Driver Resources

The Costs and Learning to Drive

Learning to drive can be one of the most exciting yet stressful times in your life, and it doesn’t matter if you’re ready to take to the roads the minute you turn 17, or you decide to learn later in life. The trouble is many people don’t think about the cost implications, and that’s why some careful planning is needed. In the following few words, we aim to let you know about the costs associated with learning this all important skill.

Provisional Licence

Before you can sit behind the wheel of a car, there are two things you have to remember. One, you need to be 17 years of age (or 16 if you qualify under disability law). Two, you must have a provisional licence. This licence will currently cost you £50, so that’s the first outlay you should think about.

You should also remember that you cannot drive alone on a provisional licence. If you do, and get caught you may end up with a hefty fine (not the best way to start spending your hard earned cash)! Anyone who accompanies you in the car must have a full driving licence that’s at least 3 years old, and they must be at least 21.

Learning Materials

Some people think they can take shortcuts when it comes to using various learning materials, but this will only hold you back and that won’t help your budget. Remember, you have to pay for your driving test, and the more times you fail the more it will cost you.

Instead, make sure you have the money to buy at least the minimum amount of materials you need. These include a CD-Rom on hazard perception, and three books which include the Highway Code, the Official DSA Theory Test Question Bank and Driving – The Essential Skills. All of these can be found either online or in your local book shop, and should cost you about £30.

Driving Instructors

These people are highly trained in what they do, and in some cases it can cost as much as £20 per hour. However, do your research because many reputable driving schools will have offers from time to time. For instance, if you book a block of 10, you can get one additional lesson free. You may also come across deals such as 2 lessons for the price of one for novice drivers.

Don’t Cut Corners

All of the points above are vital if you’re going to successfully pass both your theory and practical driving exam so you can at last be free to drive your own car. If you decide not to use a professional instructor for instance, it could cost you more money in the long-run. These people are incredibly important during the learning process, and they can help you learn far quicker than if you were to rely on a friend or family member.

By saving enough money to cover the cost of your provisional licence, learning materials and the cost of your exams along with a few professional lessons, you’ll soon be joining the many millions of other drivers on the road.

Aids for Learning to Drive – Use Them!

If you regularly read the blogs on our website, you will know that we tell you over and over again that learning to drive can be a pretty stressful business. Not only are you about to learn something that’s completely foreign to you, you’re also going to be in charge of handling a vehicle on the open roads which can have it’s dangers.

Today, we’re going to give you some information on what aids there are to help you pass your test with flying colours. If you don’t already know there are two parts to a driving test these days, and they are the theory test (which comes first), and the practical test which you won’t be able to take until you’ve passed the first one.

Here are some of the more obvious things you can do:

  • Get plenty of practical help from friends and relatives, BUT don’t rely on them solely in terms of teaching you to drive. The main reason for this (apart from frazzled nerves) is every single driver will pick-up their own bad habits, and you don’t need these being passed on to you. This brings us to the next point.
  • Get a professional driving instructor. If you’re not sure how to go about this, there is plenty of information elsewhere on our website to help you.

The Less Obvious

Text Books:

There are a myriad of text books that will teach you all about what’s expected of you when you take both your theory and practical test. The DVLA website is very helpful in this respect, and you’ll find plenty of information on books they recommend.


Again there is plenty to choose from in this respect, you only have to take a look on the internet and you’ll be met with lots of reputable online retail sites that have DVD’s to help you through the process when you’re learning to drive.

These are a great additional aid to use because they’re visual. It’s much easier to take pictures in than words (for most people), and if you use this resource in conjunction with text books it will give you the head start you need.


One of the best ways to make sure you take in what you’re learning is to practice. We have already mentioned relying on friends and family from a practical point of view, but lean on them as well when it comes to testing your knowledge.

A Couple More Tips

  • Don’t sit back and think you can just book your theory or practical test and cram everything in right before you’re due to take it. This will just confuse you, and you may not remember everything.
  • Aids for learning to drive are there for a reason and the more you use them, the easier it will all fit into place.

As said, this can be a daunting time in your life but remember you’re not the only one and thousands of people gain their full driving licence every-day. If you use the proper aids to help you, you could soon be one of them!

How to Apply for a Provisional Driving Licence

So, you’ve just turned 17 and you’re eager to learn how to drive. Or, you could be someone that’s always been a bit nervous about learning, but you’ve decided to face your fears and go for it. Well, happy belated 17th birthday, and good for you that you’ve decided to get out there and learn how to drive!

However, you cannot do this without a provisional licence. If you do drive on the open roads without one and get stopped, you could be in a whole heap of trouble so make sure you follow the rules.

What You Will Need

Whether you like it or not, the DVLA will have to gather some personal information about you. The reason for this is they need to be sure that you are in fact, allowed to learn how to drive. Of course, any personal information will be protected and not passed on to anyone that shouldn’t have it.

So, what will you need?

  • You must be a resident of the UK.
  • Obviously, you need to be old enough to drive and can prove this.
  • You must let the DVLA know if there are any problems with your eyesight. This won’t necessarily stop you from being able to apply, but additional checks might be needed. Be honest! It will come back on you if you’re not, and the reason for that is your eyesight will be checked at some point.
  • You must have a valid UK passport or some other form of ID such as a certificate of Naturalisation or Residence Permit.
  • You will be asked for your National Insurance number (if you have one).
  • You will also be asked to provide your address, or addresses for the past 3 years.
  • A valid credit or debit card will also be needed (if you’re applying online) because there is a charge of £50 for the licence.

How to Apply

Most people will apply online these days, and the DVLA have made it very easy for you to do as long as you have all the documents detailed above. You can however, still apply through the post by completing something called a D1 application form. These can be found at your local post-office.

If you do intend to apply by post make sure you have original documents to prove your identity. If you send copies, the application will be denied. You will also need to send a photograph. For this, it’s best to use a passport style photo. Other than that, you will just need to send either a cheque or postal order for the £50 charge. The address to send your completed form and other documentation is provided on the form.

Don’t Worry!

For first time drivers all of this can seem pretty daunting, but there really is nothing to worry about (as long as you have nothing to hide). All the documents required are pretty standard and easy to get hold of. Just make sure you’re honest and within 2 to 6 weeks you’ll be able to book your first driving lesson.

Happy learning!

Finding the Right Driving Instructor

There is loads of information to be found on the internet giving you advice about how to go about learning to drive. Many articles will start by telling you that if you’re in your teens, this is probably one of the most stressful things you can do (apart from taking your exams), and this is true. However, the process can be made a whole lot easier if you find the right instructor to help you.

Friends and Relatives

Money is tight for a lot of people right now, and turning to a friend or relative to help you learn to drive might seem like a great way to save the cost of using a properly qualified instructor. However, this might raise your stress levels as well as have the person sat next to you reaching for the blood pressure pills!

You see, driving instructors don’t just go through training so they can learn how to teach you to drive according to current Government regulations, they also learn how to keep their cool. The chances are you won’t have your own car, which means using the car that belongs to the friend or relative that’s agreed to help you.

Whilst their intentions may be well meant, their first thought will be to protect their precious vehicle, and the slightest mistake made by you could result in a lot of waving of arms and general panic. For this reason, it’s a good idea to save up so you can use an instructor.

What to Look For

When you first start your search there are a couple of things to look out for:

  • Make sure you use a properly registered company. It’s OK to go with a privately owned firm, but you should make some additional checks.
  • Ensure the person who is going to teach you has the proper credentials. This means they should be an Approved Driving Instructor and hold the ADI badge. This qualification is issued by the Driving Standards Agency, so make sure you check this out – it’s VITALLY important.
  • Make sure the car you will be learning to drive in is legal and properly insured to protect you should anything go wrong while you’re on the road.

You and Your Driving Instructor

It’s not just about making sure you find a reputable instructor to help you learn to drive so you pass your test with flying colours; it’s also about knowing you can feel comfortable with the person sat next to you in the car.

It won’t hurt to take a lesson or two from a couple of different instructors. You need to make sure you can get on with them. If you’re not comfortable, you won’t take in what’s being relayed to you, and your chances of making dangerous mistakes could be heightened.

Bear in mind how professional your instructor is. Do they smoke when you’re in the vehicle? Are they clear and concise with their instructions? Above all, are they calm and reassuring when you do make a mistake, (in the beginning you will do this).

Taking some (if not all) of the advice above will send you on the first step to gaining your very own full driving licence.

Action Plan for Learning to Drive

The forthcoming Easter holidays are a perfect time to take a break from work and studying, sit back and re-evaluate how the plans we made for this year back in January are genuinely panning out. Had you decided that this was going to be the year you were going to learn to drive but that plan has yet to turn into reality?  Has your plan taken a back seat?

If it has then don’t panic and consider the following before rushing to dial the first driving school number you come across.

Provisional License

Before you can get behind the wheel of a car, you will need to in possession of a Provisional driving license. The form you require to apply for one is called a D1 and you can either pick up a copy at your local Post Office or downloaded online. Your bank balance will require the mere sum of £50 plus a little extra for 2 x passport photographs, the cost of an envelope and a stamp!

Be sure to read the D1 form thoroughly so that you are sending ALL the required identification documentation the DVLA need in order to process your application. This will include ensuring that your photographic ID is certified by a person who is not related to you but has known you for more than 2 years. Be aware that if you decide to approach someone like your doctor then they will charge an administration fee for the privilege! It is also worth noting that the Post Office offers a service whereby they will check though your applications to ensure you send it off correctly.

Costs Involved

When I first learnt to drive I was very lucky as my own private bank (otherwise known as “Daddy”) paid for everything for me, however after having failed my first test this particular bank decided I should learn to stand on my own two feet and pay for the second time around myself! Your budget will determine how many lessons you can take per week which in turn will dictate how long you can expect to take to pass you test based on your learning abilities. You will also need to take into account the costs involved in sitting your Theory and Practical tests. (Currently this stands at a minimum of £93.00).

Driving lessons themselves will vary depending from Driving School to Driving School and whether you have the savings to bulk book a series of lessons in one go. There are often good discounts to be had if you can do the latter rather than paying as you go. Seen as Government statistics show that it takes an average of 47 lessons before you can think about taking your test, it may be prudent to plan a savings scheme before actually booking any lessons.

Driving Schools

With most things in life, when you are looking to invest time and money in something, it always a good idea to research the options available to you, it is no different with a Driving School. You will need to spend a lot of time in a car with someone who is not only teaching you but is also ensuring your health and safety. You need to consider a lot about your potential instructor including personality, temperament, and patience as well as their teaching abilities. Often recommendation from someone who has had a good experience with the results they desired is a good way to source a Driving Instructor.


Helpful resources to learn to drive

When I learnt to drive, the only resource available to me was a book which had in its pages the Highway Code. Other than that I had to listen to my instructor during my lessons. Technology was not what we know today; owning a computer or a mobile phone was a luxury, DVD’s were not available and the likes of YouTube had not even been thought of.  When they could, my friends and my mum would test me.  However; these times were often far and few between due to their other commitments with work etc…

The driving test is now more involved than when I took it and in my opinion this is as it should be so as to ensure the health and safety of all those using our roads however; so is technology and the ways in which we can use it. The resources available to day for those learning to drive are much more accessible and the ways in which we can use them are more effective and motivating than simply memorizing information from a book.

  • Mobile Phone Applications

Most people now own a mobile phone and they do so much more than make telephone calls; for those learning to drive there are some amazing applications which will afford them such things as access to over 900 of the current authorised test questions for the Theory Test. It will simulate the test environment and if you get an answer wrong it will explain the theory behind the correct answer. The applications are available to download instantly with free and paid for versions for as little as £1.99.

  • PC DVD Rom

The Driving Test Premium Edition Software from Avanquest covers every aspect of learning to drive; the Theory Test, Hazard Perception, Practical Test, Driving Lessons and Car Maintenance. It is the way in which the information is afforded the user which makes this software worth every penny of its £20. The videos of driving lessons and the driving test cover absolutely every aspect of what to expect and allow you to interact with them and learn, so that there are no surprises in store when the day of your actual test arrives.

  • CD’s / Download

Whether you own an iPod or similar or still rely on your car and home stereo, there are various audio resources available for download and on compact disc, covering not only the basics like the Theory Test but also such things as techniques to improve your confidence and calm your nerves. The benefit of this kind of technology is that it allows you learn whilst travelling to and from work or college and even when you are at home cooking, cleaning or just relaxing.

Most of the DVD and CD resources are available either by download or box sets, in their entirety or obtainable section by section.

The cost of learning to drive has increased since I took my test yet I have found that the resources available in today’s market are priced such that whatever your budget there will be an effective, interactive and motivating tool available to use whether you require it for at home, work, college or whilst on the go.

Take some time to visit our website where you will find practical driving tips and advice.