How Learning to Drive Has Changed

How Learning to Drive Has Changed

As we all know, the name Henry T. Ford comes up time and time again when we talk about the motor car (a bit of an old fashioned way to put it, but then that’s the way Mr. Ford would have liked it)! We first saw cars come to our roads back in 1903, and back then there was no such thing as a driving test.

In fact, if you had the money (and you needed plenty) you could simply buy one, switch it on (or wind it up) and take to the roads. However, in the summer of 1935 the driving test was introduced, and I’m sure anyone reading this will understand why. At that time, there were fewer than 1.5 million cars on the road in the UK which is a far cry from the 38 million we see today, and that number is growing!

So, what is it that’s changed about learning to drive since then? Let’s take a look.


Unfortunately, the driving test was not well received when it first came out, especially for people who had already been “merrily” using the roads. So, the Government issued plenty of film to let people know it was nothing to be afraid of but was indeed, compulsory.

Or course, back then there were no such things as indicators so the learner was taught various hand signals so other drivers knew what they were up to. Other things such as an eyesight test, knowing the Highway Code and general road safety were also tested. Interestingly, learner plates (as we know them today) were also in use.


Technology had already moved on when cars were being produced at this time, but hand signals were still in use when learning to drive for people who were yet to afford one with this “new technology”. If you’re interested, you may want to ask a grandparent or even one of your parents about this.

By now however, the driving test had changed. The mirror, signal, manoeuvre was put in place plus, you were also tested on an emergency stop.

Present Day

Anyone who is currently learning how to drive will probably be a little shocked to learn how simple it was to gain a driving licence in years gone by however, given the number of vehicles there are on the roads these days we do have to respect the lengths the DVLA goes to.

Today, (as you probably know) there is a theory test as well as a practical driving test. If you are new to the whole world of learning to drive it can still be daunting but unlike in the 1930’s there is plenty of help available both online and in your local book shop.

It is true that learning to drive has changed an awful lot, but as we all know moving with the times is what matters. Just remember that even though you might wish it was easy as it used to be, there are very good reasons for the safety measures that are in place today.


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