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How much does it cost to learn to drive?

Driving lessons with a professional instructor make up the bulk of learning-to-drive costs. But there’s more to it than that. We breakdown the costs and look at ways you could save.

A learner driver navigates a car around traffic cones

Cost of provisional licence

It costs £34 to get a provisional driving licence if you apply online or £43 through the post.

You need a provisional driving licence to begin learning to drive on UK roads. Depending on your situation, you might be able to take official driving lessons on the motorway too.

A provisional licence means you can drive under the supervision of a driving instructor. You can also learn with another driver over the age of 21 who has held a full driving licence for at least three years.

 

Cost of driving lessons

According to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) data, the number of lessons you’ll need to pass partly depends on your age – the younger you are, the fewer you’ll need. But then it also comes down to the individual as well. The DVLA says the average learner driver requires 47 lessons and 22 hours of private practice to pass their test.

Driving instructors claim it can also be a function of how good the driving school is – if that’s right then using a better quality driving school could end up saving you money.

The AA, for example, charges existing pupils from £25 per hour for driving lessons, though currently offers a discount of £4 an hour on your first 10 lessons. This would bring the cost of 47 lessons to £1,135.

The DVLA has previously put the average cost of driving lessons in the UK at £24 an hour, so £1,128 for 47 lessons. But it says the cost of learning to drive partly depends on where you live, with the average price rising to £30 per hour in London – £1,410 for 47 lessons.

You can also book an intensive driving course, potentially enabling you to pass your test in a shorter space of time – an intensive course can cost as much as £2250.

 

How much do driving tests cost?

You’ll need to pass the driving theory test before doing your practical driving test – it costs £23 to book the theory test online. It’s also worth downloading The Official DVLA Theory Test and Hazard Perception Kit app to help you pass the theory test – a 30-day subscription to the app costs £15.

Once you’ve passed the theory test and you’re ready, the final step is to take your practical driving test. The DVLA charges £62 to take its standard practical driving test on a weekday or £75 for evenings, weekends and bank holidays.

If you want to use your driving instructor’s car to take your test, then you’ll need to book them for an additional hour, so we’ll assume that adds another £25 to the total cost.

 

How much does it cost to learn to drive?

Based on these figures, the total cost of learning to drive could cost around £1,294 (excluding the cost of a car, insurance or tax):

Learning to drive costs Cost
Provisional driving license
£34
47 lessons with AA
£1,135
Theory test
£23
Theory test app subscription
£15
Practical driving test
£62
Use of instructor’s car on test day
£25
Total
£1,294

 

Cost of first car

Surveys have shown that British parents typically spend between £3,000-£4000 on their child’s first car. With hundreds of thousands of used cars for sale in the UK, there’s plenty of choice in the second-hand market for a first car.

How much tax you pay when you come to register the car depends on the make and model as well as its emissions, but your car should typically cost £140 to tax.

 

Cost of learner insurance

If you’re using your own car to learn in, you can opt to insure it for 12 months on a provisional licence. For those practicing in someone else’s car, then temporary learner car insurance offers a solution. The average cost of learner driver insurance for 17-21 year olds through Tempcover is £116.77* (based on 14 days cover).

Policies of various durations are available for learner drivers. It’s best to shop around so you get the best possible quote on your car insurance.

 

How do I cut the cost of learning to drive?

The cost of learning to drive soon adds up, but with a little planning there are plenty of savings to be had. Most of the cost of learning to drive comes from the driving lessons you take out with professional instructors.

But don’t compromise on the quality of the lesson for the sake of lower prices. Where you can, it’s best to go with a qualified and approved driving instructor.

Look for discounts

Make sure you take some time to shop around for the best deals on lessons. A number of driving schools offer reduced rates for introductory lessons, and some may even offer them for free.

You can also search sites like Groupon, Wowcher or HotUKdeals for local driving schools offering special rates for the first few hours of tuition.

Block book

Paying for your tuition on a lesson-by-lesson basis could cost you more. Most driving schools offer discounts when you book lessons in blocks, with a block of 10 hours being standard.

Take your test only when ready

Don’t rush to take your test – only take the practical driving test once you’re absolutely sure.

Yes, you’re eager to rip up your L-plates and get your full driving licence. But if you jump the gun and take your test before you’re ready, you could be lining yourself up for a fall.

In addition to having to take extra lessons between tests, you risk having to pay to re-take the test itself.

The extra time and money you spend on lessons to make sure you’re ready for the test could work out as being more cost effective in the long run. Study your highway code and road signs, and get in lots of driving practice with family or friends between driving lessons.