Learning to drive isn’t cheap, but, these days, it’s essential. Whether it’s you or your child taking to the wheel for the first time, the chances are that you’ll be paying some – if not all – of the expenses. Izzy from PassSmart has written this guide in order to help you break down the costs, and work out exactly how much pressure getting that pink licence is going to put on your purse strings.
Before you have any lessons, you must apply for a provisional licence. This will cost £50 and and can be ordered from the DVLA. You can order it before your 17th birthday, meaning you can start learning straight away. When you pass, your provisional is upgraded to a full licence for free.
Getting in a lot of practice before taking your theory is vital, as it costs £31 a go. The test is made up of two parts; 50 multiple choice questions and a hazard perception task. You must get 43 out of 50 in the multiple choice, and 44 out of 75 in the hazard perception part, in order to pass.
Now to the practical part. Lessons vary in price, depending on your location and driving instructor, but, on average, an hour lesson will cost between £20-£30.
It may be tempting to try and find the cheapest instructor possible, but bear in mind that the more lessons you have, the more it will cost. Choosing an instructor based upon their experience and teaching approach may well save you money in the long term.
The practical test
Don’t try and rush your lessons to get to your test quickly because a practical test will cost you £62 on a weekday and £75 on an evening, weekend or bank holiday.
On average, people pass on their second test, so that’s two tests at £124 or more, and the price of your lessons in between. Although the DSA are trying to cut waiting times at test centres, there could be a three or four week wait before you can take another test. If you do find yourself in this situation, cut down on costs by practicing as much as possible in your own car with a family member. Combine these with a couple of lessons with your instructor to keep yourself familiarised with the car you’re taking your test in.
Once you’ve passed
The costs don’t stop once you’ve heard those wonderful words ‘congratulations, you’ve passed’. Buying your first car and paying for insurance, road tax and petrol are all things you need to consider.
Of course, you don’t have to buy your own car straight away. Teens might be able to share with parents or siblings, depending on how much they’re planning to use the car. That way, the costs of running a car can be divided.
Weighing up the costs
If you find yourself wondering whether or not it’s worth learning to drive, consider the benefits of having your own freedom. Do you have to get the bus to work? What happens if it’s late or you miss it? Is picking your children up from school a nightmare? Getting your licence could be the end to all of that.
Being able to drive is also a great asset to have on your CV. If your child has just graduated, or is trying to get their first job, having a licence could be what makes them stand out. Not only will it let the employer know that they’re flexible and reliable, but it also gives them career opportunities outside of your local area.
Learning to drive may be expensive, but, for many, a driving licence is a necessity. It’s up to you to weigh up the costs with the benefits, but there are many things to consider. If, for example, your circumstances change, having a licence may become more important in the future, so whether or not you buy a car straight away, getting road legal is certainly worth it.
This guest post was written for Larger Family Life by Izzy from PassSmart.com; the new way to find your perfect driving instructor.