Learning to drive

Learning to drive ultimate guide for the future

Learning To Drive

In our real guide to learning to drive we look at the route of passage for many teenagers that will be hitting the age of 17 and looking forward to getting started with their driving lessons. The excitement of being able to drive themselves and their friends places after passing their driving test and getting their first car. 

But, before we get ahead of ourselves lets take a look at how things may have changed since parents and grandparents started their driving lessons.

Learning to drive

Learning to drive in the 1960's & 1970's

Now we know what your thinking, this was ages ago. To be more precise around 50 to 60 yeas ago, which would put grandparents at around 67 years of age or more. At around 1970 there were only 13.5 million cars on the roads in the UK at this time. Which meant learning to drive was much easier compared to todays learning to drive experience. With less vehicles on the road some were able to pass their driving test with just 10 hours of help from a driving instructor and the car of choice would something like this mini.  

Number of Cars on the road in 2000's

Lets jump to just 22 years ago, in the year 2000 there were a reported 27.2 million cars on the roads in the UK.  In just 30 years this has increased by 13.7 million new car drivers on the UK roads. Although new roads have been added and the introduction of motorways have helped with traffic flow, many areas have remained the same. With the increase in traffic volumes this has had an effect on the roads resulting in more road traffic accidents and road quality with pot holes appearing every year after winter.  

2000's learner car

How learning to drive has changed

Although the topic in hand is pretty much the same, many things have changed throughout the years. 

In the 1960s and 1970’s those wanting to learn to drive would have to use public transport or be dropped off at the driving school. Your driving instructor would then come out and take you for a driving lesson and then you would finish back at the driving school and you would have to make your own way home again. This was also in vehicles that did not have modern touches that todays learner vehicles do like power steering, ABS, 3 point seatbelts etc. 

As we move closer to the 2000’s we see that driving lessons have moved forward a little and now your driving instructor will collect you from your home or place of work. But usually this would be by the learner driver before you and then when they arrive to get you, they would simply get in the back and then you would have to drop them off during your lesson – this was known as ‘piggy backing’. this enabled the driving instructor to do back to back lessons without any travel time in between. Unfortunately with todays client confidentiality this is not possible although you may find a few driving instructors from this era still delivering driving lessons and doing this practice.  Back then instructors would tell you what to do and how to do it in order to pass a driving test. 

Learning to drive

Modern Practices

In today’s learning to drive experiences, the term “Driving Instructor” is used very loosely as we are not instructors anymore, as the DVSA introduced a new style of learning around 2015 and it was known as “Client Centered Learning” or CCL for short. This new style of learning means that rather than tell a student what to do or how to do it in order to pass a driving test and in a certain way. We use coaching methods and techniques to help the student understand situations better and this will then make learning to drive a much better experience and also make the roads a safe place for all users. 

How do we coach a learner driver

Coaching uses a question put to the learner driver in good time in a way that they can understand the outcome of what may happen if they left something too long or may react differently to a situation, without actually telling the student what the hazard is or what they need to do. By using this technique of coaching can help the student to understand why they should do things a certain way compared to how parents or grandparents may do something. 

Wrong way

Coaching works for everyone

Everyone is different and everyone learns in different ways, what coaching does is enables the learner driver to work with their driving instructor to get everyone on the same page and reach the same understanding. So that moving forward the learner can learn in a way that suits them best, which them enables them to grow the skills they need to be a safe driver not just on the day of their driving test but also for the rest of their driving days. 

How many hours will it take to pass

As you may guess, this is a common question asked to every driving instructor – and the simple answer is. It depends how hard you are willing to work and the effort you put into your driving lessons, Theory practice and revision should continue even after passing the theory test. Unlike in the 1960’s when there were 13 million cars on the road and people could pass in 10 hours. It would be a good starting point to plan for around 40 hours but again, this would be a guess and its ultimately down to you as the student. 

Driving test waiting

Driving Test waiting times

One of the major problems of wanting to learn to drive at the moment is finding a driving instructor that has availability, with many having waiting lists of 4 months or more. The DVSA are currently at its all time high with a test waiting time of 6 months. This is caused by many people wanting to learn to drive but without a driving instructor and in the meantime go and pass their theory test, upon passing they then go and book a practical driving test without ever having a driving lesson. this is then resulting in students that have an instructor unable to get a driving test for 6 months. 

on average

The average learner driver takes around 6 to 12 months to be at the required driving test standard to pass their driving test on the first attempt with regular weekly driving lessons. some may pass in a shorter period and some may take longer. The driving test waiting times would be reduced greatly if everyone that had never driven but have passed their theory test and have a driving test booked all just cancelled their practical driving tests, this would free up driving tests for those that are ready to take a driving test. this would then create spaces for new learner driver to get started. 

Pushy Parents

Many of our young adults that have their parents looking for driving instructors often do not have any interest in learning to drive and simply do them just to please their parents. Many of these young adults struggle with confidence and often have anxiety about getting behind the wheel. As an instructor, we can spot quite early if a student will not understand how to use the clutch and gears. But for many parents learning in a manual is the only route accepted by them. Even when speaking to parents, they simply say ” well if you pass in a manual you can drive both”, but at what expense? the 20 hours of manual lessons before leaving a carpark?

The future of Motoring

The future of motoring

With the future of motoring set on having all new cars sold in the UK in 2035 to be electric, what does this mean for learning to drive? all electric vehicles have a single phase motor which means no gears and no clutch, put simply they are kind of like an automatic. Many young adults learning to drive in 2022 have never even had a driving lesson in a manual, with their parents even making the changes and buying a hybrid car. By 2042 it is claimed that there wont be any manual driving tests conducted, with all vehicles being an automatic. 

Ready for change

With all countries in partnership for a cleaner way of life and cleaning up the ozone for our future generations to breathe and live better lives. all vehicle manufacturers are now starting to make the change with hybrid technology or electric alternatives. The main problem facing the UK at the moment is the charging infrastructure needed to make EV work efficiently for everyone. Not everyone will be able to have an EV where they live as they may not have a driveway or be able to get closer enough to an adapted streetlight to plug it in. 

A different way to charge a vehicle may need to be solved for those without a driveway. Another big factor is the cost involved to purchase an EV with prices starting at around £28k for a mid sized family car. There are small EV vehicles available, but with the compromise in price comes the much lower battery ranges, which means planning your journeys better and spending more time charging your car. 

But the big question still remains: Is it even worth learning to drive in a manual car now.