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Learner Driver Guide: Tips and Costs for New UK Drivers

5 minutes

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Starting to drive is a massive leap into independence. There’s a lot to consider when it comes to learning to drive, and even more when you’re finally told you’ve passed and are free to drive solo. 

Here at LV= we want to help you make the process of learning to drive both safe and enjoyable. That’s why we’ve pulled together these driving tips and road safety tips to help you and your family.
  • It’s important that your learner gets on with their instructor.
  • The driving test pass rate was 48.4% in 2023.
  • Just under half (48.3%) of learners pass their test first time. 

How much does it cost to learn to drive?

Before starting lessons, learner drivers need to apply for a provisional licence, which costs around £40.

They’ll then need to book some lessons with an instructor. The price varies depending on where you live, but it ranges from around £27 for an hour session. Top tip: if you bulk-buy lessons, it usually works out cheaper in the long run… so consider purchasing a handful of lessons as a birthday or Christmas present.

Before taking the driving test, learners will need to pass a driving theory test which costs £23. It’s worth spending time helping them revise for it, as if they fail, they’ll need to book and pay for another. Once passed, the ‘on-the-road’ driving test will cost £62. Check out our guide to UK driving tests to find out more about each test.

How to find a suitable and fully qualified instructor

  • Research the reviews and ratings of instructors online and check out their qualifications. This is something you can do with the learner but, ultimately, it’s their decision so let them pick.
  • Get to know the instructor – it’s important your learner gets on with their driving instructor. Don’t be afraid to change instructors after a few lessons if you feel it’s not a good match. 
  • Ask friends and family – word of mouth is always a great way to find someone that’s right for the job so ask other parents who’ve helped their child pass their test.

A fully qualified, approved driving instructor (ADI) will have passed their exams and will then be assessed every two to four years by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Authority (DVSA). This makes sure their teaching standards are maintained. Fully qualified instructors are more likely to have the experience needed to help them pass.

 

Get learner driver insurance and take them out yourself

Not everyone will be able to have constructive driving lessons with their parents but it’s worth giving it a try at least once or twice. The extra practice and guidance from an experienced driver can have a massive impact on their ability and confidence. 

If you don’t feel confident enough to take them out on the road but want to make sure they get some extra practice in, ask a friend or relative. As long as they’re 21 years old and have held a full licence for at least three years, they’ll be able to go out with a learner.

Here’s everything you need to know about adding a learner driver to your existing car insurance policy. This will likely be their first experience of the insurance world, so go through the process with them to help them understand how it works and what on earth fully comprehensive means! You may also find our car owner’s guide to MOTs, car insurance and car tax useful.

Passing on your driving tips can be stressful, especially if your child’s determined not to listen, but try to persevere. Learner driver insurance means you can take them out without worrying too much. However, if you find it’s more stressful than helpful – leave it to the professionals.

 

Encourage theory test revision

Studying at home for the theory test is really simple but it takes time. Young people usually have to fit driving lessons alongside their education, part-time jobs and other commitments, so try to be patient and encouraging. 

Talk to them and find out how to best support them. They may want to do it all by themselves, while others will need prompts to actually pick up the book or view the online resources. As they get closer to the test, give them some quizzes using flash cards or driving theory test revision apps.

When it comes to understanding things like single and dual carriageways, sometimes it’s helpful for them to be able to picture examples that they often experience. Take them out as a passenger and point out different types of roads and signs.

Practice makes perfect

The good news is the driving test pass rate was 48.4% in 2023, which is above pre-pandemic levels... so today’s learners are doing something right – likely getting out on the road regularly, practising over and over. But the challenge is making that first turn off the driveway. That first drive can be intimidating, so make sure you’re around to offer to accompany them on their first few journeys without their instructor – a familiar face often helps! But remember, no one likes a back-seat driver… so leave the lessons to the experts.

If you have learner driver insurance, it’s a good idea to take your learner out for a long drive in the days leading up to the test. This will help them feel at ease behind the wheel, comfortable with the car, and help them with their concentration skills.

If you have learner driver insurance, it’s a good idea to take your learner out for a long drive in the days leading up to the test.

Ease the pressure

When you’ve been driving for what seems like forever, it’s easy to forget how difficult and stressful learning to drive can be, so if you’re going out on the road with your learner, try not to get too frustrated with them – even if you do feel a little worried for your car’s bodywork at times. And when it comes to the big day, try to stay relaxed. We know you can’t wait to stop giving the kids a lift everywhere, but try not to put too much pressure on them to pass first time… just under half (48.3%) of learners passed first time in 2023.

If they’re particularly nervous, you can always recommend additional training such as Pass Plus. Another option to consider is an Advanced Driver Course as it develops a wide range of driving skills. Whatever you choose, brushing up on the Highway Code regularly is always advisable.

 

Getting on the road once they’ve passed

First things first, celebrate them passing their driving test… it’s a big achievement and opens up a whole new world for them! Once the provisional licence has been traded in for the full version, you’ll be thinking about buying new driver insurance, which can be expensive.

You may have added a learner driver to your multi-car policy while they were learning to drive their own car (or learning in your car) - continuing with a multi car policy can be a good way to help them build up their no claim discount (NCD) with their own vehicle, which will reduce the cost over time.

New drivers can also benefit from being careful about what type of car they buy as the car insurance group it falls into can have a big impact on the policy on offer.

Whether your child is getting a car of their own or sharing a vehicle depends on circumstances. If a new driver is getting a car, however, there are a few things to consider. It’ll obviously need to be safe and reliable, suitable for your budget and ideally have a small engine, as this will help keep the cost down due to reduced car tax and new driver insurance policies.

 

Helping new drivers feel confident 

After being used to driving with company for so long, it may be daunting to drive alone for the first time. Encourage your new driver to set goals and achieve them bit by bit. Maybe they can drive to the shops to pick up some milk? A short journey on familiar roads can help them build their confidence.

You may also want to get some ‘P’ plates to replace the ‘L’ plates. Although not needed by law, it can help other drivers understand that someone is inexperienced and – hopefully – they’ll give them more time and not put pressure on them to exit roundabouts or junctions before they’re ready. 

 

Ready to get started? LV= can help with learner driver insurance, and our multi car policy is a great option for new driver insurance.

 

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