Learning to drive? Some tips and tricks to get you on the road
A recent report by the BBC showed a severe drop in new drivers in the last seven years has shown that many think driving is being priced out of the learner’s price range. From paying for lessons and your driving test, through to buying and insuring your new car, there’s plenty of expenditure to be outlaid before even putting foot to pedal, not to mention the problems that arise if an accident happens.
Insurance can be something of a tricky area to navigate, especially for a driver with no years on the road behind them. However, it’s imperative that you are insured before you even take your car for a spin, even as a learner. For the best prices, a comparison site for provisional insurance can be the best path to saving a decent amount of money.
There are a number of methods to reduce the full expense of learning to drive to some extent, or guarantee a shorter period of learning. Short courses, which normally take place over a week, can save you money by reducing the amount of time taken to pass the test. This is all dependent on the teaching methods and how confident the driver is when they start. However, although the amount of hours you spend driving in a car may be similar to driving lessons once a week, you won’t be experience the variety of conditions of rain, night or high winds that you may experience after learning to drive over a longer period. An assessment lesson can often establish whether the crash course will be relevant to you as a driver, and will cost between £900 and £1000.
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A provisional licence can be applied for three months prior to turning 17, and the theory test can be taken as soon as your provisional license is received. This means time can be saved by revising early and taking the test while learning, rather than waiting until the practical test is passed. It also makes the learning process a touch smoother, as information learned can be converted onto the road. Getting a relative to take you out in a car every once in a while can also help you pass your test quickly and can help save you money. Driving in a non-dual control car also makes it easier to begin trusting yourself as a driver, and becoming used to not having someone in the car telling you what to do.
When the time comes to take a test, alternative test centres may have a shorter waiting list than your local centre. There’s also the possibility of gaining a cancelled appointment at short notice, so if you’ve got the time and availability notify the test centre and you can be put on a waiting list. If you don’t pass first time, there are intensive courses that can identify and eradicate issues raised, making you prepared for your second test in a more rapid manner. When you do pass your test, it’s worth opting for a car with smaller engine to keep insurance costs down. It’s also worth remembering that cars made before 1st of January 1973 are exempt from tax, as are cars with less than 100g/km of carbon emissions.