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How much does it cost to learn to drive?

How much does it cost to learn to drive?
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The ability to drive is a useful skill to have, but the process takes time and money. If you have ever wondered how much it costs to learn to drive, don’t worry. This article tells you everything you need to know.

Before you start

Before you can start learning to drive, there are specific criteria that you must meet. You need to make sure that:

  • You’re over 17 years old
  • You have a provisional licence for Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  • You can read a new-style number plate from 20 metres away with glasses or contact lenses if you need them, which you must wear when driving
  • The vehicle you will learn to drive in is roadworthy, properly taxed and insured
  • You have L plates on the front and rear of the vehicle
  • You will be accompanied by a qualified driver over 21 years of age who has held a full driving licence for at least three years

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How much it costs to learn to drive

When thinking about how much it costs to learn to drive, it’s best to break it down into different sections. According to research undertaken by Collingwood Insurance, the itemised costs are as follows:

Licence application

You will need to apply for a provisional licence from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). This will cost £34 if you apply online, or £43 if you apply by post.

Test applications

If you want to learn to drive, you will need to apply for two tests:

  • The theory test at a cost of £23
  • The practical driving test at a cost of £62 if taken during working hours or £75 if taken in the evening (after 4:30pm) at the weekend, or on a bank holiday

You cannot book both tests at the same time. Once you have passed the theory test you will get a test pass certificate with a number. This number is submitted when you apply for the practical test.

Driving lessons

This is where it starts to get expensive. The price varies, but on average lessons cost £24 per hour.

According to the DVLA, an average learner will need around 47 lessons before they are ready for the practical test, so the total cost could be £1,128.

Bear in mind that this is an average amount. Some learner drivers struggle and need more lessons, while others need fewer.

Total cost

To summarise, the costs are as follows:

  • Licence application = £34
  • Theory test application = £23
  • Practical test application = £75
  • Driving lessons = £1,128

So the total cost of learning to drive could be £1,260

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Delays due to the pandemic

Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic and associated lockdowns have resulted in delayed tests and increased wait times.

There is a backlog of around 380,000 learners waiting to take their theory tests and 420,000 learners that have booked their practical tests.

So when thinking about how much it costs to drive during the pandemic, there may be some additional costs.

Learners who have been without access to a car during lockdowns may need to take refresher lessons. This will ensure the maintenance of skills and road confidence gained while learning.

Learners waiting for their practical test may need to check the expiry date on their theory test pass certificate. The certificate is valid for two years. Unfortunately, if this expires during the delay, the theory test will need to be taken again.

An extra four hours of refresher lessons will bring the total amount to £1,356. Retaking a theory test will add on another £23.

Take home

It can be difficult learning to drive during these unprecedented times, but with lockdowns starting to ease, things should slowly get back to normal.

Fortunately, the Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is currently working on increasing testing capacity by recruiting an additional 300 examiners. This should help to reduce waiting times.

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