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Driving Lessons: Should I learn with an instructor or relative?

By Mathilda Bartholomew | June 21, 2023

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We delve into the pros and cons of each option and explore which is more cost-effective for new drivers in the UK.

Driving Lessons: Should I learn with an instructor or relative?

Learning to drive is an exciting milestone in a person's life, but it also comes with decisions to make. One important choice is whether to take driving lessons with a professional instructor or rely on a friend or family member to teach you. Regit delves into the pros and cons of each option and explores which is more cost-effective for new drivers in the UK.

Driving Lessons with a Professional Instructor

Pros:

Expertise and Experience

Driving instructors are trained professionals who possess in-depth knowledge of the driving curriculum and the latest regulations. They can provide structured lessons tailored to your learning style, ensuring you develop essential driving skills and knowledge.

Confidence 

Learning with a professional instills confidence in new drivers. Instructors are trained to deal with nervous or anxious learners, creating a safe and supportive environment. They are also well-versed in teaching defensive driving techniques, enhancing overall safety on the road.

Safety

One significant advantage of learning with a professional instructor is their access to dual control vehicles. These cars are equipped with an extra set of controls, including an additional set of pedals and sometimes a separate steering wheel, which the instructor can operate from the passenger seat. This means the instructor can intervene if necessary, ensuring the learner and others on the road are protected. 

Test Preparation

Instructors are familiar with the driving test requirements and can help you prepare effectively, increasing your chances of passing the test on your first attempt

Cons:

Scheduling Flexibility

While most driving instructors offer flexible schedules, availability can be limited, especially during peak hours or weekends. This may result in longer wait times for lessons or conflicts with other commitments.

Instructor-Student Compatibility

It's essential to find an instructor who matches your learning style and personality. In some cases, the chemistry between an instructor and student may not be a perfect fit, affecting the overall learning experience.

Learning in a Friend/Family Member's Car

Pros:

Cost Savings

Learning with a friend or family member can be significantly cheaper or even free. You can split the cost of fuel, and there are no instructor fees to consider.

Familiarity and Comfort

Being taught by someone you know can create a more relaxed and comfortable learning environment. This can be especially beneficial for individuals who may feel nervous or intimidated during formal lessons.

Flexible Scheduling

Learning with a friend or family member allows for greater scheduling flexibility. You can arrange lessons at mutually convenient times, potentially reducing wait times.

Cons:

Lack of Professional Training

Friends or family members may not possess the same level of expertise as professional driving instructors. They may inadvertently pass on bad habits or outdated driving techniques, which can impact your overall driving skills.

Limited Teaching Experience

While your friend or family member may be an excellent driver, teaching driving skills requires a separate set of skills. They may not have the necessary teaching techniques to effectively convey knowledge or address specific learning needs.

Strained Relationships

The dynamics between learners and their loved ones can sometimes be challenging. Conflicts may arise due to differing opinions, frustrations, or the stress of learning to drive. This can put a strain on relationships, which is an important consideration.

Cost Comparison:

When considering the cost of learning to drive, it's important to factor in the expenses related to insurance, especially if you choose to learn in a friend or family member's car. Let's compare the costs of professional driving lessons with a driving instructor and learning with a relative or friend, taking insurance into account. In addition to the lesson fees, there are theory and practical test fees ranging from £23 to £85 each.

Driving lessons with a professional instructor typically range from £24 to £30 per hour, with an average learner requiring around 40 to 50 hours of lessons. This results in a total cost of approximately £960 to £1,500. 

On the other hand, if you opt to learn in a friend or family member's car, insurance becomes a crucial expense to consider. Most insurance policies require adding a learner driver to the existing policy or obtaining a separate policy specifically for them. The cost of insurance can vary depending on factors such as the learner's age, the type of car, and the insurance provider. On average, adding a learner driver to an existing policy can cost anywhere from £300 to £1,000 per year, while obtaining a separate policy can range from £800 to £2,000 annually.

It's essential to note that insurance costs can vary significantly based on individual circumstances and insurance providers, so it's crucial to obtain specific quotes to determine the exact cost in your situation.

While learning with a loved one can save you money, professional instructors provide expertise, structured lessons, and test preparation, ensuring a comprehensive learning experience. The choice ultimately depends on your budget, learning style, and the availability of suitable instructors. Regardless of the option you choose, remember that practice, dedication, and adhering to road safety guidelines are key to becoming a confident and responsible driver.

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