Learning how to drive is an integral part of growing up for most of us. The average 17-year-old can’t wait to take driving lessons and earn their driver’s licence, but some people wait a few years or don’t even think about learning to drive until they are well into their 30s and 40s.
The most common way to learn to drive is to book weekly lessons with a driving instructor. You head out once a week, or less often, depending on your budget and diary. To begin with, your lessons might last an hour, but as the test date growers nearer, you might be out on the road for two hours at a time.
On average, it takes around 47 hours of driving to reach test standard. Hours logged can include lessons with a trained instructor or practice sessions with a relative or friend. Learning to drive is time intensive and there is no substitute for experience behind the wheel, but intensive driving lessons are becoming increasingly popular.
Let’s take a look at six reasons why this is the case.
Most pester their parents for lessons as soon as they turn of age, but with the cost of driving lessons at around £25 per hour, learning to drive is a big expense. You can often enjoy a discount by booking blocks of lessons in one go, but there is no getting away from the fact that it will cost you over £1,000 to get through your practical driving test.
Intensive lessons are a cost-effective way of learning to drive. Because you cram your learning into a short block, you pay less overall. It’s possible to save several hundred pounds learning to drive on an intensive course as opposed to taking weekly or fortnightly lessons over several months. If you have the funds up front, this is a cheaper solution.
Booking a weekly driving lesson is a significant drain on your time. You might be at college, working full-time, or have kids to take care of. It won’t always be possible to book the same slot each week, so finding a spare hour or two could be tricky.
The great thing about intensive driving courses is that they only last for one week. Yes, you read this correctly: all you need to do is sacrifice one week of your life and you will (hopefully) pass your test and be able to drive independently.
If you’re the sort of person who struggles to fit everything in, an intensive driving course is a practical solution. Consider it a kind of holiday; albeit a pretty intensive one. OK, so you won’t be lying on a beach, sipping cocktails and admiring the view, but you will have a driving licence when you head home at the end of the week. Isn’t that a better and more productive use of your time?
Weekly lessons are good, but there is a constant need to recap on what you learned in the last lesson. It’s rather like school holidays. Just because you could ace complex equations prior to the break, it doesn’t mean you can do them when you go back at the beginning of a new term.
It’s the same with learning to drive. Somewhat inevitably, the start of each lesson involves going back over what you learned in the previous lesson. For this reason, it takes longer for the knowledge to sink in.
Intensive driving courses involve more learning and less recapping. You don’t have time to forget everything you learned in the previous lesson, so it stays fresh in your brain.
Driving instructors are only human. When they see dozens of different students once a week, they forget who’s who. It can often take a while for the instructor to remember what the student learned in their previous lessons or what their weak points are.
They don’t need to get up to speed each week when teaching an intensive course; there is no time to forget and the instructor can design bespoke lessons based on the individual’s skill set. The instructor will be more focused on the learner and better able to tailor lessons to suit their progress. It’s a more efficient way of teaching learner drivers and for the student, a more effective learning environment.
You won’t have to wait a week or more for your next lesson. You don’t have to fit your lessons around other students, college breaks, your instructor’s holiday in Spain, or any other potential delays. When you book an intensive driving course, you are there for the duration.
One of the biggest problems for learner drivers is trying to book lessons that fit into their schedule. Often, the instructor has no free slots, so they are forced to wait an extra week before the next lesson. The longer they have to wait, the more likely they are to forget much of what they learned in the previous lesson. There is no waiting around when you take an intensive course.
Some learner drivers lack confidence, which severely inhibits their ability to learn to drive. Waiting a week before the next lesson allows nerves to get the better of them and by the time they get back in the car, their confidence is at rock bottom.
Taking an intensive driving course is confidence building. Your skills will quickly build and you will experience real progress very quickly. This is often enough to instil confidence in most people, even those who are very nervous at the start of the course. At the end of each day, you can look back and see how much progress you have made. It’s a great way to build your confidence once you get behind the wheel.
Intensive driving courses are not for everyone. You will be expected to spend around six hours per day behind the wheel and it can be quite stressful. Not everyone can cope with such an intensive course and some people prefer learning more slowly, as it gives them a chance to catch their breath and consolidate what they have learned in each lesson.
It’s important not to put too much pressure on yourself. Just because your best friend, cousin, or boyfriend passed their test after only 20-hours tuition, it doesn’t mean you will. We all learn differently and some people take longer to pick up the required skills.
Intensive driving courses are useful if you are short of time and you are keen to work hard. If you are the type of person who picks up new skills easily and you are keen to get out on the road, an intensive driving course could be good for you. But remember, learning to drive and gaining that elusive driving licence is only the beginning. It takes years of driving before most people gain the experience needed to keep them out of danger on the roads. No matter how competent you are, it doesn’t mean that other drivers are, so try to get as much experience as possible once you have successfully passed your practical driving test.