A Brief History
Learning to drive is the beginning of a new chapter in many people’s lives. Whether you are a teenager or young adult learning to drive for the first time, an immigrant who is getting their license in a new country, or an adult trying to freshen up on their driving skills. Regardless of where you are in life, driving schools are the best place to learn.
In the U.K., not all driving schools are the same, though, and this will help you make sense of the options that you have available to you. It does not matter if you are younger or older, there are requirements you have to meet for your driving needs, and not every school can give you these needs. So check out what differences there are.
If you plan on getting a job driving vehicle for commercial purposes, like truck drivers or delivery vans, then you will not be going to the same driving school as a young adult getting their first license. There are significantly different requirements to be a commercial driver.
These driving schools will sometimes require background checks for criminal records, or some kind of acknowledgement through paperwork that you are attending this school to become a licensed commercial driver for a company. You will want to check if this driving school’s fee can be covered by a company too. Some companies will pay for you to do these lessons, but some schools might require payment upfront or from the student directly. Learning to drive commercially means more highway driving than citizen driving schools as well, and the use of commercial vehicles like trucks will be provided by them.
Theory and Practical Tests
Driving schools provide two types of tests; a theory based tests and practical tests. Theory based tests are the written knowledge of road rules, signs, driving situations, and other important information. Practical tests are the actual road driving you will be doing with an instructor, as they show you how the theory is applied to driving. These practical tests take place on closed courses, like parking lots, and eventually take place on the actual roads to give drivers experience around other motorists.
Not all driving schools are the same with regards to the tests offered. Some schools are focused primarily on the practical testing, because that is where most of the money is made for them, which is understandable as most people need the real driving experience; however, a lot of schools may offer just written tests to prepare you for the practical aspects. Most schools do offer a mix of both tests, because it is easier to retain students that way, but it is best to check before you book your lessons.
Of course, the costs are one of the biggest questions that people have when preparing for their driving school experience. The costs of driving tests range due to many factors. In the U.K., the costs can vary depending on your region. England, Wales, and Ireland have slightly different rates, and some instructors can charge their own rates.
It is important that you consider the costs for your driving needs. Costs are a huge aspect of finding the right driving school, because it can make any potential rewriting of theory tests much cheaper If you need to redo driving lessons or tests because you did not pass initially, or you need more practice. Finding schools that offer hourly packages or lessons are generally a good choice because the value is much better.
Each driving school requires that needs are met before you are ready to start driving with them. If you are from outside the U.K., there are required licenses that you need to get for you to be able to drive in the country, even as a student. These are known as learners permits, and most countries offer them. You need to pay a small fee to get this permit, but it is necessary moving forward. Likewise, a license in Wales might not be the same as one from Scotland, so you need to check if you are eligible for your driving school with any existing licenses.
Driving schools differ on what kind of services, costs, and requirements they need or offer. Knowing how these schools are different from one another is important because you want to make this experience as smooth as possible so you can get in the driver’s seat and be on your way to earning a license to drive.
Question for students (and subscribers): Where did you go to driving school? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
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For more information, please see…
Chapman, Giles and Jodie Kidd. Drive: The Definitive History of Driving. DK, 2018.