Learning to drive in London is the ultimate step in gaining independence and freedom. It is also a great responsibility to take on, so before you take off and hit the open road, here are 6 essential things to consider.
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1. The cost
There’s no other way to put it, driving is expensive and depending on your age, the amount of driving you intend to do and the car you want, it can get really expensive.
There is, of course, the initial cost of learning, which will most probably include lessons and will definitely include the cost of tests.
There are also more hidden costs to consider, such as car tax, insurance, MOT and servicing, and of course, fuel.
Insurance is compulsory, you cannot drive without it and, as mentioned above, as a learning or newly qualified driver it can cost quite a bit.
When learning to drive with an instructor, their insurance policy will cover you whilst you are in their car, but if you want to go out and practice without them you will need your own.
You will need to consider whether you want to go fully comprehensive or third party, each has its own list of pros and cons.
Learning to drive is a time-consuming process, you will need to set aside a few hours a week at least for lessons and practice.
Your lessons will need to fit both yours and your instructor’s schedule. You will also need to set aside enough time to learn the highway code and practice for your theory test.
Once that is all considered, there is the fact that there is generally a long wait (up to a few months) to book your driving test, and that’s assuming you pass on the first try!
4. Is this the right time for me?
Once you have worked out whether you can afford it and if you have the time, you will also need to consider if this is the right time for you. You may be surrounded by friends and contemporaries who are all passing their test and getting on the road, but it’s not a race.
You have to be willing to take on a commitment to learning for the next few months at least. Learning should be an exciting and enjoyable experience, so try not to stress too much about it.
5. Have I done everything I need to do before starting lessons?
Starting lessons requires more thought than just picking an instructor and finding the time.
There are a few things to get sorted first. It seems obvious, but you need to be 17 or over! You also will need to ensure you have a provisional driving license and, a lesser known fact, make sure your eyesight is up to scratch.
You will need to be able to read a number plate from 20 meters away, so if you need them, get some glasses!
6. Want to practice on your own?
To properly progress, it is a good idea to practice as well as have lessons, although there are a few more things to think about to do this.
Of course, you will need a car that you can drive, that is both taxed and MOT’d and you will need learner insurance to drive it.
You will need your own “L” plates to put on the car (magnetic is probably the best) and someone old enough to supervise you.
Once you’ve considered all of these things and decided that you’re ready, then don’t be afraid to go for it and give it your all!