Learning to drive is a rite of passage and a big step towards independence for most people.

Going from learner to licensed driver requires hours of practice and can cost hundreds of pounds, so it helps to know what you’ll need to budget for.

Whether you’re considering learning to drive yourself, or you’re the parent of a learner driver, here is a run-down of the costs if you use a professional driving instructor.

The costs of learning to drive

Provisional driving licence: £34

You must have a provisional driving licence for Great Britain or Northern Ireland when you’re learning to drive or ride a motorcycle. This costs £34 if you apply for it online [1].

Driving lessons: around £960

The average learner is likely to need around 40 hours of driving lessons, which usually cost around £24 per hour, for a total of £960 [2].

You can use this government tool to find driving instructors who are approved by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).

Theory learning materials: £4.99

You’ll need to get to grips with The Highway Code and for less than a fiver [3] you can buy the official DVSA app, which covers all of your driving theory needs.

Theory test: £23

Once you’re ready to take the theory test, you can book it online at the Government’s website for £23.

If you live in Northern Ireland, you need to book your theory test through a different service.

Practical test: £62

For a car, a practical driving test costs £62 on weekdays and £75 on evenings, weekends and bank holidays.

Also factor in up to two hours’ use of your instructor’s car during the practical test, at a potential cost of £48 (£24 per hour).

If you’re not quite ready and you don’t pass first time, remember you’ll need to pay for a second practical test and use of your instructor’s car again. Over half of candidates (54%) who pass their test are sitting it for the second or subsequent time [4].

So, if you pass both tests the first time, you could be looking at a total spend of £1,132, although this will vary.

It’s worth bearing in mind that driving test costs are different in Northern Ireland.

Do I need car insurance when learning to drive?

Lots of people also spend additional time behind the wheel with a friend or relative who’s an experienced driver. While driving schools will normally have their own insurance policies in place, if you’re taking driving lessons privately, then you’ll need to ensure you have insurance cover in place. You can either be added to another person’s existing car insurance policy as a named driver – for example, your parent or partner’s policy, or get learner driver insurance for yourself. The costs of insuring learner drivers will generally be more expensive, as younger drivers are statistically more likely to be involved in an accident [5].

Saving money on learning to drive

There are some simple steps you can take to reduce costs. For example, only book your driving test when you feel comfortable you’re ready, to reduce the chances of having to re-take it.

Also, it’s worth finding out if your local driving school offers special deals for block-booking lessons or reduced rates for two-hour lessons.

Finally, it’s a good idea to look beyond price when choosing your driving instructor. You can check their grade and make sure they’re qualified at the DVSA website

When it comes to learning to drive, it’s important to take your time and find someone you’d happily spend many hours with. Take as many lessons as you need, until you feel comfortable behind the wheel and prepared to take to the road safely.

Go to Solved to read more about driving, the rules of the road and road safety.

[1] https://www.gov.uk/apply-first-provisional-driving-licence

[2] https://www.safedrivingforlife.info/sites/default/files/The-cost-of-learning-to-drive_1.pdf

[3] https://www.safedrivingforlife.info/shop/product/official-dvsa-theory-test-kit-app-app

[4] https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/895564/drt-statistics-april-2019-to-march-2020.pdf

[5] https://www.brake.org.uk/get-involved/take-action/mybrake/knowledge-centre/young-drivers