Friday, 15 April 2011

Cheap lessons?

What's the cheapest way to learn to drive? In these hard times everybody is looking to save money and that includes those learning to drive. It has always been relatively expensive to do so, now more than ever and therefore people are looking at any way to reduce the cost. Beware though because there are real issues and dangers with doing this.

It is no coincidence that the DSA recommend approved driving instructors and in spite of rumours to the contrary it's not to make money for the government. It's because they recognise that to learn to drive properly you need some amount of proper professional tuition. Although Uncle Joe or Aunt Flossie might be able to teach you to drive so that you can get through your test, it does not mean that you will be a good driver. I and a lot of my colleagues are in favour of the DSA requiring that everybody has a minimum number of lessons with an approved driving instructor before being allowed to take a test.

Furthermore, if Uncle Joe, Aunt Flossie or any other person who is not an approved driving instructor charges you for lessons, they are breaking the law and the penalties are severe!

The other problem is cheap lessons. It is so easy to opt for the company which offers lessons for the cheapest rate. I often see offers such as 5 lessons for £75 which look like a very good deal. However, there are a two things to consider with these offers. What conditions are attached to the offers? What price do you pay once the offer has been used? If you pay £15 for the first 5 lessons and £22 for the next 15, you will pay £405. If you pay £20 per lesson for 20 lessons, you pay £400. So cheap offers don't necessarily lead to paying less overall.

However the single most significant issue with the overall cost of learning to drive is the number of lessons you take. 20 lessons at almost any cost with a top quality professional instructor is a far better deal than 100 cheap lessons with a crap instructor. And yes I have heard of people who have had 100 lessons!

The most important question to ask a potential instructor isn't about pass rates or prices or special offers or even their grade, it's how many lessons on average do THEIR pupils take to pass their test. Then you can get some idea of how much it is likely to cost you. Don't be fobbed off with the average from the DSA (which is about 45-50), it's their rate that is important.

So ask the question of your instructor and make sure you get the best possible deal for you as a customer. Remember deals are designed to be seductive and make you think you are getting something for nothing (or less than you should). Don't be fooled, do your research and make sure you don't get conned.

All the best.

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