Learning to drive with a disability is a very similar process to anyone else! You have to apply for a provisional driving license (although you can apply a year earlier at 16), take a theory test, and take the driving test itself. Car adaptations may improve your driving experience. See the full list of adaptations available on the Motability scheme or find your closest adaptations installer for more advice.
Learning to drive is a rite of passage for many, but for others, it’s a means to an end. Whether it helps you to get mobile, you need to drive for a new job, or it helps you and your family get about, it’s a useful life skill to learn. And one of the easiest ways to get behind the wheel quickly is to take an intensive driving course.
Whether you need to cram for the written theory exam, or need to pass your practical test ASAP for whatever reason, a set of intensive lessons will help you to pass your test in quick time. But what’s involved? Let Auto Express guide you…
The first hurdle towards passing your driving test is the written exam. The driving theory test has changed over the years, and today learners have to sit in front of a touchscreen to take the test. It takes less than an hour, and if you have bought one of the number of guides available to help you get through it, then it should be pretty easy to pass.
After that, you have two years to pass your practical driving test. If you have time, then the best way to approach this is by booking lessons with a qualified instructor, which will give you professional tuition and a good guide as to how long it’ll take you to get up to speed to be able to pass your test.
If you have a decent grasp of how to drive, whether it’s through lessons such as these, or a good grounding from friends or family, then an intensive course could be for you. These can vary in the amount of time it takes to bring you up to a level that allows you to pass your test, from a few days to a couple of weeks, and can allow you to set aside some time to have the lessons and take the exam.
What are intensive driving courses?
An intensive driving course crams all you need to know to pass your test into a short period of time with one-to-one tuition. It should deliver the skills you need without costing the earth, or taking up hours of your time.
The content of the course will be exactly the same as a series of driving lessons, but it can often be tailored to focus on areas that the learner isn’t comfortable on.
Most of these courses offer help with the theory test for an extra fee, while automatic driving courses are available, too.
How long with an intensive driving course take?
The market is so diverse now that the length of time an intensive driving course runs for is virtually up to you. If you’ve already taken a few lessons and want a crash course ahead of a test, you can opt for a two-day course with just 10 hours of training.
If you’re attending a test with no previous experience, then extended 14-day intensive courses are on offer. Then you’ve got almost everything in between from six hours spread over 10 days or 24 hours spread over eight days. The choice really is yours.
There are even residential driving courses which last anywhere up to a week with locations across the UK. Your driving test will be booked for the last day of your stay, so you’ll leave this residential course with a driving licence.
What will an intensive course cost and will I save money?
The cost of driving lessons and taking a test is one of the biggest reasons young people don’t learn to drive at the moment. And these intensive driving courses aren’t the cheap option, either. Some start from as little as £180, but that’s for a short course.
As soon as you start increasing the length of the course, naturally, the cost goes up. And for longer courses the fee can be upwards of £800. It seems high, but the average hourly driving lesson is priced at £24 and the Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) recommend 47 hours of trainning before your test, meaning most pay upwards of £1,000 to learn to drive. That’s before paying to take the practical and theory test, then potentially paying again if you fail.
What are the negatives accociated with intensive driving courses?
Clearly, packing all this learning into a short space of time can have some negative impacts. The biggest and most obvious is that you don’t rack up the same experience behind the wheel as you might if you’re having lessons over a longer period of time.
Likewise, if you cram all of your learning into an intensive driving course, the road type you’re on and the conditions are likely to be fairly static, taking out two big variables that come into play when you’re driving.
It’s probably best to take a short intensive course as final prep for your test once you’ve got a few hours of experience, or if you’ve previously had lessons and want a recap ahead of a test.
It’s also worth checking you’re not being over-charged for booking the theory or driving test when signing up for an intensive driving course, as some firms will try to charge a premium.
What about courses for driver training after you’ve passed?
Intensive driving courses aren’t just reserved for passing your test, there are plenty of courses available to further your driving skills.
Pass Plus is probably the most popular – as this focuses on motorway driving – but the Institute of Advanced Motorists also offers an assessment-based programme to develop your skills at the wheel. It’s worth considering one of these, as it may help reduce your insurance premiums – although the amount you save differs between insurers.
Another course that’s worth taking is trailer tuition. Companies can offer brief lessons on how to tow a trailer and execute maneouvres, while anybody who will be towing a combination of car and trailer that will weight in excess of 3.5 tonnes has to take the car and trailer driving test, which again can be conducted after an intensive course.
Beyond that there are courses for driving in Europe, winter driving courses, off-road courses and track tuition, so passing your test can be just the start of your learning curve.
If you have not leased a car through the Motability Scheme before, find out more about the benefits of leasing through the Motability Car Scheme and check your eligibility to join.