How to find the right driving instructor

How to choose a Driving Instructor

Learning to drive isn't cheap, and can be stressful, so finding the right instructor is crucial.

With the right instructor, not only will you pass more quickly, but you’ll also find the learning process far more enjoyable. But to find the perfect driving instructor, you have to put in some effort. 

The best way of tracking down a decent tutor is to go by personal recommendation; talk to your mates and see what they think of theirs. Also, don’t rely solely on a friend or family member to teach you; supplement your lessons with lots of practice in the family motor, but don’t see this as a substitute for qualified tuition.

The test has changed enormously since your dad got his licence, so he won’t know how best to guide you. If you do practice with a friend or relative, stay below the level you’ve reached with your instructor, so don’t tackle busy roads in your practice sessions until you’ve covered them with your tutor.

All driving instructors are graded by the DVSA, depending on how good they are at teaching. On this page we guide you through how they're graded. You might have firm views on whether your tutor should be male or female, but don’t assume you’ll automatically get on better with one or the other.

However, if you do want a female teacher, bear in mind that just 15% or so of the UK’s 30,000 driving instructors are women. You’ve also got to make a call on whether you choose an independent instructor or a a well-known school such as the AA or BSM.

What matters is that you sit alongside a tutor who gives you the right guidance and makes you feel comfortable; that person could work alone or on behalf of a school. Take the latter option and a replacement tutor will be provided in the event of an illness; there’s also more likelihood of special offers being available in terms of pricing.

If you book an instructor but find they’re not for you, don’t stick with them. You’re paying good money for their services, but if they’re not giving you what you need, find someone else. Start looking at alternatives straight away, although it may be worth discussing things with your existing instructor first.

Before you sign up with any instructor, check out our page on key questions to ask; it could save you from making a costly mistake.

How much does it cost to learn to drive?

The average cost of lessons is around £25 per hour, however this depends on where you are learning. For example central London and more popular areas can easily top £30 per hour. 

The price per hour shouldn't be the deciding factor in your decision, by using a more premium instructor but taking less hours, you'll ultimately spend less in the long run  -

38 hours of lessons @ £30 per hour = £1,140

47 hours of lessons @ £25 per hour = £1,175

The average number of hours it takes to reach test standard is no longer published, but the DVSA has previously advised it would take on average 47hrs of professional tuition. This can vary extensively depending on previous experience and how quickly you pick things up. 

You'll also need to take into account the cost of your provisional licence and the Theory & Practical tests.