The Driving Standards Agency state that the average learner takes 45 hours of professional tuition to pass their driving test coupled with, hopefully, some effective practise time with an understanding relative!
Whilst the driving test itself has remained much the same over the 70+ years of its existence, everything around it has changed profusely.
I myself started my lessons on my 17th birthday in September 1994 and passed my practical test (there was no theory test then, incidentally) in May 1995. I accumulated 12 minor faults and had approximately 30 hours of lessons.
In 1999 the test was extended to 40 minutes in length, the number of ‘minor’ faults was restricted to 15 (previously you could accumulate any number provided there wasn't a pattern to them), and the marking system was ‘hardened up’. At present a consultation is underway to improve both the testing and training of novice drivers, which will increase the need to be better trained and prepared before taking to the road independently.
Whilst some instructors teach ‘to pass a test’ there is absolutely no substitute for good thorough, varied training. No training programme however, can prepare you for every eventuality you will face on today's roads.
So what do I teach in those 45 hours?
• Understanding the controls of the car, clutch control, gear changes up and down, moving off and stopping safely, basic safety checks, steering exercises.
• Simple road junctions, turning left and right and emerging at t-junctions.
• Turning left and right and T-junctions with anticipation and judgment of other road users. Hill starts are introduced at this stage along with angled starts.
• Basic roundabouts, mini-roundabouts and pedestrian crossings.
• Town and urban driving, experiencing different times of day and different volumes of traffic.
• Meeting traffic, parked vehicles and narrow back roads.
• Country roads. I teach how to deal with the fast 60 mph country roads and how to deal with rural hazards and in particular how to anticipate sharp bends. This topic is crucial for a novice driver but is neglected by many instructors.
• Dual Carriageways/ Overtaking.
• Night Driving. If possible all the above to be done at night.
• Emergency stop. Discussion of factors involved in stopping the car safely. We carry out the ES from 20 up to 60mph.
• Mirror use. Effective use of mirrors and the MSM routine.
• Reversing Manoeuvres including turn in the road, left corner reverse, parallel parking, bay parking (left and right) and multi-storey car parking.
• All-weather driving and basic maintenance. If the opportunity to drive in bad weather has not occurred then this is an opportunity to discuss this along with very basic car maintenance.
• We go to High Wycombe to experience a new town if most of the town driving is done in Aylesbury although we will visit areas such as Tring and Leighton Buzzard at some point.
• Route Planning. Following a specific route, usually pupil planned, involving satellite navigation systems. Sometimes we use this time to go into London.
• Pre-Mock test lesson. Going over ‘test specific’ things such as the gyratory system and any other factors that the pupil is unsure of.
• Mock test. Warm-up for the real thing! We have a pre-lesson and test and de-brief after.
• Driving Test. 1 hour pre-test and the test itself
• Motorway driving. I recommend pupils take this option as soon as possible when passing.
TOTAL HOURS 45 - 55 Hours *
* This is, of course, highly dependent on the individual pupil. It could be quicker, it may well be longer, but these are the number of hours I would consider to be ‘average’.
‘MY FRIEND PASSED IN 10 HOURS!’ Going back to the opening
line of this article the question is:
Any questions please ask!
Web site by Jane Williams Top of page