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Tips and tricks to beat long driving lesson wait times

Illustration with black box holding an L plate looking at clocks in sky

With a massive backlog of people wanting to learn how to drive now that lessons are back up and running again, you might find it’s more tricky to find driving instructors who have time slots available in their schedule. Thankfully hope is not completely lost. In this blog, we outline the various ways learner drivers can get back on the road.

Tip one: practise with a parent, guardian, or friend

If you’ve previously had lessons with a driving instructor and you’re comfortable driving on the road, it could be a good idea to practise with a parent, guardian or friend.

Not sure who you can practice with? As long as they have held a full driving licence for a minimum of three years for the type of vehicle they are supervising in (i.e. manual or automatic), and are over 21 years of age, they can supervise you. Find out more about who can supervise you by reading our comprehensive guide.

It’s also a good idea to be aware of the most common reasons people fail their driving test and practice these with your supervisor as much as possible in the lead up to your driving test.

Please note that it’s important you’re insured when you practice with a supervisor; our learner driver insurance is available from 65p per day and can cover your parent’s car when practising.

Taking out a separate learner driver insurance policy instead of putting yourself down as a named driver on your parent’s will help ensure that your parent or guardian’s no claims bonus (NCB) isn’t affected in the event you need to make a claim. What’s more, you can get all the great extra benefits on short-term policies as you can on annual policies, including breakdown cover and excess protection – call us now on 0800 369 8590 for a free, no-obligation quote.

Tip two: take lessons in a quieter area

Are you learning in a busy area of the UK? You might find that you have more luck finding a driving instructor operating in a smaller town nearby. You can do this by ringing instructors in different areas and inquiring about their schedule.

In many cases, you might find that some areas are really busy when it comes to driving lessons, whereas others are not. This is what Henry found when he tried to book his driving test.

Tip three: take tests during quieter periods

Driving instructors usually have quieter periods throughout the year. While it’s not completely clear how lockdown and the current backlog will impact these quieter periods, it might be worth asking your driving instructor if their calendar will be freer at certain points of the year and booking ahead if possible This usually includes times like:

  • A-level exams period in June
  • Students returning to university in September
  • Christmas holidays

It should also be noted that if you live in a rural area that attracts a lot of tourists during the summer, passing your test is often a lot easier in the winter months when the roads aren’t so busy.

Tip four: consider an intensive driving course

Illustration with calendar blocking out driving lessons each day of the week

Although intensive driving courses aren’t for everyone, they can be useful if you want to pass quickly. And for learner drivers facing long waiting times for driving lessons, they can take the stress out of booking individual lessons. This is because you book everything at once, including your theory and practical driving tests.

Most intensive courses are between one and two weeks and allow you to book lessons in blocks during the lead-up to your test. This helps ensure you get enough practice on the road in a short period of time.

Tip five: book blocks of driving lessons

If you don’t feel confident doing an intensive course, booking driving lessons in bulk could be the answer instead. Of course, this depends on your driving instructor’s schedule, which is likely to be much busier now that there’s such a large backlog of learner drivers looking to pass their test. You might find that you’re able to book a block of lessons if you do so well in advance.

Booking your driving test

There we have it: five tips to help you bypass the driving lesson queues. If you’re ready to take your test but you’re struggling to get a slot, you might find that booking your test through your driving instructor could help. Take a look at our blog on the driving centres with the shortest waiting times as you might find it would be quicker to book at a test at a different centre.

Some learner drivers also swear by companies that help you book cancelled driving tests, such as Find Me a Driving Test. Read more tips on how to book a driving test and keep your skills fresh while you’re struggling to book your test.

Get learner driver insurance

Good luck on your learner driver journey! If you do decide to practise with family and friends, make sure you get a learner driver insurance quote from us by calling us on 0800 369 8590 or booking a callback at a time that suits you. Our cover starts from just 65p a day.

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