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Need to learn how to drive - is an intensive driving course worth it?

(39 Posts)
Billballbaggins Sat 23-Feb-19 11:03:59

Posting here for traffic (sorry).

I need to learn how to drive. I’m 30, 2 small children and due to various factors couldn’t commit to taking lessons before (mainly financial as it’s £50ish for a 2hr lesson here and I don’t have £50 a week spare. We already have a car and can afford to run that no problem but I just could not commit to £50 a week minimum for possibly months and months on end and all the bloody instructors around here have waiting lists of a couple of months).

Anyway, change in circumstances recently so I have a lump sum and I am looking at intensive courses for about £1500.

Has anyone done one? I don’t know anyone who has and my friends and family have mixed opinions even having no experience themselves.


NotMyUsualTopBilling Sat 23-Feb-19 11:05:03

I'm also interested in this

Queenofthestress Sat 23-Feb-19 11:05:08

I'm looking at these too!

LittleCandle Sat 23-Feb-19 11:07:11

A friend did one, many moons ago now, and said it was great. He passed at the end of the week.

BetzOnMark3 Sat 23-Feb-19 11:07:29


BetzOnMark3 Sat 23-Feb-19 11:08:49

I have been advised to do automatic, as it takes quicker to learn, and most cars manufactured will be automatic in the near future.

PiggyPlumPie Sat 23-Feb-19 11:09:16

My DD did one but she had about 4 months of lessons the year before. She then went to university so did the intensive course in her first summer back.

She found it hard work and didn't expect to pass but did.

dirtystinkyrats Sat 23-Feb-19 11:10:23

I knew a couple of people that did them when young and both crashed within a few months. I personally don't think most intensive courses give you enough hours experience. Cheapest way to learn is really to take lessons and then get partner/family member to take you out a lot.

LegoLady95 Sat 23-Feb-19 11:14:40

My husband did one at the age of 39. He did the theory test, then 2 weeks of approx 4 hours a day with the practical test on the second friday and passed. He had done some lessons in his early twenties, and had ridden a 125 on the road, so wasn't a complete novice. So glad he did it!

BuildingBackUp Sat 23-Feb-19 11:16:13

Shit, is that how much they are now?

I did one 9 years ago...cost about £500 from memory with the AA and it was 20 odd hours which I did over 3 weeks. Passed first time.

Before you go spending all that I would definitely pay for a couple of one offs in case you’re a natural.

When dh passed his test he only had to have 3 driving lessons total and he passed straight away with no minors...don’t spend that much before checking you actually need it!

doxxed Sat 23-Feb-19 11:17:54

Could DP take you out for practice? I would do that and when you feel like you have the hang of it, do the intensive course to polish up.

Sleepthiefismyfavourite Sat 23-Feb-19 11:19:25

I did one, and it was awful! At the end of it, the instructor told me I had no chance of passing, and to change to automatic!

I ended up having a few lessons In automatic and finding it much easier, so passed with automatic.

I wasted about £2000 on a course for a manual

Ghanagirl Sat 23-Feb-19 11:21:59

I did one in the nineties when I was in my early twenties and quit half way as the instructor hit on me he was twice my age and relentless.
I never got my money back.
you can’t guarantee that you'll get a good teacher and it’s a big commitment

AwkwardAsAllGetout Sat 23-Feb-19 11:24:51

No one I know who’s done an intensive course has passed. I think it’s too much to take in to try and rush. I totally sympathise. I’m 35 and passed last year after deciding enough was enough. I’d had lessons at 17 and then ten years ago but circumstances meant I had to stop before I was ready for my test. I had about 3.5 months of a two hour lesson once a week and passed first time. I felt incredibly scared to be out on my own at first but now I don’t think twice about jumping in my car and doing what I need to. It really is life changing, but I don’t think an intensive course is the best use of your money. For starters, you really need to get a driving instructor you’re comfortable with and not be afraid to change after a lesson or two if they’re not the one for you.

Billballbaggins Sat 23-Feb-19 11:28:39

Ooh yes I didn’t even think about the instructor - I had maybe 3/4 lessons when I was 17 (gave up WHY did I give up?) and the first instructor was awful so I can imagine paying for a course then not gelling with the instructor would be awful!

I’ll see if my husband can add me to the insurance and take me out a few times first and see how I am.

It’s funny when I was 17 taking lessons I was so confident, I did alright with the basics and now I’m so negative and my confidence has vanished.

Disfordarkchocolate Sat 23-Feb-19 11:29:04

I looked at this but decided against it as I think they are better for people with some experience who need to pass quickly. Some you are sharing a car so not all your time is driving. I also worried about not having had experience of driving in a good range of weathers.

Billballbaggins Sat 23-Feb-19 11:30:25

Awkward I’d had lessons at 17 and then ten years ago but circumstances meant I had to stop before I was ready for my test.

We sound similar like that! Thanks for your positive story that makes me feel better like I can do it. My confidence has vanished.

Billballbaggins Sat 23-Feb-19 11:31:14

Seems like a mixed bag for the intensive course then, thank you for your opinions it’s very helpful.

AwkwardAsAllGetout Sat 23-Feb-19 11:41:26

It’s ALL about confidence. My driving instructor said that to me in my very first lesson. I knew how to drive, I just needed to believe in myself. Youll probably be surprised by how cheap it is to be added to the insurance, based purely on your age and how long you’ve held your license. Dh’s actually went down while I was on it on my provisional. and now we each have a car our joint insurance is only a few quid more expensive than his individual car was. I drive a little ten year old corsa but his car is decent grin

22Giraffes Sat 23-Feb-19 11:46:42

DP did one 2 years ago at the age of 30. He had done single lessons in his teens but never followed it through. We paid about £900 (in London) for what was called a semi intensive course, so it was over a month. He was out for between 2-5 hours a day and found it a great way to learn.

He passed 2nd time and has been happily driving since!

Heratnumber7 Sat 23-Feb-19 11:48:59

I think they are Good way to learn, but you need to have passed your theory before you start the course, and time it right with the test waiting list - 5 weeks here.

fancynancyclancy Sat 23-Feb-19 11:51:16

I had had about 25 hours of manual lessons & then nothing for almost 2 years. Realised my theory was about to expire so booked myself for a 5 day intensive course with the test on the 5th day. I did automatic as I thought it would boost my chances & I passed with 3 minors. For me the biggest benefit was spending so many hours each day driving in the test route area, it increased my familiarity & boosted my confidence.

Zebedee88 Sat 23-Feb-19 12:06:16

I did something similar. I had some normal lessons ( when I could afford them) but my boss wanted me to be able to drive, so she paid for me to have a week with my current driving instructor, so it was someone who I already knew. I did a whole week with her but I knew I wasn't quite ready and I failed the test. However it was only on a couple of things. I then had some a couple more normal lessons and then another week with her and I passed. So o would suggest trying to get as much normal practise in and then maybe finding an instructor that you get on with and seeing if he or she can take you out for 5/6 hours a day for week?

SugarPlumLairy2 Sat 23-Feb-19 12:09:34

Learning the basics ( gear changes, reversing, using mirrors etc. and even the Highway Code ) can be learnt in a week long intensive but for many it’s road experience that counts.
My instructor said he wasn’t teaching me to drive but ensuring I had adequate experience to handle the utter wankers I would undoubtedly ncounter while driving. He also said don’t get a green P for your car to show you’ve recently passed as it’s an invitation for aforesaid wankers to take the piss.... he was a lovely instructor😂
He also spent the last few lessons before my test taking me over the test routes so I knew all areas that might catch me out.

I had several instructors before finding one I liked and it made all the difference . Maybe test drive a few different places and see how you feel on the roads/ with each driver before you commit to an intensive course. I personally wouldn’t have liked the pressure of an intensive course but it depends on the individual what works for them👍

Good luck, and when you pass invest in dash cams because my instructor was right about the CF’s out there 😱🤣

bouncydog Sat 23-Feb-19 12:14:55

When DD got to 17 we booked her a series of lessons on the basis of 3 per week, got a small car and drove with her every single day at least twice. She passed her test within 2 months of her birthday. The lessons ensured she did things properly and the everyday driving gave her plenty of practice. My view is that you need to drive every day when learning otherwise if you only have a lesson a week you spend the first part redoing what you did the previous week so progress is slow. I think an intensive course sounds good but think extra practice would definitely be needed as it couldn’t possibly cover every eventuality.

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