New NI drivers: How many lessons do I need?

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Thursday, September 3rd, 2020
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One hundred thirty-four years ago in 1886, Carl Benz applied for a patent for his vehicle “powered by a gas engine”.


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And although there was no such thing as a driving licence or driving lessons two centuries ago – those arrived in the 1930’s – the simple question of “How many driving lessons do I need?” has dominated conversations and internet searches for decades.

But the answer isn’t so straightforward.

Let’s break the answer down into more manageable chunks.

The costs involved in driving lessons.


The cost of a driving lesson in Northern Ireland hasn’t fluctuated a great deal in the last 20 years.



NI driving instructors typically charge around £20 – £25 an hour.

And the reason why we’re looking at the costs is because of affordability, which is individual to every single driver’s circumstances.

We’ve done the research and found that on average, a Northern Ireland Learner Driver requires around 45 hours of lessons before they’re test-ready.

So, based on 45 hours of lessons at £25 per hour means you’ll pay approximately £1,125.00 to do all your lessons.

But that’s not the only costs involved.

Your Provisional Driving Licence will cost you £62.50.

The Theory Test will set you back another £23.00.

Preparing for the Theory Test (Books, DVD, or Apps) will cost another £25.00, and now that you’ve got confident enough to attempt your driving test you’ll pay either £45.50 (weekday price) or £62.50 (evening and weekend price).



Oh and don’t forget, if you’re using your driving instructor’s car for your driving test this will cost another £100 (at least!).

Therefore, the total cost could be a staggering £1,400.

Okay, so how many lessons do I need?


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There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this, unfortunately.

It depends on a wide range of factors.

For example, you could take the average 45 driving lessons and feel comfortable and confident.

But on the day of your driving test, you could suffer from nerves, weather conditions and a whole host of other unplanned-for eventualities.

And your friend could take 30 lessons, suffer no nerves on test day, light traffic and pleasant driving conditions and could pass.

Officially, there’s no minimum number of lessons or hours of practice that you need by law.

The decision to take your driving test after five lessons or 45 lessons depends ultimately on conversations with your driving instructor, who can tell you how close you are to being ‘ready’ to go for your test.



Another factor is your ability to learn and how quickly you pick things up.

We all pick up things at different rates, and even how often you’ve taken driving lessons could be a factor.

For example, if you take two a week for several months, you might be more ‘ready’ for your driving test than someone who takes one a week, misses a few weeks due to Christmas or Easter or a holiday.

Your location can also play a part: learning to drive in Newry will have a different feel to learning to drive in London.


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Summary: There is no right answer. The number of driving lessons you need depends on a variety of factors including age, experience, weather, road conditions, location, cost, adaptability and how quick a learner you are.

Keep up to date with all the Northern Ireland driving news, tips and tricks on the New Driver NI website.


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