How to choose a driving school in Clapham
You’ll need an instructor in Clapham who:
- Encourages you
- Makes it fun to learn
- Won’t charge a fortune!
When it comes to driving schools Clapham is a great place to learn. Just make sure that you follow these 5 simple steps:
1. Compare reviews
Comparing reviews is the best way to see what experiences other learners had with various driving schools in Clapham. Good sites to start with include Google Reviews and Driving School Reviews. Take a look at the way schools respond to bad reviews as well as reading the good ones.
2. Beware of terms and conditions
Make sure you read the small print before paying for your driving lessons in Clapham. Some driving schools won’t refund you if you pass your driving test without using up all the hours in your lesson package. It’s worth finding these things out before booking rather than learning them the hard way!
3. Make sure your instructor is qualified
Driving instructors can be PDIs (instructors who are still in training) or ADIs (Approved Driving Instructors who have received all their qualifications). Some driving schools in Clapham use PDIs. Learning with an ADI, however, is generally preferable as your instructor will have more experience in helping learners to pass the driving test.
4. Check that you can switch instructors
As carefully as you may have picked your driving school or instructor, occasionally things don’t work out. Find out whether your driving school in Clapham would let you change instructors if you needed to, before you make a booking.
5. Avoid long waiting times
Some driving schools in Clapham have long waiting times, particularly during busy periods like summer holidays. Always check how long the waiting times are before you book, as this may affect which school you decide to learn with.
Choosing between manual and automatic
The first step to learning to drive is to decide what kind of car you’d like to learn in. Taking your driving test in an automatic car will only qualify you to drive automatics once you pass, whereas taking the test in a manual car will qualify you to drive both manuals and automatics.
If you’re taking driving lessons in Clapham, you might prefer to learn in an automatic car. This is because in an automatic, there’s no clutch pedal, meaning you don’t have to press and depress it every time you come to a stop at pedestrian crossings or traffic lights. According to Business Insider, London is the 6th most congested city in the world - so you’re likely to come to a standstill frequently if you’re driving around Clapham!
On the other hand, if you’re planning to take frequent road trips outside of London, perhaps on the A1 Northbound or the winding A303 towards Exeter, you may prefer to learn in a manual car. A manual car allows you to change gears yourself while you drive, which means you can change down a gear in anticipation of a hill for that extra boost of power. Some people prefer this added sense of control, especially over longer distances, and find driving manual cars more fun.
When it comes to the learning experience itself, you may find that you learn quicker in an automatic car because there’s no need to get your head around the clutch. However, automatic driving lessons tend to be more expensive because there are fewer automatic driving instructors in Clapham and across the UK. That means it may also be more difficult to find a driving school in Clapham that offers automatic lessons around your availability.
Read more about automatic driving lessons before you make your decision.
Tips for learning to drive in Clapham
It’s highly recommended that you supplement your driving lessons in Clapham with some private practice. In fact, the DVSA recommends 22 hours of private practice before you take the practical driving test. So, consider heading out to some of these practice spots recommended by our driving instructors in Clapham between your lessons, to make sure that you’re test-ready.
Wycliffe Road: If you’re just starting out, head over to Wycliffe Road to get to grips with steering and clutch control. It’s fairly wide and leads to a dead end, so you won’t have to worry much about traffic. That said, it’s best to head there outside of the school rush, as John Burns Primary School is located right in the centre of it!
Temperley Road: Between Clapham South and Wandsworth stations, there are lots of residential roads great for practising junctions and parallel parking in relative peace and quiet. One is Temperley Road. It intersects with a number of other residential roads, giving you plenty of experience handling crossroads safely.
A205: There isn’t much opportunity to practise dual carriageway driving in Clapham, but the A205 does become a dual carriageway for a small stretch if you take it from Clapham Common towards Tulse Hill. Watch out for buses in particular when you’re changing lanes!
Clapham Common: If you want to get some practice spotting and responding to road signs, head over to the area around Clapham Common tube station. There are lots of little one-way streets that will require you to keep your eyes peeled for road signs!
A3: If your hazard perception skills could do with some practice, you might want to try the A3, also known as Long Road, heading west from Clapham Common station. It cuts straight through the park, so you’ll need to watch out for pedestrians, dogs and stray footballs, especially at the weekend!
Choosing your test centre
Once you’re into the swing of driving lessons in Clapham, your driving instructor will help you to choose a test centre and introduce you to the routes that are likely to come up on your driving test.
There aren’t any test centres in Clapham itself, but there are plenty nearby.
Test Centre pass rates
DVSA practical car test pass rates, 2018-2019.
Croydon | Pass rate: 37.4%
You’ll find Croydon Test Centre just a stone’s throw from a busy roundabout connecting Canterbury Road with Purley Way and Mitcham Road. So, brush up on your roundabout skills if you choose this test centre!
Address: 111 Canterbury Road, Croydon, Greater London, CR0 3HH
Hither Green | Pass rate: 49%
Driving instructors in Clapham recommend Hither Green Test Centre because its pass rate is unusually high for a London test centre - far above the national average of 45.8%!
Address: 42-44 Ennersdale Road, Hither Green, Greater London, SE13 6JD
Mitcham | Pass rate: 41.1%
Located on a quiet business park, Mitcham Test Centre will include a mix of quiet roads, roundabouts and some busy urban roads.
Address: Redhouse Road, Mitcham, Surrey, CR0 3AQ
Morden | Pass rate: 47.9%
Morden Test Centre’s pass rate is above the national average and very good for a London test centre. There isn’t any parking available at the test centre itself, so make sure you arrive early to find a spot nearby.
Address: 10 Tudor Drive, Morden, Surrey, SM4 4PE
You can also search the DVSA to find your nearest test centre.
Test tips from driving instructors in Clapham
Our driving instructors in Clapham reveal their top tips for taking the practical driving test in the area.
1. Check the parking situation
Some test centres near Clapham, like Morden Test Centre, don’t have allocated parking spaces for test candidates. This means you may have to parallel park on a road nearby, which could be tricky if it’s a busy time of day. Make sure you investigate the parking situation beforehand, and leave yourself extra time if it looks like you might need it.
2. Brush up on roundabouts
According to our driving instructors Clapham learners will need to be confident with roundabouts whichever nearby test centre they choose - from Croydon Test Centre, located right next to a busy roundabout, to Mitcham Test Centre, which sits near many small ones.
3. Drive defensively
Let’s not forget that Clapham is a part of London, and back in 2004 the Evening Standard revealed that London drivers were the most aggressive in the UK! As any driving school in Clapham will tell you, driving defensively is particularly important here. Defensive driving basically means expecting the unexpected from other drivers, and tailoring your driving accordingly.
What if you could pass in 17 fewer hours?
With Midrive, you’ll get matched with an instructor who’s been highly rated by other learners. Plus, you’ll be able to track your progress and accelerate your learning with the Midrive Learner app. That’s why Midrive learners tend to pass 17 hours faster than the UK average!
But that’s not all. As a Midrive learner, you’ll also enjoy:
- Your first lesson within 7 days
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So, what are you waiting for? Enter your postcode to start your journey to freedom!
Where we provide driving lessons in Clapham
We’ve got you covered with driving lessons in Clapham, no matter where you are in the area. Some of our popular areas include:
Clapham Common, Clapham Junction, Clapham North, Clapham South, Wandsworth Road and Wandsworth Common.
Enter your postcode to see lesson prices near you.