You only learn to drive once. That’s not such a bad thing, but it does mean you want to do it right! We spoke to some new drivers to find out what mistakes they most regret making.
1. Applying for a provisional licence too late
When you’re ready to go ahead and gain your freedom, there’s nothing worse than having to wait unnecessarily for your provisional to arrive. You can apply for your provisional driving licence up to three months before your 16th birthday (although in most cases you can’t drive until you’re 17) - so you might as well get it early!
2. Taking a break
It might sound obvious, but you’re going to learn faster if you take regular driving lessons. It can be tempting to take a break during a busy period - during school exams or over the Christmas holidays for example. But if you can squeeze in just an hour or two each week with your instructor, the chances are you won’t waste time relearning things you’ve already covered.
3. Jumping between instructors
Lots of schools and instructors offer introductory deals, so you might think it’s a good idea to keep switching between them to get the best possible price. Watch out! They’ll all use different teaching methods, so you’ll spend much of your time unlearning a previous instructor’s tactics and relearning things your new instructor’s way. That means more lessons and higher costs!
4. Not switching instructors
Although we’d avoid swapping instructors unnecessarily, you certainly don’t want to be stuck with an instructor you don’t get along with. If you’ve got a problem with your driving instructor, you’re best off cutting the relationship short and finding someone you’re happy with. You’re going to be spending a lot of time with them after all!
5. Taking too much instruction from parents and friends
Driving lessons can be hard on your wallet, so it’s natural to want to do some learning in your own time. Just be aware that your parents and friends will probably have picked up plenty of bad habits since passing their practical! We’d recommend using this time to practise what you’ve learned from your instructor, rather than to learn new things.
6. Putting off the theory test
We won’t deny it, the theory test’s not fun (at least it’s not for most of us!). But without passing it, you won’t be able to take your practical. That’s why one of the biggest regrets we came across was putting it off. You don’t want your lack of a theory test certificate holding you back!
7. Winging the theory test
In a similar vein, some learners think they can waltz through their theory test without any prep at all! Needless to say, they don’t tend to pass. If you don’t fancy splashing out on revision materials, just download the Midrive Theory App where you can access every official revision question for free!
8. Not taking motorway lessons
You won’t need to drive on a motorway during your driving test, so many learners don’t give it a second’s thought. However, facing a motorway for the first time on your own can be scary! Many new drivers said they’d have benefited from a bit of coaching from their instructor beforehand to give them more confidence tackling motorways post-test.
9. Not spending enough time on manoeuvres
Again, there are some super handy manoeuvres that won’t get assessed in your driving test. The “reverse around a corner” and “turn in the road” manoeuvres were both removed from the test syllabus, but are still important to master. Some new drivers regretted focusing exclusively on their test, rather than on becoming a safe and confident driver in the long run.
10. Not passing sooner!
When you’re learning to drive, it’s so easy to forget about why you’re doing it. But getting hold of your driver’s licence really is life changing! After getting that first taste of freedom, lots of learners couldn’t understand why they’d put it off for so long. It’s 100% worth it!