Forgoing driving lessons and teaching your child to drive yourself could save more money than you might think.
The pandemic created a steep backlog for driving tests and lessons that have yet to be cleared, pushing prices higher as demand grows. With rising fuel prices further inflating the cost of lessons, you could face a hefty price for your child to learn to drive.
Considering this, teaching your own kids to drive could save you valuable time and money. Read on to discover why this might be a good choice.
A lot of instructors are backlogged until 2023
Learners are still struggling to find instructors with available slots after the disruption caused by the pandemic. In fact, the Guardian reports that around 500,000 prospective drivers had their lessons disturbed as various lockdowns prevented any close contact.
According to the BBC, this figure has grown from 496,124 in May 2021 to 536,387 as of May 2022 and is yet to show signs of slowing.
Because of this, instructors have lessons backlogged beyond winter into 2023. Some have even made the decision to close their waiting list as they are simply unable to guarantee their availability so far in advance.
In many cases, pupils have been contacting instructors for over a year and are still unable to find lessons. For some, this has started to affect their wellbeing as they remain unable to visit family members or get home from work after late shifts.
Waiting lists for tests are causing problems for learners
The lack of available tests has led to many learners booking their practical exams ahead of their actual lessons. This can often put both the student and the instructor in an uncomfortable position as they may not have a sufficient number of lessons for the pupil to develop the required skill level to pass their test.
As a result of this, students are more likely to fail and, hence, will have to spend even more on another practical exam. This is far from ideal as the standard price for a test is currently £62 and set to rise to £75, as the government website states.
To make matters worse, some instructors are buying up available test slots in bulk and reselling them for profit. The BBC reported that some may even charge around £200, which is more than triple the standard cost of £62. Many are calling for regulations to prevent this kind of abuse.
This can have a knock-on effect on learners since the lack of practical exams means that failing your test, or simply having to wait for one, could result in your initial theory test expiring.
Until things change, it may be worth teaching your child yourself.
Teaching your children how to drive could save a significant amount of money
Clearly, paying for your child to learn to drive has complications that extend beyond the hourly rate of the lessons. To minimise your troubles, you could consider teaching them yourself.
Here are some pros and cons of teaching your child how to drive:
- Save a large amount of money – according to RAC, the average person requires 45 hours of driving lessons before being able to pass their practical test. Using figures from Confused, the national average hourly rate for lessons is £31.50. This would mean 45 hours cost a total of more than £1,415. In more expensive areas like Brighton and Hove, this could reach almost £2,000.
- No wait for lessons – with instructors backlogged for the foreseeable future, teaching your child personally means you can get started right away.
- Spend time with your child – learning to drive is a memorable life experience and it could be a pleasant way to further build your relationship.
- Take longer lessons – if your child is struggling with a certain manoeuvre or cannot understand a road sign, you can take the extra time to ensure sure they understand. You are not limited by a one- or two-hour lesson. Similarly, you can build their endurance and go for lessons longer than usual if you please.
- Have the flexibility to drive wherever, whenever – you can customise the routes to your child’s ability and fit the lessons around your schedule.
- Go into further depth than an instructor may – since you are not on the clock, you can explain things at length without the worry of wasting your money and give yourself more confidence in their knowledge.
- Teach them your personal experiences – there is value in your many years of driving and all the nuanced experiences you have had on the road can provide ideal anecdotal learning experiences.
- It is your car they are driving – if it gets damaged it could cost a lot more than lessons would have.
- You may not have the up to date skills and knowledge to teach your child properly – some driving instructors may actively discourage parents from “teaching” and instead suggest a lot of practice time.
- Book time out of your schedule – personally teaching your child would require a significant amount of your time which, going by RAC’s figures, could be 45 hours or more.
- You might get impatient – trying to explain things or repeated errors might create friction and end up in conflict or arguments.