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Lawrence School of Motoring

your passport to safe driving


The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) used to claim that on average it takes around 45 hours of professional tuition with an additional 22 hours of private practice to achieve test standard. They have since updated their advice by simply  stating:  "how many lessons you need will depend on how quickly you learn". Both statements are undoubtably true but neither are particularly helpful - the truth is, some people will pass after just 20 hours of lessons and some will need 200 hours - no two people are the same, everyone learns at their own pace. However, the Instructor you choose will vastly influence the number of lessons you will need. If your Instructor spends your lesson chatting about their holidays or staring out the window, you will need considerably more lessons than learning with a conscientious Instructor committed to your best interests. With a good Driving Instructor you will need fewer lessons, have a greater chance of passing first-time and far, far more importantly, be a better, safer driver when you do pass -  NOT ALL DRIVING INSTRUCTORS ARE THE SAME.  


For many years I advised learning manual, if were able to, as you would always have the choice to drive both manual and automatic when you pass - if passing in automatic you're not allowed to drive manual and so you were limiting choice. But when Boris Johnson announced there would be a total ban on all new petrol and diesel vehicles from 2030, it made learning manual less appealing. From 2030 all new cars will be electric or hybrid, which, with a few rare exceptions, are all automatic. In fact, new automatic sales are already higher than manual, and this shift will continue. I think it's true to say that in a few short years, the vast majority of us will be driving automatic. For this reason, I would say learning automatic makes more sense as it's certainly easier - why make life more difficult than necessary?! 


It’s so important to learn in a reliable car. To have your lessons cancelled because of breakdowns is both frustrating and disruptive to your learning. I currently teach in a new automatic Vauxhall Corsa - an easy to drive compact car - in my opinion the perfect car for learning! 


The term ‘piggy-backing’ refers to a practice used by many Instructors, whereby your lesson begins by driving the previous pupil home and finishes at the following pupil's house where they in turn will drive you home. The reason for doing so is that the Instructor avoids unpaid time between lessons. It’s a practice I deplore because it puts the Instructor’s needs before the pupil and that’s not what you’re paying for. With the Lawrence School of Motoring there will never be another pupil in the car during your lesson.


This is a much better question than you may realize. There are many Instructors operating illegally, they just advertise cheap lessons with no formal training. Also, many schools use trainee instructors (displaying a pink badge), who can legally teach to gain experience. So always enquire if your Instructor is fully quallified (displaying a green badge) as it's unlikely that you will be told when booking a lesson and you will still be charged the full fee. I’m a fully qualified Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) and have achieved the highest possible grade for many years.


A common complaint is that their previous Driving Instructor shouted at them. Of course you’re going to make mistakes – that’s why you’re learning – if you didn’t make mistakes you wouldn’t need driving lessons! Instructors who shout are merely compensating for a weakness in their teaching. You pay for your lessons and deserve to be treated with respect.

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