The Good, Bad (& Ugly) News About Learning to Drive

by Brady Myles - 3 Min Read

A new report highlights the many hurdles you must contend with before becoming a qualified driver – and what you should do once you’ve passed.

According to insurer Admiral’s new Young Driver Report, you face big costs before, during and after you pass the test. Here’s a breakdown of the some of the biggest and how you can help drive down costs and stay safe on the roads once you’ve made the grade.

Good News, Bad News: The Price of Learning

The Good News
The UK is one of the cheapest places to buy a single driving lesson (£24).

The Bad News
Once you count up all the costs associated with learning to drive though, costs can rocket:

Cost of lessons (47 recomm.) £1,100+
Provisional licence £34
Practical and theory tests £85
Overall cost £1,247

Now compare that to other EU countries:

Germany £2,164
Sweden £1,325
UK £1,247
France £1,008
Italy £616
Ireland £613

Not bad compared to Germany but the UK is actually the fifth most expensive country to get a driving licence in. If you want super low learning costs, move to Canada where the average price is £469.


Good News, Bad News: Taking the Test

The Good News
Nearly half of drivers aged under 25 pass the theory and practical test first time.

The Bad News
However, it takes most young drivers two attempts to make it through the practical test. To ensure you don’t fall foul of test-ruining faults, here are five of the most common:

5. Maintain progress – undue hesitation: 5.69%
4. Move off – control: 5.85%
3. Maintain progress – speed: 6.17%
2. Control – steering: 6.38%
1. Move off – safely: 7.37%


Good News, Bad News: Where to Take The Test

The Good News
Where you take your test can have a massive impact on whether you pass. If you’re based in Golspie test centre in Scotland, you may as well crack out the bubbly now thanks to its 82.1% pass rate – the best in the UK:

5. Llandrindod Wells, Powys: 71.6%
4. Kyle of Lochalsh, Ross & Cromarty: 72.0%
3. Ullapool, Ross & Cromarty: 74.5%
2. Mallaig, Lochabar: 77.8%
1. Golspie, Sutherland: 82.1%

The Bad News
If you live in Bexley, we offer you our most heartfelt condolences as it has the worst pass rate of any test centre in the UK, standing at a miserly 28.3%:

5. Wanstead, Redbridge: 32.4%
4. Cheetham Hill, Manchester: 32.2%
3. Garston, Liverpool: 32.1%
2. Erith, Bexley: 31.8%
1. Belvedere, Bexley: 28.3%

The Ugly News
Pass rates can vary dramatically between test centres that are just up the road from one another too. For instance, the Ashton Under Lyne test centre in Tameside has a respectable pass rate of 65.9%. Alas, Manchester’s Cheetham Hill test centre just five miles away has a pass rate of only 32.2%.

Good News, Bad News: What Car to Buy

The Good News
Once you have passed, two in five of you buy your first car based on parental influence and the same amount of you based on the budget available to you. The top five most popular cars for first-time buyers are:

5. Fiat 500
4. Renault Clio
3. VW Polo
2. Ford Fiesta
1. Vauxhall Corsa

The Bad News
According to Admiral’s rates though, the cheapest cars for under 25s to insure per year are:

5. Volkswagen Fox £638.20
4. Fiat Panda £635.24
3. Citroen C1 £632.14

2. Peugeot 107 £628.04
1. VW Up! £618.42

The Ugly News
A third of you are choosing cars based on their prestige and status alone, meaning increased costs including higher insurance premiums.


Good News, Bad News: Avoiding accidents

The Good News
Out of all the age groups, it’s the 17-24 year olds who have the least parking prangs when compared to experienced drivers.

The Bad News
Research shows that young drivers are five times more likely to be in a collision in England than OAPs based on 2016 figures. Drivers under 25 also account for 12% of speeding convictions, 14% of mobile phone convictions and 27% of drink driving convictions.


If you want to avoid a prang or accident, avoid the times Admiral says are the most common for accidents:

8-9am on Tuesday is prime ‘accident’ hour.

Friday is the most common day for a car accident with 5-6pm the most common time.

43% of claims for accidents are recorded during weekday ‘rush hour’ traffic.


• For more information about Admiral’s Young Driver Report, head here.

Goods News About the Theory Test!

Double your chances of theory test success by signing up to Theory Test Pro here for free.

1 Comment

  1. Emma Ashley

    I would like to point out that Bexley is actually a lovely place and that Erith and Belvedere are about as distant from Bexley as Westminster is from Brixton. Sidcup test centre, whose pass rate is not on your list, is actually by far the closest TC to Bexley and their test routes go through Bexley which those from Erith and Belvedere do not.

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