Learning to drive isn’t particularly easy for the vast majority of people, and that’s not an altogether bad thing really, considering the responsibility that comes with taking to the open road in at least 1000kg of fast moving metal.
Exactly which approach to learning is the best is a more hotly debated issue.
From slow and steady 1-2 hours a week plans, and pushing family relationships to the limits by learning from a parent, to the all or nothing full-on experience of an intensive driving course, there’s no definitely right or wrong way to learn, as ultimately it comes down to personal abilities, attitude, finances and circumstances.
If you have very limited free time week to week, then arranging lessons as and when may work better for you – so long as that allows you to experience driving at different times of the day, and if you have limited spare cash then co-opting your dad into ‘teaching’ you the basics may be the only viable solution.
However, people with a block of free time, who are fully committed to trying their best often prefer to attend an intensive driving course. They do this partly to get the whole process out of the way much faster than usual, and also simply because the advantages of devoting a chunk of time and cash to learning to drive may make it worth it.
Let’s take a look in more detail, and in no particular order, at seven of the reasons why intensive driving courses are an efficient and worthwhile option worth pursuing.
Reason #1 – The Financial Commitment is a Great Motivator
Although most intensive driving courses work out cheaper than conventional lessons when calculated on an hour-for-hour comparison basis, they do involve a hefty initial payment. For many people, this means saving hard and then passing on a week or two of holidaying in the sun with friends or family to do the course instead.
This kind of financial commitment provides a really strong motivation to work hard and be successful, as does making the effort to stick with a schedule which at times may seem tiring and punishing.
Reason #2 – Instructor and Learner Create a Close Bond
It’s pretty much impossible to learn to drive confidently in a short space of time, (or even at all?), if you don’t get on with your instructor. After all, you have to spend a lot of time in close proximity with someone who is there to teach, guide, correct and support you – if you clash personality wise, or your approaches to learning to drive (and all that involves) are polar opposites, an hour or two together will be unbearable, never mind 4 or 5 hours in a day.
Thankfully, your assessment lesson provides the chance for you to check your instructor out, and in most cases things will go very well. Getting this intense and focused relationship right is crucial, and spending long periods of time together really helps to forge bonds faster than a regular schedule of learning would.
Reason #3 – There’s Time to Really Focus on Weak Spots
Intensive driving schools like momentumdrivingschool.com who offer only 1-1 lessons, personalise and maximise learning opportunities, and allow the instructor to pick up on, and really focus on improving your particular weak spots. So, if there’s a manoeuvre you struggle with, or something you find uncomfortable or challenging, you have lots of support to get you through.
Reason #4 – Learning is Much More Efficient
At the end of the day, you take driving lessons – in any form – to learn and then improve on the skills, moves and manoeuvres necessary to be considered capable of driving alone. This is where intensive lessons have a huge advantage as both instructor and learner are very focused and keen to get straight into the task, plus there is less time lost at the beginning and end of each session as you become acclimatized to driving again and the instructor has to recap previous moves and information given, as well as remember lots of things about you and your particular needs, or, quite naturally, start to flag after a lesson. Think of it this way, if 10 minutes of a normal lesson are used for warming up and winding down, then a six-hour day gives you nearly an entire hour more practice time.
Reason #5 – You Avoid Developing Bad Habits
Pretty much every qualified driver on the planet has at least one bad habit, many have several, and these foibles are not always something we are even aware of half the time. If you try to cut costs by getting lessons from a friend or family member the chances are you’ll unconsciously pick up those bad habits too.
It can be a real challenge for an instructor to be faced with undoing these bad habits while trying to also teach you the correct way to do something. Sometimes this is simply because things have changed in the way drivers are assessed, and what was okay thirty years ago is not allowed in contemporary tests; while in other cases, it is more to do with developing a style of driving which suits you individually but may not always be 100% correct. Regardless, on test day the official expectations are all that matters.
Choosing to learn on an intensive driving course makes it much less likely you will see and copy poor driving habits, but if you want to be comfortable with the very basics it is fine to have someone show you how to do things like get the car moving, or change gears, and supervise you practicing those – but leave all other things to those trained and qualified to do the task properly. This also avoids the legal pitfalls of having the wrong person ‘supervise’ your learner driving.
Reason #6 – They Build Self Confidence and Self Belief
When you have a particularly good day on an intensive driving course, the world feels like it’s at your feet, and the momentum this creates pushes you on to achieve even more and do even better. Equally as important, when you have a bit of a bad day or a small crisis, the instructor has time to talk you through it, develop strategies to overcome weaknesses, and build confidence to help you bounce back and start doing well again. Waiting a week or so after a poor lesson may deter some people from ever trying again.
Reason #7 – The Instructors Have Local Knowledge
Presuming you choose to join a local intensive course, you will become familiar with the test routes used and this really helps make taking the practical test a little bit less stressful.
There‘s lots of evidence to support the concept of intensive driving lessons, and although such a full-on approach isn’t ever going to be ideal for everybody, it is something worth looking at and seriously thinking about.
Overall, it’s an extremely supportive and highly charged experience, which requires discipline, concentration and self belief – plus it’s also cheaper in the long term and just as valid a result as any other pass paper.