Friday, 25 September 2009

Driving in the UK

For those of you who do not live in the UK, let me enlighten you on the cost of getting a driving licence here.
£50 - provisional licence
£31 - theory test
£62 - practical test
£143 - minimum!

Now, I say minimum because most overseas drivers need lessons to pass the UK test. Usually around 5-10 (for people who already know how to drive, they recommend 45 lessons for new drivers!) and at an average of £25/hr, that's an additional £125-250 (or up to £1,125 for 45). Also factor in that many people (even those who have driven for years and years in America) fail the practical test the first time, you can double or even triple that number. Lastly, add in the cost of the books to study for the theory test and the average cost rises to a whopping £450+/$717+

{Photo from the BBC}

Can you believe that?!

When I took my driving test in Oregon it cost $22.50 for the permit and the drivers manual was FREE! It was approximately $200 for drivers ed, $14 for the testing and $59 for the licence. I, like most Americans, passed on the first try as well so the total for obtaining my licence was about $295/£185.
Unfortunately, I passed driving an automatic and have only ever driven an automatic. In the UK, everyone drives manual cars and unlike in the states, you have to pass your practical test on a manual in order to legally drive a manual. Looks like I may need a lot of lessons!

I ordered the application forms for my provisional licence yesterday and they should arrive in 7-10 days. I better get to the bank and take out a personal loan too...

10 comments:

N J said...

That seems like a bit expensive to me... All the best for your driving test. Do well :)

Anonymous said...

Can I just correct you on "everyone" drives manual cars in the UK. They actually do not. You can get automatic versions of most cars in this country. Also if you pass your driving test in a manual car, you are allowed to drive manual and automatic vehicles. If you pass in just an automatic car, you can only drive an automatic car. It seems a lot of Americans in this country think as you do, but that is simply not the case. Anyway good luck with your driving lessons.

UK Christine =^..^= said...

I just completed an intensive driving course this week! I had driving lessons Mon/Tues, took my theory test on Tuesday afternoon, did more driving Wednesday morning and my Practical on Wednesday afternoon and passed first go! If you look around it is MUCH cheaper to do an intensive course. It cost £499 and that includes the Theory and Practical test fees, the use of the car the B&B and mine was a guarantee pass meaning if I did fail the practical I could come back for free for more lessons, etc.. I took mine in an automatic as we bought an automatic. :)

Mrs Barker said...

To anonymous...
Thank you for your input. I do know that automatic cars are available and that if you pass on an automatic you can drive either. I was simply trying to clarify the difference for American readers, because regardless of the car we test in, we are licenced for both transmissions.

Mrs Barker said...

To UK Christine...
I will definitely have to look into an intensive program! I wish we had an automatic and I didn't have to add that to my learning as well :/
Which program did do? It seems quite good!

Yet said...

My gosh! That makes me happy to be here. It cost even less than that in Georgia!! I heard that it's harder to get a license in most other countries than it is in the US!

mădălina said...

ouch. thats just nuts! I was in London this past summer and I couldn't believe how expensive everything is. I live in Toronto, so in comparison, everything was way too much.

Goodluck, and hopefully you don't have to take the test twice:)

Cocoplum said...

Yikes! That's insane. In Canada the manual was about $8 (free online), and the learners license is $22.50. The full new drivers license is $72.10 which is a graduated system (can't drive between midnight and 5am for 2 years) then you pay another $72.10 and you get your full license.

Unfortunately I never learned to drive, and will have to do it here in the Bahamas - where people drive like lunatics. Joy! :P

Good luck... hopefully you can find a program like UK Christine found. Sounds... sorta reasonable? Comparatively!

Michelle said...

jeez... and i thought ten bucks for a driving test here in hawaii was outrageous (hahah probably only because i failed)... anyway, good with your driving lessons :)

Rob - Romford said...

You think the UK is expensive, try learning to drive in Germany, talking to a friend he says that the average cost is around £2000!