During a recent Parliament Select Committee, the Director of General Insurance and Health for the ABI (Association of British Insurers) Nick Starling, called for a ban on intensive driving courses. He stressed that this ban would enable learner drivers to gain experience in a wider variety of road conditions.
The ABI’s main push is to maximise the amount of practice for learners before they pass, so when it comes to being on the road as a legal driver, they are less likely to have an accident, hopefully lowering the statistics of young people in accidents. The end result would be to lower the price of insurance also.
But is the call for the ban appropriate?
What are the benefits of taking an Intensive Driving Course?
Companies that offer Intensive Driving Courses often advertise a high pass rate or even a “guaranteed pass” at the end of the course. This has led to the impression that an intensive driving course is the ‘easy’ route to passing your test.
Intensive courses usually offer back-to-back lessons during a short period, so the information that is taught – is retained. If you take your driving test after a week of back to back lessons, most of the knowledge you’ve learnt will still be fresh in your mind. This should make you primed and ready for your driving test.
So, if you are a fast learner, it’s a fast pass – right? Remember, learning quickly doesn’t necessarily make you an experienced driver.
The price of Intensive Driving Courses Vs. Weekly Lessons
A UK learner will, on average, take 30 hours of instructor-led driving lessons with an additional 20 hours of private practise before taking their test. If the lessons each cost an average of £22, learning to drive could cost them an extortionate figure, in the sum of £1,000 (excluding test costs).
If you compare this to a week-long driving course that costs on average £500-£800 (including the test cost) it’s easy to see how this option is tempting. It’s faster and it’s cheaper.
However, in several cases, not enough practice combined with being overwhelmed with information, leads to failure of the driving test. This is where you may end up losing money, as you’ll have to re-take your driving test multiple times.
The dangers of Intensive Driving Courses
An Intensive Driving Course is a great way to reach test standard in a short period, but it may not make you an experienced driver.
By taking the driving lessons weekly, as per usual, you will encounter several different driving conditions. These conditions will be things such as: driving in the dark, or varying weather conditions.
Weekly driving lessons allow more time for you to become an experienced driver at a sensible pace. Learning over a longer period allows the information given in lessons to enter your long-term memory. This will hopefully mean you’ll remember good driving practices years after you pass your test.
Think about it, who’s car would you rather be in, someone who has just passed their test after learning for a week or someone who’s passed their test after learning for a year?
Practice makes perfect
Learning what others learn in several months, in a week, can be overwhelming. Everyone learns at different paces and it’s important that whatever scheme you’re learning with, the experience is tailored to suit you best.
If you want to increase your chances of passing to minimise the costs of learning to drive, consider our short-term car insurance for learner drivers. It allows you to practise in a family member/ friend’s, car between lessons. This can go a long way in helping you gain more driving experience before your test.