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Driving instructors offer advice to held up learners, as 81% say they have a waiting list

Driving instructors offer advice to held up learners, as 81% say they have a waiting list

Eight out of 10 driving instructors (81 per cent) are reporting they have a waiting list of potential pupils, with 68 per cent saying learners will have to wait more than two months to have their first lesson.

Young Driver, which is the UK’s largest pre-17 driving school, questioned 150 driving instructors and discovered that one in 16 (six per cent) had a waiting list that was longer than six months. One in four (26 per cent) said pupils would wait three months or more. Only three per cent of instructors said they could take pupils on immediately.

It has been well documented how difficult it is currently for young people wanting to learn to drive, as lockdown has led to a shortage of both instructor and driving test availability. Over two thirds of the instructors Young Driver questioned (69 per cent) said pupils they are currently teaching are unable to have as many lessons as they want. Many reported being unable to offer lessons more than once a fortnight due to the high demand.

Worryingly, one in three (37 per cent) said some of their pupils had given up on learning to drive for a couple of years at least, for a number of reasons - from expired theory tests and youngsters knowing they would be unable to get a test before leaving for university, to a change in their financial situation.

Young Driver asked instructors what advice they’d offer to pupils struggling to find someone to take them on:

Plan ahead. If you’re approaching 17 in a few months start looking now, as you’re likely to be on a waiting list for a while.

Cast your net wide. Ask friends and contacts for their recommendations but also contact your local driving instructor association and use the government website. Get on several waiting lists as you never know who may get a cancellation.

Start getting private practice. Get behind the wheel with trusted family members or friends (they must be over 21, fully qualified and have had a driving licence for at least three years).

Use technology to brush up on your skills. Young Driver recently launched an app which includes 360-degree in-car videos, taking pupils from first lesson to driving test. Using a smartphone or VR headset, the videos are rotatable so they can be seen from every angle, and cover everything from tackling junctions and roundabouts to manoeuvres such as parking or reversing. It’s a great way to keep practicing when you can’t be physically driving.

Take this time to prepare for your theory test. Familiarise yourself with the driving test format and the show me, tell me questions. Learning to drive isn't all about being behind the wheel of a car, so get ahead by doing the foundations. The Young Driver app includes theory test practice modules and hazard perception videos, to help you prepare.

Don’t feel pressured to go with any instructor you can find. It’s very important to choose an instructor you feel comfortable with as it will make the learning process much easier. Try not to feel panicked into making a decision you don’t feel happy with as it could be counterproductive.

Consider off road schemes to fill the gap. Young Driver typically offers lessons to 10-17 year olds, but anyone is welcome. Lessons are held with fully qualified instructors in a dual controlled Vauxhall Corsa and you learn in the same way you would on the road – but on private property. It’s a great way to get to grips with the mechanics of driving and basic car controls.

Sue Waterfield, head of marketing at Young Driver, said: “The delays in the system are very frustrating for teenagers who want to learn to drive and it’s disheartening to hear many are having to put their dream of learning to drive on hold. Driving can open so many doors for young people in terms of employment and education, especially in more rural locations. One of the reasons we launched the Young Driver app was to help those learners who’d had their learning to drive journey halted due to lockdown to keep practicing and keep those skills front of mind.”

Young Driver has delivered over 950,000 driving lessons at 70 private venues across the UK. For more information go to or to download the app search ‘Young Driver App’ on Google Play or the App Store.

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