27 January, 2017

My dad only needed 10 driving lessons

Good for your Dad!

This is a common comment we hear as instructors, and it is often true that 30 or so years ago, drivers only took 10 hours to get them through their test, and wonder why it takes people so long now.

There are a few simple things which can explain this:

  • The test is now 40 minutes, not 25 which is how long it was in the late 70’s
  • Until 1999 test candidates were allowed to make unlimited ‘driver faults’, and they can now only make 15. Count up the amount of times that someone might miss a mirror check, or roll back a fraction on a hill, and it is easy to get to that 15 in your 40 minute drive.
  • The test also involves more manoeuvres, ask anyone who learnt to drive more than 15 years ago if they can reverse park to test standard, and few would be able to answer with an honest ‘yes’.
  • The test has become progressively stricter, in order to push up driving standards and reduce accidents on the road.
  • The traffic on the roads has increased hugely. How many families had 2 or even 3 cars in the late 70’s.

Hopefully this explains things, but if you are still wondering then ask your own family a few things:

  • Did your ‘dad’ get a lot of private practice? This helps a lot, but due to insurance considerations many people can no longer afford to do this
  • Did your ‘dad’ have a moped? This can teach road craft, and provide experience which transfers to car driving and reduces the need for time to build this experience up during lessons
  • Could your ‘dad’ pass the test today?!!!! And if the answer is ‘no’, then why not? The driving test is the minimum standard expected of today’s drivers. (I’d better not suggest refresher lessons at this point!)

So next time someone says to you ‘I only took 10 lessons to pass’ just remember that they would probably need more lessons than that to get them up to the standard to pass the test today!