how to learn to drive without lessons

Last Updated on August 28, 2023

Collegelearners will provide you with all the relevant information you are looking for on how to teach yourself to drive, learning how to drive a car for the first time, learning to drive tips for nervous drivers, and so much more.

how to learn to drive without lessons

Learning to drive without an instructor

To reduce the cost of driving lessons, some people recruit a parent or friend to teach them. Here’s our guide to learning with family or friends.

Driving lessons are essential for passing your driving test, however sessions with an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) can be expensive.

Advantages of learning without an ADI

  • Professional lessons can cost as much as £50 an hour so some learners choose to mix professional ADI sessions with those from family or friends or just go with the latter
  • If you’ll be using the family car once you pass your test, you may feel more comfortable practising in the same one. Then, when you’re on the road, you won’t need to readjust
  • You may be lucky to have more opportunities to practice. Not having to schedule in times or be cut off once your hour is up, may give you more road time. And you might get the chance to experience different light and weather conditions

Car Insurance

What do you need if you’re learning without an instructor?

  • Make sure that the person teaching you is over 21 and has had their licence for more than three years
  • It’s illegal to pay someone to teach you if they aren’t a certified ADI, so it needs to be someone who’s happy to give up their time for free
  • You need to have your provisional licence and your own insurance as a learner driver if you’re practising in a car you own. Your family member or friend will usually be covered on this
  • If you’re practising in someone else’s car, you need to make sure their insurance policy covers you as a learner driver
  • Some policies may also have specifications on who can supervise you, so make sure you check
  • The practical test is only one part of becoming a qualified driver. Knowing the Highway Code and  ‘show me, tell me’ questions are important, as is practising hazard perception simulations

Tips for learning without an instructor

Preparing for your practical driving test

Once you’ve completed the eyesight check and the ‘show me, tell me’ questions, you’ll be tested on your driving skills. The examiner will ask you to carry out various manoeuvres including: 

  • Driving on different roads and in differing levels of traffic
  • Pulling out and from behind a parked car 
  • Hill starts
  • Reversing around corners, turning in the road and reversing into a parking space

Make sure you let the person teaching you know what will be required of you, so they can prioritise your goals (and brush up themselves if necessary).

Beating your emotions

One of the main reasons that puts off people from learning with family and friends is the fear of tension arising. But this can be avoided with forward-planning and a by creating calm environment in the car.

If you’re both clear about your objectives before you start, this should help things run smoothly. If you’re feeling anxious, take a deep breath and stop if you need to. Go out again when you’re feeling calmer. 

You can carry passengers in the back of the car while you’re still a learner, but it’s distracting so best avoided where possible. 

Take it slowly

Ultimately, you want to be a proficient and conscientious driver, so take your time – passing your test is a marathon, not a sprint.

10 Useful Tips For Learning To Drive


Learning to drive can be a stressful, time-consuming and financially draining experience. And it can seem daunting and overwhelming to learners.

But most of us need to drive. So we’ve put together a handy list of useful tips that will help you pass your driving test as quickly and cheaply as possible


It pays to know the basics before your first lesson. The chances are that someone close to you owns a car, so get them to show you the key parts before your first lesson. Knowing your way around a vehicle beforehand might make it easier when your instructor comes to explain to you how to drive a car.


Although people are encouraged to at least try to learn to drive in a manual car, it is not for everybody. Many people now opt to learn to drive in an automatic cars which can be more convenient and even more fuel efficient than manual cars. 

But just be aware that if you get an automatic driving license, you will not be permitted to drive a manual car.


No minimum number of lessons are required to pass your test and there is no fixed time frame for learning to drive. Most people spread their driving lessons out over several months but you can also take an intensive driving course if your budget allows.

If you decide to spread out your lessons, we suggest block booking them with at least one or two lessons per week for weeks in advance. This way you’ll remember more going into each lesson and you won’t have to worry about the availability of your instructor. Some instructors may also offer a discount for block booking.


Choosing the right instructor is crucial to how quickly you learn. Don’t just go with the first instructor you find. Ring around the big driving schools and local approved driving instructors and question them on their prices, qualifications, experience and track record. Word of mouth from people you trust is usually a good way of choosing an instructor.

But, if you’re really not happy with your instructor, don’t be afraid to switch. It could save you time and money in the long run.


Professional driving instructors know exactly what examiners look for during a practical driving test. Therefore, their advice and methods on aspects such as mirror checks and speed are invaluable.  Even though their advice will likely be different to what you have observed as a passenger from other drivers.


Buying a used car to practise in between lessons can help you learn and pass your driving test quicker. But it’s important to note that, until you pass your driving test, you must be accompanied by someone over 21 who has had a full driving licence for at least three years. Additionally, it’s crucial you practise in exactly the same way as taught by your instructor to avoid picking up bad habits.

Also, make sure you shop around for the best learner driver car insurance deals and check out our tips on what to look for when buying a car.


Learner drivers are unable to take their practical driving test until they have passed their driving theory test. Your instructor should give you some theory learning resources once you understand the basics of driving. But there are plenty of great additional materials you can access whenever you like online, including a practice theory test based on the real thing.

It won’t hurt to learn the theory from the start in your own time. It can only benefit your road knowledge and chances of passing.


Mistakes are inevitable but you shouldn’t dwell on them. Whether it be stalling the vehicle under pressure or getting a manoeuvre wrong, it is important to remain calm in these situations and not to worry about what other drivers think. Just like you, they have been in exactly the same situation and should fully empathise.

Some mistakes will also go unpunished on driving tests providing you rectify them and react in a safe and proper way. Practise responding in a calm way.


Don’t beat yourself up if you fail once or even multiple times. Take any feedback on board so you won’t make the same mistake next time.

Also book your next test right away. Leaving it too long between tests may result in you forgetting certain things and end up costing you more money on further lessons and tests.


When you pass your test, the learning continues. You’ll face new situations all the time, such as motorways, city centre driving and tight parking. Therefore, it’s important you do not dismiss all you have learnt and that you approach each new situation with the same careful thinking and execution taught by your instructor.

Can I Learn To Drive Quickly?

Whilst passing your test and driving for the first time can be an eagerly awaited moment for most – it can often result in the want to fast track your time as a learner driver.

Some opt for intense driving courses over driving lessons for this very reason. However, there is a reason why learning to drive takes time and practice.

It’s often not as simple as jumping in a car, driving for a few days and passing a test. Driving lessons provide you with the structure and discipline needed to remain safe on the roads. They allow you to build the skills required to deal with a range of scenarios you’ll encounter whilst driving.

Intense driving courses offer a full week or two of lessons followed by the test – teaching learners in a shorter time frame and requiring the need to take holiday from work. However, they are not for everyone. You should consider your own circumstances. Ask yourself:

  • Am I confident enough in my driving abilities to learn so quickly?
  • Why do I need to pass so quickly?
  • If I don’t pass after the crash course will it have been a waste of money and time?

Driving a car is all about practice. Learning to drive quickly with a crash course might get you your licence sooner, but it will not offer you the same skill set and experience than ongoing lessons would.

Ongoing driving lessons are bespoke to your abilities as a driver. There is no pressure to be the perfect driver within one or two weeks of an impending test. You can learn at your own pace and digest more knowledge along the way.

Learning to drive can be easier than you think. Hopefully these tips will help you get started.

learning how to drive a car for the first time

7 Tips on Learning How to Drive a Car for the First Time

It’s true. Driving is an unfortunate necessity anywhere that isn’t a major metro, and that means that more people are learning how to drive a car for the first time every day. Is it your turn to get behind the wheel?

Whether you’re an adult or a teenager, getting on the road for the first time is stressful. It’s normal to be anxious! We’re here to offer you some advice so you can become a confident driver.

Read on for our top tips for learning how to drive.

1. Be an Observant Passenger

Learning how to drive starts with observing other drivers. Sure, it’s best to learn by doing, but you can’t “do” before you watch.

Before you even start learning on your own, watch how the person driving the vehicle that you’re in drives. Don’t mention this to them at first as you want to see their natural driving behavior. Keep in mind that many people aren’t exactly perfect drivers, so this behavior is going to be an example rather than a guide.

After some time has passed, talk to the driver about observing them. They can explain what they’re doing while they’re doing it, and they’ll likely pay more attention to their own driving. It might feel strange, but don’t be afraid to take notes.

You should also observe other drivers on the road. Knowing common road conditions and how other drivers behave will prepare you for becoming a defensive and observant driver in the future. Remember, a practice track can’t prepare you for the highway.

2. Don’t Be Afraid to Re-Take Driver Training Classes

You’re going to have to take a class before you start driving regardless of whether you’re an adult or a teenager. It’s easy to “go through the motions” while you’re in class, but try to be attentive so you can learn as much as possible.

This class is going to teach you how to be a good driver. While you won’t use all of this information while you’re on the road, it will prepare you for emergency situations and basic road safety. Again, take notes.

If you’re still confused after you’ve taken the class, you can take another class. Instructors want you to be ready and no one will shame you for trying to get more information.

3. Find the Right Guides

Before you start driving, you’re going to want to practice with another person in the car with you. Make sure that you pick the right person.

If you don’t know anyone personally who is a good driver, you may be able to find a driving instructor that will work with you from start to finish. Ideally, though, there will be someone in your personal life who is able to teach you.

When you’re making your decision, consider whether or not the person is qualified to help. How many tickets do they have? Have they been in an accident recently?

If you realize that your helper isn’t aligning with your needs, there’s nothing wrong with finding a new one (or driving with multiple people).

4. Start Slow (It’s Not a Race)

Getting behind the wheel for the first time is both exciting and anxiety-inducing. Most people want to get onto the highway right away, but it’s not a race. Take it slow so you can stay safe.

Most people start in large and empty parking lots. Try to choose a time when no one is in the parking lot. While people aren’t supposed to drive around in business lots, most business owners understand that learning to drive is a special exception.

Once you know how to drive straight, stop, check your mirrors, and adjust your speed, you can move onto back roads. If you live in a major city, this can be difficult and you might have to stick to neighborhood streets. If there are no back roads available, ask your driver instruction school where they would recommend practicing.

Eventually, it will be time to get on the highway, but you shouldn’t do this until you’re ready to stay up-to-speed with other drivers. Remember, part of being a safe driver is keeping pace with other drivers.

5. Know the Basics

Both for your overall safety and for your inevitable driver’s test, you’re going to need to know the basics of road safety, traffic laws, and your car. You’re even going to know a few things that you’ll almost never use while you’re on the road.

Look into your local driving laws and make sure that you have a solid grip on them. Memorize any and all common signs and concepts that you might encounter at some point, even if you won’t need them in your area. For example, you should know what to do at a railroad crossing even if there’s no railroad crossing near you.

6. Study (And Then Study Some More)

Knowing the basics isn’t enough. You’re going to have to study (and then keep studying). Lucky for you, studying for local driving tests is easier than ever with the abundance of online resources available.

Look for study guides for your local area. Each state, country, province, and region has a study guide and practice test. For example, you can find a basic region-specific driver’s practice test for Toronto

Study guides aren’t exactly like the tests, but they’ll give you a headstart.

7. Remember That Failing Is Okay

It’s normal to fail your driver’s test the first time. You might even fail it twice. Keep in mind that failing is common and it doesn’t mean that you’re bound to be a bad driver in the future.

Instead of taking your failure personally, use it as an opportunity to further your education. When you fail a driver’s test, you’ll see your blindspots.

Learning How to Drive a Car for the First Time? No Problem

You’re sure to have some anxiety when you’re learning how to drive a car for the first time, but almost everyone goes through this experience. If you use these tips and pay attention to the road, you’ll be a confident driver before you know it.

Remember: everything is scary when you first start it. Get behind the wheel and conquer your fear.

8 tips for nervous drivers

With driving comes a lot of responsibility. And naturally, this can evoke some stress or nervous feelings among drivers – especially if they have recently passed their test. So how do you deal with anxiety while driving? Read on to learn our 8 tips for nervous drivers, from making sure your vehicle is prepared for your journey to using your satnav and traffic apps.

Why am I such a nervous driver?

First, it could be helpful to establish why you’re feeling nervous while driving. There are many reasons why you could be a nervous driver, or you’re experiencing driving anxiety, some of which could include:

  • New driver – as a new driver, you’re unlikely to have been subjected to a wide variety of driving experiences, which can lead to nerves due to lack of control or the unknown.
  • Driving alone – it may be that you’re experiencing driving anxiety mostly while driving alone. Perhaps as a new driver, you spent a lot of time with other people in the car – so when it comes to driving alone, you’re simply not used to it.
  • Driving at night – one of the most common reasons to be a nervous driver is driving at night. Everything looks different in the dark, and it’s especially nerve-racking driving in unfamiliar areas that may be dimly lit past sunset.
  • Anxiety about driving long distances – driving long distances more often than not includes motorway driving, which can be a trigger for nervous drivers. The length of the drive can also be a point of stress for some drivers.
  • Driving following an accident – of course, if you’ve had an accident or someone you know has been involved in an accident, this is enough to cause many people to feel nervous while driving.

8 tips for nervous drivers

So now we’ve established why you may be experiencing anxiety behind the wheel, here are our top 8 tips on how not to be a nervous driver:

1. Prepare your vehicle

Part of driving anxiety is feeling like you’re not in control over everything on the road. True, you can’t control how fast other drivers go, or if they pull out on you at a roundabout. But what you can control is a level of safety of your own vehicle.

Check that your tyres are in good condition, ensuring you look for any signs of uneven tyre wear or damage. Familiarise yourself with tyre safety tips – as knowing that your tyres will take care of you should alleviate some of your driving concern!

Another way to prepare your vehicle is to make sure your car has been regularly serviced. Knowing your vehicle is properly checked and maintained should help you relax slightly more while behind the wheel.

2. Asses your mental state

A top tip to figure out how to deal with anxiety while driving is knowing your own mind. When you’re stressed about something and feeling overwhelmed, that isn’t necessarily the best time to try and tackle your nerves. Wait until you feel comfortable and more confident – it’s likely you’ll have a better chance of success if you’re in a calmer state of mind.

3. Listen to music

It’s proven that music has positive correlation to calming nerves – so why not try to listen to some upbeat music while on your drive? Ensure the volume level is moderate, as you wouldn’t want the music too loud to distract you, but enough distraction from the anxiety of driving. Alternatively, you could listen to calming classical music to soothe your nerves, as this is likely to improve concentration.

4. Combat nerves with company

As established earlier, driving alone may be a trigger for nervous drivers. To be able to combat your driving anxiety, try driving with a family member or a friend as being able to talk to them can work in the same way that music does, in that it removes the initial stress of the action. However, it can work in an opposite way for some people – it may be that driving with passengers in the car can add another level of pressure and stress, so it’s subjective to the individual’s preferences.

5. Drive in familiar areas

While trying to combat your nerves, drive only in familiar areas that you know, and preferably in daylight. Here, you’ll be able to anticipate when you need to turn right; what exit you need to take on the roundabout; where the dual carriageways are – meaning there’s likely to be less surprises.

Of course, you can’t account for knowing everything on your route, as there may be temporary traffic lights or roadworks, but at least you’ll know where you are. Try to drive around familiar areas a few times a week for at least 20 minutes, and hopefully soon you’ll get used to it!

6. Use the satnav

These days, most modern cars have built in satnavs, or you should be able to use your phone in a cradle by using a Maps app to direct you. You may know where you’re going, but being able to visualise the map of the roads could be helpful to calm your nerves! You can see what’s coming, where you need to turn next and how long you have left of your journey.

Using traffic apps, such as Waze, are also a great way to stay in control on your drive. This is not only a satnav, but a live traffic app – monitoring the roads using real-time information about the traffic condition. So no surprise queues or sitting in traffic for half an hour – with traffic apps, you can divert your route, or at least be prepared for what’s coming!

7. Clean car, clean mind

Similar to the prospect of tidy house, tidy life, if your car is full of junk, it may lead you to feel stressed and less in control during your drive. It could also be dangerous to have your car untidy under the driver footwell – as rubbish could get lodged and stuck underneath your brake pedal. It may be worth cleaning the outside of your vehicle too, as if it becomes too dirty, this could lead to problems on the road, such as registration plates not being clear to read – which is a criminal offence.

8. Go back to basics

It may be that you’re not phased by driving at night, or driving alone – but it’s your driving technique which is causing you to stress. Go back to basics by relearning and practising good driving habits, such as continually checking your mirrors when you are turning or braking; ensuring there is enough distance between you and the driver in front of you; and signalling with plenty of time. If you’re still unsure, it may be worth brushing up on your theory test, such as hazard perception or road signs, or even having a few refresher lessons with a driving instructor.

Now you know how to deal with anxiety while driving, ensure your vehicle is ready for its next journey. Book in for an Interim or master service, ensure your tyre pressure is correct and your vehicle is prepared for both long and short journeys on the road. For any more motoring queries or advice for nervous drivers, get in touch with a member of our helpful team today.

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