‘Frustrating’: Learner drivers may have to wait up to six months for driving lessons

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Around 81 percent of driving instructors are reporting waiting lists, with some being told to wait more than six months, according to a new survey. The research, conducted by Young Driver, found that 26 percent of driving instructors had a waiting list of more than three months.

Six percent of instructors said their pupils would have to wait longer than six months.

More than a third of instructors reported that several of their potential students had given up entirely or decided to postpone learning to drive.

Because of the long delays as a result of the pandemic, many learner drivers have seen their theory tests expire.

Some who are giving up or postponing it are doing so as a result of being unable to get a test date before starting university, or that their financial situations had changed.

Sue Waterfield, head of marketing at Young Driver, highlighted the impact Covid had on learner drivers.

She 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.”

Further research from Marmalade Insurance has shown that in total, 2020 saw 149 days of delays for tests, whilst in 2021, there will have been a further 112 days without tests.

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There are, however, plenty of resources for learner drivers to use to sharpen their driving skills while they wait.

The Government website has a list of driving instructors and schools which could have availability.

Starting to get private practice with family or friends can be helpful, but those accompanying learners must have held full licences for at least three years and be aged over 21.

Sue Waterfield also advised younger drivers not to feel pressured to go with the first instructor they find who has availability.

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