Can anyone learn to drive a car?

This question is aimed at physically able bodied provisional licence learners, If you have a disability and would like to learn to drive a car, there is plenty of advice for diabled learner drivers from the citizens advice organisation.

There are quite a few people who have given up learning to driving in the UK either because they have failed the UK driving test a couple of times, have had a few driving lessons and have been told by their instructor they can't drive or have given up because they find driving very difficult, stressful and have not made significant progress in the time they have allocated to the task.

You would therefore be surprised by me saying that ANYONE can learn to drive. To kick start the process, get a copy of the official learning to drive guide shown, it will give a rough plan of what you will be expected to achieve. Since it is written by the people who conduct the UK driving test, you can be rest assured that all the information it contains will be of valuable use to you.

According to the DSA, the government body that conducts the UK driving test, the average pupil requires 40 hours of professional tuition with lots of private practise in between lessons to have a good chance of passing the test.

My experience has show that complete beginner Pupils can pass the test from about 30 hours upwards, those that usually pass with the least amount of tuition are young, usually male and confident (but not arrogant) and willing to learn. Note: Passing the test doesn't make you a good or safe driver, it is just the start of the experience building process.

So back to the question, people are different, and thus learn at different rates regardless of driving age, though statistics has shown that generally the young tend to learn faster. These facts not withstanding there will always be people who will have difficulty mastering the skills of driving, however that doesn't mean you should give up.

My Advice: If you are having problems, consider the following:

There are 3 main things that learning to drive will cost you. Time, Effort and Money.

Time: If you are having difficulty, then DO NOT compare yourself to anyone, you need to do it in YOUR time and not according to anyone else's, thus you will have to learn to ignore peer pressure and any pressure from anyone else. If it takes 2 years, what does it matter, if at the end of the day you achieve something that you thought was impossible.

Effort: This is the most difficult, only YOU can put in the work to overcome this difficulty. With driving there are two faculties involved, the brain and the limbs. You first of all have to have the knowledge in your head, then you need to get that information transferred to the limbs to do what is in your head. There is no short cut to this, it requires practise until you are confident at doing it without thinking about it. The harder it is for you, the more willing you have to be to overcome the difficulty.

Money: Well money has to come into it, but honestly, I think money is not usually the main reason why people give up. Anyway it will cost you more if you are having difficulty, so you would need to budget accordingly, if you are going to stick with it to the end. It means you might have to give up some luxuries so you can see your dream come through.

Having considered these points, the next thing you have to do is find a driving instructor that is willing to help you achieve your dream. Ask friends for recommendations, you are looking for someone who is willing to work hard with you. He or She should supply you with a Drivers Record, this is a syllabus of every skill required for the test, and at the end of each lesson you should be able to mark what you have achieved during that lesson. You need to take one step at a time, not in a rush, achieve some confidence in the skill (for example you should be confident in moving off and stopping before starting to deal with junctions).

If an instructor ever hints that they don't think you will be able to drive, that instructor is not willing to work for your hard earned cash, you need to look for someone else.

If you find the right instructor, and you are willing to put in the work both in the car and at home reading and learning, then it might take time, effort and money, but YOU WILL achieve your dream.

DON'T GIVE UP and don’t allow anyone to talk you into giving up or allow anything that happens while you are out on the road to cause you to give up, this is YOUR DREAM, LIVE IT.

Subscribe to my YouTube Driving Test Video Tips channel and you SHOULD also follow me on twitter here!

More Reading
Cheap driving lessons in london.
Do you just want to pass the driving test?
Failing the driving test.
Learning to drive in the UK advice.
Do not fail your driving test on junctions.


  1. Anonymous8:16 am

    The most common thing I here from instructors in our office is: "I've got a nightmare pupil who's never going to be able to drive". Hmm. Perhaps that's why there having lessons. My personal record was a 60 year old lady who took 380 hours over 5 years, 2 theory tests and 3 practical tests. Hard work but probably the most satisfying test pass, and worth it just to see her face when the examiner said "...and I'm pleased to tell you you've passed".

    1. Good for her im 52 and had 1st lesson yesterday..lots to learnšŸ™ˆbut i am determined nothing will stop me now

    2. Good luck with your driving Diane, and if you need any assistance check my ukadi Youtube channel or leave a comment on the blog.

  2. Anonymous2:23 pm

    Just seen your blog from comments you'd left in Tom Reynolds blog. Keep up the good work, sure lots of people will find it useful.

    You made a point earlier about learning to fill the car with petrol and knowing how to change a tyre. These are all very valid and important to learn as you'll need them after you pass your test!

    However something that could also be useful is teaching pupils how to respond to the emergency services when responding. I've been in a police car a couple of times trying to get to an urgent call but getting stuck behind a learner who panics and stops completely blocking a road down to one lane due to parked cars etc.

    Their hearts in the right place and they're simply trying to get out our way but they sometimes manage to stop us going anywhere for a little while, sometimes needing to reverse out the street completely and find an alternate route!

    The above applies to normal drivers too so I'm not just picking on learners, it's just perhaps slightly more pronounced as they're still learning car control and tend to stall etc. :-)

    If you could perhaps do a blog entry emphasing not to panic and how to pull over to the left and stop when it's safe and the road is clear (please don't pull over on double-line blind bends etc) then I think that would be useful.

  3. I'll try and do a post this week, thanks for the suggestion.

  4. Anonymous8:34 pm

    Your words have really helped me today. I have had 20 hours of lessons and feel I am never going to "get it". I am an older woman, in my 30's and had been feeling I have left it too late. I am getting better every week, but am making very slow progress and driving is not a natural reaction yet by a long shot. I was ready to give up this week, but reading your blog has persuaded me to carry on. THANKS!

  5. Good to hear that I've encouraged someone. Wish you the best, and hope you pass your test soon.

  6. Anonymous12:58 pm

    Your words have really helped me as well. I started taking driving lessons over 2 years ago and have probably had over 50 lessons. Over the two years I have had 3 months and 10 months break from driving because I had given up. I've started again after almost a year and felt ready to give up again, my brain knows what to do but my limbs don't, I just have to keep trying and not compare myself to others.

  7. I've read your blog tosay with renewed optimism. I tried learning last year alas instructor i didn't feel confident with. Been puting it off for months finding someone new. I need a car for work can't rely on lifts always and taxis are expensive

  8. Anonymous10:38 pm

    Are you really sure anyone can learn how to drive? I've failed my test FIVE times. I honestly think I'm just too stupid to drive. I keep thinking one day it'll click and it just isn't. I feel like such an idiot and I think I'm getting worse, not better. Any advice?

  9. Anonymous8:55 am

    Had 5 attempts at the driving test and you are thinking of giving up on learning to drive a car! I know personally of someone who took 11 tests before passing (wasn't taking driving lessons with me).

    Like I said before, it is not going to be easy for everyone, but if you persist and keep giving it your best shot at each attempt (think of it as your first), then you will eventually pass the driving test.

    You can not allow the number of failures, the cost, or the thought of people calling you stupid stop you from achieving your dream of learning to drive and get that full UK driving licence.

    The only one stopping you is YOU. Success is failure that tried one more time! Read the stories of Abraham Lincoln and Colonel Sanders (KFC co-founder).

  10. sinead8:57 pm

    im so glad i read this because i was sitting here crying because i just tried pull off on a corner and ended up on the other side of the road,last wk i near hit jeep turning a corner 2 fast,im doing ok with instructer yet when im trying in my brothers car im so bad i might as well not of learnt anything,in saying this iv only had 2 professional lessons.but my brother said there is no way he will let me use his car to learn in between m lessons!even though im here in tears with disapointment im going keep tring.

  11. I am 56 and on my 5th lesson in automatic - nerves are my worst thing and feeling embarrassed with my age - people looking at me etc. So far I have reversed around a corner, done 3 point turn, round abouts, traffic lights etc so i think progress is being made but wish my nerves would calm down

  12. Denise, you sure seem to be making progress if you have done you mentioned. Remember this is for YOU, getting a licence will grant you freedom, and it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks or says. Having a late start has nothing to do with it, so no need to be embarrassed!

    As long as you have a supportive instructor, your nerves will settle with time, don't be afraid to make mistakes, just learn from them, and when the time for the test comes, just give it your best shot. If you fail at the first attempt keep trying until you succeed don't let anything stop you, including the thought of how much money you are spending, remember the GOAL!

    Good luck, and don't forget to check out the many videos and tips I have on my website.

  13. I'm 27 and I'm learning to drive been learning since Jan this year and feel like a total retard when I do something wrong I'm so close to giving up keep stalling ect its fustraiting when you people who have passed after only a few lessons




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