Driving-Lessons-Sunderland CHRISCHAMBERS School of Motoring

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When setting out on the personal journey to learn to drive, it is both a decision and a commitment you must make yourself - for yourself.  The actual decision to learn to drive is not a decision that someone else can, or should talk you into.  In reality, if you are indeed doing it because someone else thinks you should, then in all honesty you are doing it for entirely the wrong reasons: after all, it is you that will have to do the work and find the motivation to put in the effort.

Listed below is a selection of the most commonly asked questions.  Should your particular question or query not be listed, please do not hesitate to contact me: I will be more than happy to be of assistance.

  • Why should I learn to drive, and why is having a driving licence beneficial?
    • Having a full driving licence provides independence, increased employment opportunities and ultimately a hugely valuable & rewarding skill for life.  However, to be a successful and safe driver, it is going to require you to not only sacrifice your time, but there is also the associated financial commitment, as learning to drive - particularly when learning with an experienced and reputable training provider - is not going to come cheap.  All things considered, the freedom and increased opportunities that possessing a full driving licence can provide is absolutely priceless.

      Should you indeed decide to learn to drive, my advice would be to look at it as an investment in your future, because that is exactly what it is!

        • What do I need to do before I can drive?
          • The only thing you need is to be in receipt of a UK provisional driving licence. You can apply online at www.gov.uk. When applying online, the licence will cost £34.00. Alternatively, you must complete the form D1 which can be obtained at your local branch of the Post Office. When applying by post, the licence will cost £43.00.

            • At what age can I start taking lessons?
              • You must be at least 17 years of age (this is lowered to 16 if you're in receipt of the higher rate of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance) to legally drive on a UK public highway. You can apply for your provisional driving licence up to 3 months prior to the date of your 17th birthday.

                • How often should I take a lesson?
                  • This depends upon your individual preference. Factors such as your timescale for learning, along with the time and money you can commit to learning can all have a bearing on this. In the interests of efficiency and learning continuity, it is important to keep lessons regular. I would certainly recommend a minimum of one 2-hour session per week (Chris Chambers School of Motoring provides two-hour sessions as standard), however, both half and full day training sessions are available on request.

                    Over the years’, I have found that taking two 2-hour sessions per week is the ideal frequency for most people. The shorter time between lessons allows sufficient time for you to reflect on the previous session, while not placing too much demand and expectation upon yourself. This way you will generally progress more quickly, while doing so at a comfortable, manageable pace. Naturally, more frequent lessons save time, will speeds up learning progress, and can even reduce the overall financial cost associated with learning to drive.

                    Irrespective of whether you decide to take one lesson per week, or whether you would indeed prefer to take two, each lesson will be carefully structured and expertly delivered, with clear targets set out to achieve.

                    • How many lessons will I need?
                      • Unfortunately this is an impossible question to answer specifically, as each and every individual (…that includes you!) has their own personal mix of strengths, weaknesses, experiences and level of natural ability, therefore the time it will take you personally to learn to drive is going to be unique to you.  According to findings of the latest Government survey, on average, people have around 52 hours of professional tuition along with 24 hours of accompanied private practice to pass the UK driving test.  Many people will take far fewer lessons than this, while some people may require more.

                        I would strongly advise you to be cautious about buying into the claims of others concerning how long it took them to learn: this ‘claim’ has absolutely ZERO bearing on just how long it will take you personally to learn.  I often hear from customers about how, “a relative passed their test in just 10 hours some thirty years ago”.  While I have no way of disputing this, it is worth considering the fact that the roads (along with the volume of traffic), the cars and the required driving standards were very different back then.  A large proportion of experienced drivers would likely not pass the modern driving test without first seeking professional training.  In fact, I regularly speak with parents that freely admit they would struggle to pass the modern driving test.

                        Furthermore, I often hear from customers that, “a friend passed their test recently after only 10 hours of professional tuition”.  In reality, learning to drive to the necessary high standard in only 10 hours, while not absolutely impossible (never say never!), is highly unlikely for the vast majority of people, particularly if they have had no previous driving experience.  Again, while I have no way of disputing these claim, it is possible that they may well be stretching the truth a little!

                        On a personal note, as an experienced and reputable training provider myself, I would not present any inexperienced driver for test after such a short amount of time on the roads.  One reason is that after only 10 hours, it is simply not possible to highlight and become competent with all the facets necessary in relation to skill, knowledge and understanding.  Furthermore, I feel that it would be highly irresponsible of me to even consider presenting an individual for test given such limited driving experience; driving is a safety critical activity, and this vital on-road experience is only gained over a course of time.

                        Access to accompanied private practice can, of course, be beneficial, but in my experience the vast majority of pupils tend not to have access to a vehicle outside of their lesson time.  This, however, should not inhibit learning.  If you do have access to a vehicle outside of your lesson time, it is best to use this time to practice the skills learned up to that particular point, and to leave the learning of new skills for your professional tuition time.

                        Chris Chambers School of Motoring, in conjunction with Marmalade and Collingwood Insurance, offer short-term learner driver insurance policies ranging from 7 days to 24 weeks when learning to drive in your own vehicle, or alternatively insuring yourself on someone else's vehicle (as specified on the policy, T&C's apply).  Such a dedicated learner driver insurance policy gives you the opportunity to get the private practice you desire, by providing the protection you need to do so.

                        Please be aware that the normal rules and requirements for accompanying a provisional licence holder apply.

                        • Will I drive on my first lesson?
                          • Yes, absolutely! Of course, there's a lot of information to take in, but you will experience driving the tuition vehicle on your first lesson.

                            • What do the Theory and Practical tests consist of?
                              • Please see my 'Theory Test' and 'Practical Test' pages for full explanations.

                                • Can you offer me help with the Theory & HPT Test?
                                  • Yes, I provide my students with free access to online theory & HPT training via 'Theory Test Pro'. I'll also explain, and help you understand any questions you may have difficulty with. I can also recommend the most useful books, DVD’s and websites to use in order to help accelerate learning.

                                    • Do you offer intensive training courses? (referred to as “Crash Courses”)
                                      • Yes, I can... of sorts. I’m not a great believer in such courses as I feel that they send out the wrong message to the masses. The nature of such courses unduly raise expectation, and demand too much of the individual in a short, condensed period of time which, for me, isn’t good for learning a life skill such as driving; in my opinion, learning to drive should not be rushed. Also, intensive courses are not 'off the shelf' per se, as they can vary in duration from one week through to a number of months.

                                        Please feel free to contact me to discuss your personal requirements.

                                        • Can you provide tuition in Automatic Transmission vehicles?
                                          • No, I currently provide tuition for manual transmission vehicles only. If you pass your driving test in a manual transmission vehicle, you will also be licensed to drive automatic transmission vehicles. Should you pass the driving test in an automatic transmission vehicle, then you will be restricted to such vehicles only - a further driving test would be required should you decide that you would like to drive a manual transmission vehicle in the future.

                                            • Is your tuition vehicle fitted with 'Dual Controls'?
                                              • Yes, top quality “He-Man” Dual Controls have been professionally installed in to the tuition vehicle for your safety and peace of mind.

                                                • Is it true that Driving Test Examiners have a weekly quota of test passes?
                                                  • No, absolutely not. This is a total myth! If you perform well enough on the day, the examiner will pass you.

                                                    • Am I guaranteed to pass first time with Chris Chambers School of Motoring?
                                                      • No, unfortunately not! This is impossible to guarantee. All practical tests are carried out by DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) examiners and candidates are individually assessed on their merit during the test. Factors such as nerves or heightened expectation can affect even the most confident, well prepared candidate on test day.

                                                        • As a learner driver, am I allow to drive on motorways?
                                                          • Yes, learner drivers can take driving lessons on motorways in England, Scotland and Wales. Learner drivers will need to be accompanied by a qualified, DVSA approved driving instructor such as myself, and must only take place in a car fitted with dual controls. Please, note that motorway driving isn’t being introduced to the driving test at this stage, therefore, any motorways lessons will be voluntary. It will be at the sole discretion of the driving instructor to decide when a learner driver is competent enough to experience motorway driving.

                                                            • What payment methods can I use to pay for my driving lessons?
                                                              • Chris Chambers School of Motoring generally accept payment by way of Cash, Cheque or Bank Transfer, however payment by way of Credit Card, Debit Card, Barclays Pingit, and PayPal are available on request (Credit & debit card payments are provided via PayPal) - Please call for details.

                                                                Factual information contained within this page is, to date of posting, correct to the best of my knowledge.  No liability is accepted for errors or omissions.

                                                                *Please note that in the interests of both safety and law, I am unable to answer calls or respond to messages whilst conducting driver training sessions. Should your enquiry not be answered swiftly, please leave your name and a brief message (for private numbers, please leave a contact number within your voice message also) and I will contact you at my earliest possible opportunity; your enquiry is extremely important to me. Calling or texting is generally the preferred method of contact as I am able to respond to your enquiry more quickly and efficiently.

                                                                An answer phone messaging service is available at all times (24-hours’).

What My Customers Say...

"...To me, driving lessons always seemed like a scary prospect and at first I was very nervous driving, but within a short space of time I was soon at home in Chris’s Fiesta. He was enthusiastic, friendly & extremely supportive and made learning to drive an excellent experience."

"I had great fun every lesson."

"The best driving school around!"

"I would recommend Chris Chambers School of Motoring to anyone!"

 - Rachel Ferguson, Penshaw.

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