Are Intensive Driving Courses Worth It?

Having a driving licence opens up a world of new opportunities. You can go wherever you want, whenever you want and explore places that would otherwise be inaccessible to you. You can even expand your horizons in the world of work and think about pursuing careers that need you to be able to drive.

However, passing your driving test is far easier said than done. With pass rates hovering just below 50% for the past 10 years, you can’t turn up at the test centre on the big day and expect an easy ride. For this reason, many learner drivers will study with their instructor for hours upon hours, possibly for much longer than they need to just to ensure success on their real test.

But what if you don’t want to wait that long? Well, let’s take a look to see if it’s actually worth splashing the cash on an intensive driving course.

Car Learner L Plate close up

What is an Intensive/Crash Driving Course?

Intensive driving courses (sometimes ironically nicknamed ‘crash courses’) claim to have you test-ready in just a week or two. Some will even take on recently-failed learners and correct their mistakes in a single day! These courses are often priced staggeringly high, but may be comparable in the long-run to 8 months or so of regular lessons.

You’ll need some spare time to fit in the lengthy lessons each day (some of which could be 6-8 hours long) and a lot more spare cash to pay for them. It’s not uncommon for the highest tier of crash courses offered by an instructor to cost a four-figure sum.

Despite the cost, these courses claim to bring you to a passing standard within such a short time… but they’re going to say that, aren’t they? We’ll discuss whether or not they actually achieve their goals further down the page.

How Do Intensive Driving Courses Work?

Like their lengthier counterparts, intensive driving courses offer you one-to-one tuition with a qualified driving instructor (formally known as an Approved Driving Instructor, or ADI). Intensive course organisers look at every element of driver training and condense all you need to know into a quick-fire package, usually set over the space of one or two weeks. 

If there’s a certain aspect of driving that you’re not too strong at, the course may focus a little bit more on that to bring you up to standard and get you over the line on test day. This lopsided attention to particular driving techniques is one of the pitfalls brought about by cramming everything into a fortnight, sometimes leading to prospective drivers being unprepared… which leads us nicely into our next segment.

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Are Intensive Driving Courses Good?

Carrying on from that last point, the whistlestop nature of crash courses – whisking you from driving techniques to manoeuvres to vehicle safety questions, then back again until you can recite it in your sleep – could help or hinder your progress.

Fast-tracking your way through a stressful process is great, but you need to be aware that for the week or two that you’re learning, the threat of information overload and burnout is very real.

You’re also going to finish the course lacking the one thing that many would argue really makes you a good driver: experience. There’s only so much you can learn by being told. It’s inevitable that once you’re released onto the road with your pink licence, you’re going to experience situations that no driving instructor could have prepared you for. You are going to make mistakes, and you’ll probably have a few near misses (or maybe even an accident), but a crash course in driving will almost certainly fail to prepare you for all of these simply because it can’t provide you with as much experience.

In a similar vein, an intensive course probably won’t give you the opportunity to drive in different weather conditions (especially if you’re doing it at the height of summer or winter) and this is something that is particularly important. You have no idea what the weather may be like on testing day. If you’ve only driven on dry, sunny days, even a bit of drizzle or a fogged-up windscreen could stop you in your tracks.

Perhaps worst of all, and it should go without saying but may not for some people… there’s still no guarantee that you’ll pass your test.

But, there are positives to intensive driving courses. If you do manage to pass your test first time, you’re likely to have saved money when you consider how much you might have spent if you were to learn over the space of a year. Obviously, you’ve also saved a huge amount of time. That is kind of the point, after all.

Will I Be More Likely to Pass With an Intensive Course?

If you’re hoping to find reliable statistics that prove crash courses get more drivers their full licence than regular lessons, you’re going to be disappointed.

Your likelihood of passing after learning through an intensive driving course depends almost entirely on yourself, and your ability to cope with the extreme pressure and heavy workload that you’re putting yourself under. You will also be fed a lot of information, so you’ll need to be good at retaining and implementing what you learn during your test.

You may find that some less ethical driving schools try to guarantee that you’ll pass if you choose them. This is nothing more than a money making scheme, bordering on false advertising. The only way they can spin that claim into something realistic is to suggest that you will pass eventually if you learn with them.

UK Driving Licence. Provisional and Full licence cards isolated on dark background.

Do Intensive Driving Courses Include a Practical Test?

Typically, the answer to this question is yes. Most intensive driving courses will offer you a practical test booking to coincide with the conclusion of your training. In some cases, cheaper or ‘less intense’ courses may not give you this option, so you’ll want to make sure you get it booked in as soon as possible or you find yourself getting rusty very quickly.

If you do fail the test, you’ll more than likely have to rebook it yourself. Be aware that by law, you need to wait ten days to book again. At present, the DVSA are considering extending this period to 28 days, so keep this in mind if you’re thinking about going down the crash course route.

Do Intensive Driving Courses Reduce Insurance?

Because you’re learning the same stuff (arguably in a less detailed manner), intensive driving courses do not lower the price of insurance for prospective drivers. In fact, Nick Starling, a Director for the Association of British insurers wants to ban crash courses altogether, claiming that they lower the standard of driving in newly-qualified drivers, therefore causing more accidents and in turn, raise insurance premiums.

If you believe you’ve heard that crash course training does lower insurance, you may be getting it confused with ‘advanced driving courses’, like the Pass Plus scheme, which does indeed grant you a discount on insurance premiums. This is due to your reduced likelihood to crash and need to make a claim.
If you’ve passed your test via an intensive learning scheme and have since put the ‘crash’ in ‘crash course’, it might already be time to scrap that first car and get something newer and safer. Scrap Car Comparison will find you the best quotes to sell your old, broken or even written-off car to one of our trusted buyers, who will collect it from anywhere in the country at no extra cost. Find your nearest dealer and sell your car for scrap or salvage today.

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