Thinking of learning to drive under the guidance of a qualified driving instructor but worried about the price? We've asked around and done some research to bring you the range of cost, so you can plan your budget accordingly.
You can expect to pay between $50 and $180 for each of your driving lessons. Most driving schools offer packages of 10 lessons, costing $300-$1800 in total. The road tests cost an additional fee of $50 to $150 per test.
Do you need to learn how to drive? Do you want to improve your driving skills? Are you looking to get more familiar with U.S. driving regulations to stay safe on the road? If so, keep these helpful tips in mind when choosing an affordable driving school that will meet your needs.
The Cost of Driving School
Learning to drive is considered a rite of passage for teenagers when they reach the age of 16. Getting a driver’s license is a symbol of freedom for many teens, and operating a vehicle gives them a sense of independence that helps them enhance their social lives or gives them a way to get to and from work.
Once a teen gets his/her driver’s license, they can hang out with friends without depending on their parents to take them to parties and sleepovers. Driving also makes it easier for teens and young adults to participate in extracurricular activities. And of course, parents will often send their young drivers on errands (i.e., grocery shopping, picking younger children up from school). That is after parents are confident that their teenagers have the skills and self-assurance to operate a vehicle.
Most schools offer packages, priced by the number of hours of behind the wheel instruction. Here are some examples -
Route 66 driving school in LA - $520 for a package that includes a total of 30 hours, with 10 hours behind the wheel.
Driving School of Florida in Sarasota - $490 for a package of six behind-the-wheel sessions.
US One Driving School in New York, - $550 for a package of 10 hours.
How Much Are Driving Lessons per Hour?
Your driving lessons could be up to $80 per hour, but the lessons may be cheaper in some states. According to Thumbtack, the average cost of a session with a driving instructor is $50-$55.
The cost includes pick-up and drop-off at your home or other specified location. Most driving instructors will recommend that you take at least six hours of lessons. This minimum is required in many states since six hours is the same amount of time an individual with a learner’s permit must complete before taking a road test at the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Some driving instructors will charge per hour while others charge per lesson. For instance, some schools charge $80 a lesson, but you must attend the driving lesson for at least two hours. You may also receive access to online course materials at a discounted rate that help you pay for your state’s driving exam.
You can also check with driving schools and instructors in your state to get a package deal on driving lessons. For instance, you may pay $100 for two hours of driving lessons and up to $275 for six hours of instruction. If you need 8-10 hours of driving lessons, you could pay up to $450.
Some driving schools and instructors also provide road test practice, so you’ll be prepared for the road test and feel more at ease during the exam. The cost of road test practice specifically is usually around $125.
Consider a School with a Vehicle
You may also want to consider a driving school that includes driving lessons along with a vehicle you can use for the road test and/or a pre-licensing class. These classes are ideal for teens who are learning to drive for the first time, and some facilities also offer a la carte driving classes for adults. For a package of five lessons that includes door-to-door pickup, you could pay up to $275.
A package of five lessons with a car you can use for the road test is around $325. If you want a series of five lessons with door-to-door pickup, a vehicle you can drive for your test, and a pre-licensing class, you’ll pay about $530. If you want long-term lessons for both you and your teen to ensure both of you are safer on the road, a package of 20 lessons could cost about $1,000.
How Many Driving Lessons Should I Take a Week?
Most driving lesson packages for beginner drivers offer a package of five lessons a week. You can drive every weekday or drive four days out of the week and one weekend day. If you have a consistent driving schedule, you’ll become familiar with the traffic in your city and neighborhood and figure out which times the traffic is heaviest.
When you start learning to drive, you may feel more comfortable driving in residential areas and roads that aren’t too busy. Once you build up your confidence, you can try driving on the highway or driving in areas with narrow streets and increasing your speed. Your driving instructor may also have you drive through obstacles in a parking lot or open space so you can practice making sharp turns.
Driving lessons packages
Some driving schools offer up to 10 lessons per package, and you can space the lessons out according to your schedule. However, you can take at least two lessons per week if you want to get more familiar with operating a vehicle. You can even take three or four lessons if you’re practicing to get your permit or license for the first time.
During your driving lessons, you’ll also learn parking skills. Your instructor will teach you how to parallel park and how to park in tight spaces without getting too close to another vehicle. You can also ask about reverse parking and parking on the street. Be sure to pay attention to the regulations and timeframes for parking in certain areas. For instance, many downtown locations have a time limit on parking and regulations for which areas are for public parking. You should be aware of these rules to avoid fines and retain your driving privileges once you receive your permit or license.
How Many Driving Lessons Do You Need?
The number of driving lessons you need will depend on your skill level, your comfort level with driving, and how much experience already you have with operating a vehicle.
If you want to hone your skills and improve your defensive driving, two or three lessons are usually ideal. This way, you can focus on moving quickly to avoid accidents and practice adjusting your speed according to weather conditions and road construction.
If you don’t have much experience driving and are practicing for your permit or license for the first time, it’s best to take at least five lessons before you take your theory test and driving test. After the five lessons, if you still don’t feel entirely comfortable on the road, you can speak to your instructor about signing up for additional lessons. Your driving instructor will usually assess each of your lessons and let you know which driving techniques you need to work on, so you’ll know what to practice before your next session.
Do I Need a Theory Test Before Driving Lessons?
In the US, you’ll have to take a theory test before you get a driver’s permit. When you pass the theory test and take a driving test, you can practice your driving before going back to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to test for your driver’s license. Teens or adults who have a driving permit can only operate a vehicle when a licensed driver is in the car with them. Some states require that you have your permit for at least six months before you’re able to return to the DMV to apply for a driver’s license.
To receive a driver’s permit, you should be at least 15 years of age. In addition to taking a theory exam to ensure you understand the meaning of road signs and the rules of the road. If you’re under 18, your parent or legal guardian must accompany you to the Department of Motor Vehicles to verify that you are eligible for a permit. You’ll have to take driver’s education courses, and pass the test at the end of instruction, to receive your permit. Once you’ve studied the material and you’re prepared to take the theory test, you’ll pay a fee to the DMV. In most states, the cost is under $100. Most states will accept money order or check as payment, but you may be able to pay with your debit card at some locations.
Getting Your Driver's License
When you’re ready to get your driver’s license, you’ll have to take an additional theory test and another actual driving test. Whether you’re applying for a permit or a license, it’s best to study the driver’s handbook, which you can download online. Search for the virtual driver’s handbook for your state so you can study the correct material for your region, although most U.S. driving laws are the same. Be sure to get the most recent version to use as a study guide so you’ll be aware of recent changes or updates to driving laws in your state. You’re responsible for knowing all the material in the handbook, even though all the information in the handbook may not be included on the test.
Remember, you’ll be asked questions about your basic knowledge of road signs and traffic rules. For instance, you may see a picture of the highway with double lines and be asked what these double lines indicate (answer: no passing), along with a picture of the road with a broken line (which allows drivers to pass). You may be asked to explain the meanings of these lines to prove you can practice safety while driving. The exam will also ask you the meanings of several different road signs.
For example, you need to know what the “men at work” sign and the “road slippery” signs mean so you can drive with caution when people are working to repair or maintain the roads or when there is heavy rain or snow in your area. The test will also ensure you know how to drive according to the speed limit and whether you know to stop behind school buses when the stop sign is out and how to drive carefully when you have to navigate through road construction.
After studying the driver’s manual, you’ll be prepared for the various scenarios that you’ll be presented with on the test so you can provide the best answers. The written test will let the DMV know whether you understand the basic concepts of driving before you take the portion of the test that requires you to operate a vehicle.
If you need a hearing interpreter for your theory test or you want to take the test in a language other than English, be sure to check with your local DMV to make proper arrangements before the date of your exam.
Driving can be a challenging task if you’re starting or you’re not familiar with driving rules in the U.S. However, the more you practice, the more you’ll feel at ease every time you get on the road.