When you start thinking about learning to drive, you might have questions like: “How long does it take to learn to drive?”
How long it takes to learn to drive varies from person to person. But, on average, it takes students about 45-hours of driving lessons to learn to drive. Beyond the driving lessons, it takes about 22-hours of practice. If you want to learn to drive within one year, you should spend at least 6-hours each month learning.
But we are all different when it comes to learning to drive. You might be afraid of a hill start or causing an accident. Someone else might hate to parallel park.
Even if you hear that someone passed the first time after only a few lessons, that’s not the average.
In many parts of the world, having the ability to drive is indispensable. Basically, without having a driver’s license, you have to rely on someone else to get from point A to point B. But to drive safely and legally, it is necessary that drivers pass the driving test. Like anything else, it takes time to learn how to drive.
How long does it take to learn how to drive?
It takes about 45 hours to learn how to drive. Remember that it might require 45 hours of lessons to learn how to drive, but it may take longer for someone else. But learning to drive requires learning and practicing too. In reality, everyone will require different hours to learn to drive a vehicle.
Also, there is a difference between learning enough to pass your driving tests and becoming an experienced driver. You might learn enough in a few months to pass your driving exams, but it will take several years to become a skilled driver.
Where you grow up has a lot to do how long it will take for you to learn how to drive. If you grew up in the US, where most people drive everywhere, you will learn faster than someone who has never even been in a car. If you grow up in a car culture, you have driven cars multiple times by the time you are a teenager. Even if you have only driven off-road, it will be much easier to learn than someone with zero car-driving experience. Growing up in a car culture doesn’t mean that you learn exceptionally fast; it simply means that by the time you want to take your driving tests, you have already been learning for years, even if you didn’t think of it that way.
Several key factors will influence how long it will take you to learn how to drive.
How many hours does it take to learn how to drive?
It takes about 20 hours of driving practice and 45 hours of driving lessons to learn how to drive.
How long does it take to learn to drive an automatic?
Learning to drive an automatic takes about 20 hours of driving practice. That doesn’t include driving lessons, which could be about 45 hours to learn how to drive.
Is it possible to learn how to drive in two weeks?
No, it isn’t possible to learn how to drive in two weeks. You can learn a lot about driving in only a couple of weeks, but it will take you much longer than two weeks to learn how to drive. You shouldn’t feel like a failure if you can’t learn to drive in two weeks.
How much time do you want to spend learning to drive?
How long it will take you to learn how to drive has a lot to do with the number of hours can dedicate to the task. If you only have one driving lesson per week, it will take you a very long time to learn to drive. The problem with having too few hours of driving training is that it will really slow down your progress. The more time between lessons, the more you forget. When you wait too long between lessons, you have to re-learn everything you learned in the past. This way, instead of learning new skills, you are constantly refreshing what you learned in the past.
To make noticeable progress, take at least two driving lessons each week. If you only schedule one lesson per week, it will really slow down your progress.
Are manual cars easy to learn?
Driving manual cars is easy to learn if you are willing to practice. But, the fact that only about 18 percent of Americans can drive a stick shift tells you that many people don’t think it’s easy to learn.
Where can I learn to drive a stick shift car?
The best place to learn to drive a stick shift car is a driving school specializing in stick shift. These schools have stick shift specialists working for them, meaning they specialize in stick shift and nothing else.
To learn to drive a stick shift car look for driving schools that:
- Employ stick shift specialists. When you contact the driving school, call them out on it. Ask questions like, “Do you have driving instructors who only teach stick shift?”
- Have stick shift cars for you to learn on. You need to make sure the instructors provide you with a stick shift car for practice. You cannot learn to drive stick shift on an app. A real stick shift car is required.
- Include an open practice area is available for you to learn to drive a stick shift car. Industrial areas or open parking lots are generally used to help students learn to drive stick-shift cars.
- Help you learn everything you need to know to drive a stick shift like up and downshifting, hill starts, parking, etc.
How to learn to drive manual without a manual car?
You cannot learn to drive manual without a manual car, but you can practice. To learn manual, you need muscle memory, which only happens when you physically do work the clutch and accelerator together.
You can look for manual cars to rent on apps like Turo. A peer-to-peer car rental company may be your best option to rent a manual to practice manual transmission driving. For example, when I looked on Turo in the Los Angeles area, I found 139 manual transmission cars available. Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible to rent manual cars from traditional car rental companies in the United States.
What is the best way to learn how to drive a manual car?
The best way to learn how to drive a manual car is to practice in a manual transmission vehicle. If you don’t own one, you may have a friend or a family member with a shift stick car. The driving school you choose should have a manual car for you. But, if you don’t have access to a manual car, there are still ways for you to practice.
How can I practice manual without a manual car?
You can practice manual without a manual car playing a video game with a manual clutch option. For best results, get a steering wheel, gear lever and pedals.
You can do things to prepare to learn to drive a manual car, but realistically, if you want to learn to drive manual, you will need stick shift driving lessons.
Learning how to drive starts with learning the rules of the road
Learning how to drive begins with learning the rules of the road.
If you want to learn how to drive, you need to learn the rules of the road such as:
- You must always yield to pedestrians.
- You must come to a complete stop when you see pedestrians trying to cross the street.
- It’s required that you stop or pull over at an intersection to allow an emergency vehicle – with lights flashing or a siren running – to pass.
- Always drive on the right side of the road.
- Solid white lines mean to stay in your lane.
- Never pass a school bus if it has flashing red lights. You must wait until the lights have stopped.
- Broken lines mean you may change lanes when it’s safe.
- White lines separate lanes of traffic moving in the same direction.
- Solid yellow lines separate traffic traveling in opposing directions.
- Do not cross a solid or double yellow line.
- Broken yellow lines mean you can carefully pass, staying alert to oncoming traffic.
- Steering wheels are on the left side of the vehicle.
- Be aware of bicyclists even though they must share the road with other vehicles. Bicyclists generally share the road with vehicles.
- Always make sure before turning that a bicycle is not coming.
- Horns should be used for emergencies or when you feel unsafe.
Step 1 in learning to drive
The first step in learning to drive is to learn the rules of the road. You will learn the rules of the road when you take a formal driver’s education course. If you are in high school, you might be able to sign up for a course there. There are online and private in-class driver’s ed options for you.
Before you begin working toward your driver’s license, you need to meet your state’s minimum age requirement. In most states, you need to be at least 15 years old. I recommend you check your state’s requirements. If you meet your state’s age requirement, you can make your move toward getting your driver’s license.
Your journey toward getting your driver’s license will look something like this:
- Enroll in a driver’s ed course – either online or in-person
- Pass your learners permit exam
- Start your behind-the-wheel training – you can either hire a professional driving instructor or have your parents help you
- Once you have completed the required number of behind-the-wheel training hours, it’s time to apply for your driver’s license
Drivers education is an important step in teaching you the basics of driving. You will learn about life-saving defensive techniques and the driving laws in your state. In most states, an online driver’s education course will be sufficient.
Expect to learn about the following topics in your driver’s ed course:
- Correct strategies for emergency situations
- Vehicle safety and maintenance
- Ways to safely turn, enter and exit roadways, and change lanes
- Traffic signals, right of way, and road signs
Step 2 in learning to drive
After you have learned the rules of the road, in theory, it’s time to practice what you have learned behind the wheel. It’s normal to feel a bit nervous during your first time in the driver’s seat. Don’t get frustrated. Accept that everyone who has ever learned to drive been where you are now. Just like any new skill, the more you practice, the more you will improve. It’s best to start slow and gradually work your way up to more challenging situations.
Once you have earned your driving permit, you can begin to learn to drive with adult licensed drivers. Check with your state to make sure that you understand the exact requirements for satisfying this aspect of your driver’s license process. Some driving schools might have you share your instruction time with other student drivers. This option gives learners an opportunity to learn by observation. Pay close attention to your instructor and watch the other student drivers, learn from their actions and reactions. Learning from others will better prepare you for when it’s your turn to drive.
How to practice driving a car?
The best way to practice driving a car is to find a safe environment for driving. For your first time behind the wheel, it’s best to start practicing with zero traffic. And as you practice more and more, you’ll be more comfortable practicing your driving in busier areas.
The best places to practice driving are:
Practice driving in empty parking lots
For your very first driving practice, there’s no better place to start learning to drive than an empty parking lot. Make sure it’s a large parking lot to help you safely get a feel for driving with minimal risk of hitting anything.
Industrial parks, stadiums, college campuses, and shopping centers are excellent locations to practice driving a car. The best time to practice is when the parking lots are empty. If there are above-ground parking garages in your area, you could practice on the top level when the garage is empty.
Take advantage of this time to practice parking, accelerating, turning, and, yes, braking.
Practice driving in a parking lot in use
After you had a chance to practice driving in an empty parking lot, you could try driving in a parking lot with a few cars. Practicing your driving in a parking lot in use will give you a chance to practice watching for other vehicles and pedestrians. In addition, the slow speeds in parking lots should make your driving practice a little less stressful and risky.
Progressively increase driving time to learn how to drive
If you want to learn how to drive faster, you need to increase the time behind the wheel. Family and friends help you prepare for your driving test much faster than taking a driving lesson now and then. Getting progressively more driving practice means that you have a greater ability to succeed in your driving test. Try to practice your driving on multiple cars and in various driving conditions to get the most out of your training. Learning how to drive is simple. The more you practice the faster you will learn how to drive.
Practice driving in suburban streets
Start your driving practice in light traffic suburban streets. Suburban streets are a great way to learn to drive because they give you a real-world driving experience. They are also safe because of the light traffic. Suburban streets are excellent for practicing changing lanes, turning, following posted speed limits, using intersections, and parking.
Practice driving on rural highways
Practice driving at higher speeds on rural highways. Similar to suburbs, rural highways have little traffic, so you get the benefit of learning to share the road without being overwhelmed with too much traffic.
You can practice driving at higher speeds on rural highways. They are also a good place to practice driving a car at night and passing slower vehicles.
Practice driving in small towns
You can practice driving a car in the “downtown” areas of small towns. Small towns offer a solid introduction to real traffic because they can get quite busy. And because the speed limit is usually around 30 mph, small-town traffic gives you time to react to the traffic around you. And, as a bonus, small-town drivers may be a little more patient with you than big city drivers.
Practicing in small towns gives you a chance to get a feel for a complete day-to-day driving experience in a low-risk environment.
Practice driving on city streets
If you live in a city, you need to practice driving a car around in it. Because city driving can be stressful, it’s best to practice when traffic is relatively light. For example, if you practice early in the morning on the weekend, there will be fewer cars, bicyclists and pedestrians.
So practice driving on city streets with an experienced driver in the passenger’s seat.
Practice driving on freeways
Freeway driving can be intimidating at first, but it’s an important part of learning to drive. It’s important to practice driving on freeways because you will likely drive there a lot.
How to practice driving on the freeway?
Safety should be a top priority because of the high speeds and intensity of freeway driving.
Keep the following in mind when you learn to drive on a freeway:
- Pick a slow time to practice driving on freeways
- Get up to freeway speed when merging onto the freeway
- Pay attention to your surroundings
- Always signal to communicate with other drivers
- Don’t just rely on your mirrors, especially when changing lanes; check your blind spots
- Stay in the right lane as it is designated for slower traffic
- Practice freeway driving until you feel comfortable
Learn to drive in different weather conditions
Practicing your driving in various weather will help you build your driving skills. And as a result, you will be able to handle many different road conditions. If you get a chance to practice your driving in rain or snow, you will be better prepared to drive with confidence when you have passed your driving test.
Learn to drive in different road conditions
If you learn to drive in different road conditions, it will better prepare you to handle road hazards. A significant portion of your driving test will evaluate how you cope with road hazards. As you learn how to drive, you have to develop your hazard perception. Routinely checking your mirrors and appropriately responding to various road conditions are critical. These are important skills to keep yourself, your passengers, and everyone on the road safe.
Safety tips for student drivers
When you learn to drive you are required to learn basic driving maneuvers. But common sense, even though it is critical for safe driving, is not part of driver’s education courses.
If you follow the following tips, you can become a safer driver:
- Before you start the engine, adjust your mirrors and seat. You will be safer and more comfortable if you take a minute to make these simple adjustments.
- Seatbelts are required. Even if you’re a passenger you should always wear your seatbelt. It’s not just the law, it’s also common sense. It is the safest way to travel in a car. Develop a habit of wearing your seat belt every time you’re riding in a car.
- Don’t allow distractions while driving. As a driver, you must stay focused to avoid accidents or breaking the law. The most common and dangerous distractions are texting, putting on make-up, eating, having a dog loose inside the vehicle, or fiddling with your phone. Understand that even a perfectly legal activity could result in an accident. If you want to be a safe driver, you need to keep your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel. It is the only way to keep you and others safe.
- Keep a safe distance between yourself and other vehicles. If you are too close to the vehicle in front of you, you won’t have enough time to react fast enough. You need to maintain the appropriate distance to give yourself enough time to stop. You can always slow down to make sure there is enough space between you and the car ahead of you. Don’t let impatient drivers behind intimidate you.
- Be mindful of the rules of the road. Stay within speed limits. Make a full stop at stop signs. Stop or pull off the road when you hear and see emergency sirens – there are many rules and they are all important to keep in mind.
- Ensure you have enough gasoline to get to your destination.
- Carry a phone to call for help in case of emergency. Never use your phone while driving.
Does age matter when learning to drive?
It seems that almost everything takes longer when you are older. Learning to drive later in life can be much more difficult than getting your driver’s license at age 18. As you get older, you might become extra cautious which could slow down your learning. Learning to drive as an older person, being in control of a vehicle instead of being a passenger can be scary.
According to research, a 17-year old driving student generally passes with an average of 30 one-hour driving lessons. But a 40-year-old driving student will need about 50 hours. Normally, an older driver has more commitments. Scheduling driving lessons around work commitments and family responsibilities also complicate the process for older drivers.
An older driving student may also have slower reactions which could deter an older person from pursuing a driver’s license. The experience of being a passenger should result in a good level of road sense. Older drivers might also more likely to spot potential problems ahead.
Getting a driver’s license in the US
Each state in the US issues its own driver’s license. You get your driver’s license from your state of residence. States throughout the USA recognize each other’s driver’s licenses. The process to obtain a driver’s license includes a driving theory test, followed by a road driving test. Only if you pass both tests will you qualify for a driver’s license. If you learn the skills and driving theory required, you will also get a driver’s license.