The majority of people we work with at How-2-Drive are getting their driving licence for the first time, but they aren’t the only ones we help.
For a multitude of reasons, we also offer lessons to people who already have their licence, but are looking for extra refresher lessons.
This could be quite soon after they have taken their test, for example because the car they buy or end up using feels very different from the one they learned in, or because it takes a few months to get a car, by which time they’ve lost a little of that post-test-confidence-high.
Or the refresher lessons could be years down the line, maybe even decades later. There are so many great reasons why people look for help from a driving instructor, to ensure they feel safe and confident behind the wheel.
Driving is a developing skill
How-2-Drive’s founder, Howard Floyd, said: “It’s easy to dismiss driving as a skill which you learn formally once and then get by on what you know for the rest of your life.
“That’s fine if people remain safe drivers for the time they’re on the road, but it can also be problematic.
“I wonder how many experienced drivers would pass their test if they had to take it again tomorrow, or could honestly say their knowledge of all the current rules and regulations is up-to-date.
“Like any skill you acquire in life, once you’ve learned to drive, it’s a good idea to ensure you maintain that skill level. And if you don’t feel as comfortable as you used to, or could use some assistance to improve, it’s perfectly normal and commendable to ask for help.”
Here’s our lowdown on 10 top reasons that you might like to think about getting in touch to organise a one-off or series of lessons.
It’s so long since I passed my driving test, I want to update my knowledge and skills
This is the most straightforward of reasons to want to have a refresher lesson or two; when you simply acknowledge that the world of driving has changed a lot since you passed your test.
There is an increasing amount of traffic on the road, new roads being built all the time, and new rules and regulations can easily pass you by over the years.
Often it is the family of older drivers who ask them to consider taking some refresher lessons, so they can be sure they still feel confident and competent on the road. The beauty of refresher lessons is there is no set syllabus to follow so the instructor can focus on exactly the areas of your driving with which you most need help.
I’ve just moved from London (or other major city) and need to get a car again
Beautiful East Anglia is a haven for jaded Londoners who are looking for a better quality and more affordable way of life, often coming with a family in tow. Because it is too much hassle and expense for many people to keep a car in the capital, driving in Norfolk and Suffolk might be the first time they have had to do it in years. Of course it’s quite common for someone to pass their test at 17, move away to university and then London, and not come close to owning a car for many years.
Whether it’s navigating the city centre or the expanse of more rural roads, there are plenty of hazards that can affect your self-belief. A one-off lesson or a few over the course of a few weeks could be perfect for getting used to driving again, especially knowing you’ve got an expert by your side.
I was involved in an accident and it’s knocked my confidence
Being caught up in a crash, big or small, can really affect how you feel about driving, or even just being in a car afterwards. It’s not always as straightforward as just getting back on the horse; you might find that negative feelings towards driving and anxieties related to the accident surface several weeks or months down the line.
Taking refresher lessons with one of our experienced instructors can help you to feel in control again, reassure you that accidents are unusual and make you more able to cope with unexpected incidents that may happen in future.
I have a driving licence from another country and am not used to driving in Great Britain
The rules relating to driving with a licence issued in another country are set by the Government. If your circumstances permit, refresher lessons can be great for getting to grips with our roads and their rules and conventions, which could be quite different from what you are used to.
Whether it is driving on the left side of the road, understanding speed limits, bus and cycle lanes, road signs and markings, or dealing with roundabouts or more complicated carriageways – we can tailor our lessons to suit your needs.
I’ve now got a family and need to be able to drive them around
When you just have yourself to look after, it’s easy enough to rely on public transport, walking to places and, if you really need it, getting a lift off other people.
Add children into the equation and it can become a whole lot more difficult to get around. Many parents decide to invest in a car, or a second car, to make life easier when it comes to getting the little ones, and all their paraphernalia, where they need to go.
If you’ve not driven for a while, this in itself can be quite stressful, but even more so if having children in the car adds to your worries. Having refresher lessons means you can build up your confidence until you feel ready to go again.
My partner did all the driving but now it’s my responsibility
We often hear from people who haven’t been behind the wheel for a long time because their partner or another family member has always assumed the role of chief driver. But suddenly, perhaps because of illness or death, they find that the responsibility has shifted to them and it’s not a great feeling.
After such a long time as the passenger, becoming the driver can be quite overwhelming and, even though you have your licence, you might not feel like you’re prepared. A few refresher lessons can provide a safe zone to rediscover your driving skills and confidence.
I’ve just got a new car and I don’t feel confident driving it
A new car can be hard to get used to, whether it’s nothing like the one you’ve learned in, or you perhaps switch up to a much bigger car. Getting a bit of practice in with the controls, adjusting to the space that the car takes up in the road, and making sure you can carry out manoeuvres safely, are all things that can be covered in a refresher lesson.
I’ve moved out to the countryside and rural roads make me nervous
With the big open spaces of the East Anglian countryside, driving around our more rural roads can be a brilliant experience.
But it’s not necessarily easier than navigating around busy city and town roads, especially if that’s what you’ve been used to for a long time. Traffic on country roads can be much faster, passing oncoming vehicles on a narrow stretch can feel stressful, and you might have to improve your overtaking skills for all the farm traffic, livestock and horse riders you encounter.
With the countryside on our doorstep, it’s easy for one of our instructors to take you out for as long as you need.
I’d like some help preparing to drive on motorways
As two of the handful of counties that don’t have a motorway, heading out from Norfolk or Suffolk (particularly if it’s down to the M25!) can be a daunting prospect. If you have a journey coming up that involves motorway driving, or heading out of the county on a regular basis is on the cards, you might like to consider taking a lesson with one of our instructors.
They can make sure you’re happy with entering and exiting carriageways, overtaking and navigating different junctions, and signs and alerts you might see.
I was prosecuted for a driving offence and it’s affected my confidence
Picking up points on your licence or being sent on a driver awareness course, especially if you’ve had years of problem-free driving, can dent your confidence and cause you to question your driving ability.
If you struggle with speed limits – too fast or too slow, or perhaps with being aware of and knowing how to react to traffic signs or signals, a refresher lesson could be helpful to brush up your knowledge and skills.
Howard said: “The great thing about refresher lessons is they are completely tailored to you and your needs. This means we don’t go over things you already know and feel confident about, as if you were starting your driving lessons all over again; rather it’s completely focused on specific areas that are of most use to you.”
If you’re considering refresher lessons, for any of the above or other reasons, just get in touch and we can find an instructor local to you. You don’t need to have previously had lessons with us or passed your test with How-2-Drive. You can also read more about what our refresher lessons involve.
Lots of things which can be covered in a refresher lesson also feature in the Pass Plus course, which has been developed by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency. If you’d like more experience driving in all weathers, on rural roads, at night or on dual carriageways and motorways, after you’ve passed your test, this could be the course for you. It can also help to reduce your insurance premiums.