Behind the Wheel: How Long Does It Take You To Learn How To Drive

Learning to drive is an exciting milestone for many people, but how long it takes to learn can vary widely. Factors such as experience and comfort level with driving can affect the time it takes to learn. In this post, we’ll explore the different ways people can learn to drive, the stages of learning how to drive, and the challenges you may face while learning to drive.


The Different Ways People Learn How to Drive

Enrolling in a Driving Class

Starting with a formal driving class can be helpful for beginners, as it provides one-on-one instruction and guidance. A proper driving course offers an in-depth look at the rules and regulations of the road, and practicing in a safe environment can help reduce stress and anxiety when you’re behind the wheel. Most courses also allow drivers to practice in a variety of situations so that they can be better prepared for any circumstance.

Hiring an Independent Instructor

Another excellent option for those just starting is to hire an independent driving instructor. This can be a great way to get personalized and hands-on instruction in a comfortable and familiar setting. You can tailor the lessons to your needs and work independently. Also, a good instructor can provide tips and tricks that may not be taught in a formal driving class because they have a more personalized experience.

Learning From a Friend or Family Member

Other people may opt to learn from a family member or friend. This can be a great way to get comfortable driving since the person teaching you will likely be more patient and understanding than a formal instructor. You’ll also be able to take your time and practice as often or as little as you want. The downside is that many states require formal instruction for minors to obtain a license. Depending on the situation, you may still have to take driving lessons.

Self-Learning with Videos and Books

For some people, the process of learning to drive is entirely self-directed. This can be done by watching videos and reading books on the subject. While this option might provide less hands-on experience, it can still help you understand the basics and build a foundation of knowledge. However, it’s important to remember that no amount of reading or watching videos can replace the experience of actually getting behind the wheel and practicing.

The Stages of Learning How to Drive

Learning to drive takes time; it is typically broken down into phases. These stages will vary depending on the individual’s level of comfort and confidence.

Phase 1: Learning the Fundamentals

The first phase of learning to drive is finding out what you need to know and being comfortable with the basics. This includes understanding the rules of the road, familiarizing yourself with your vehicle, and learning how to operate it safely.

Phase 2: Getting Comfortable behind the Wheel

The second phase focuses on practical driving skills. This is where you will practice your newfound knowledge in a safe and controlled environment, such as an empty parking lot or a residential street. You will also learn to use turn signals, adjust your speed for different conditions, pinpoint parallel park, and make safe turns.

Phase 3: Taking on Different Scenarios

This phase involves applying your knowledge in different scenarios, from driving on highways to driving in bad weather. This can help you gain confidence and become more comfortable behind the wheel.

Phase 4: Becoming a Safe Driver

The final phase is when you become a safe, competent, and responsible driver. This includes being aware of your surroundings and obeying all traffic laws. It’s also the stage where you need to be prepared for anything that might happen while driving, such as an accident or a mechanical problem with your car.

The Challenges of Learning to Drive: Tips to Overcome Them

Learning to drive can be a rewarding experience, but it can also be challenging. Here are some of the most common challenges new drivers face and tips on overcoming them.

Driving in Heavy Traffic

Driving in heavy traffic can be intimidating for new drivers. Take your time and adjust to the environment. Stay focused and avoid any distractions that may arise. Remember, safety is your top priority.

Dealing with Bad Weather

Bad weather can make driving more dangerous. Be prepared with the right tires and know how to drive in these conditions. Reduce your speed and increase your following distance to give yourself more time to react.

Avoiding Distractions

Being aware of your surroundings is critical to driving safely. Limit the use of your phone and other electronic devices while driving. Pay attention to other drivers, pedestrians, and animals on or near the road. Remember, one moment of distraction can have serious consequences.

Dealing with Other Drivers

Aggressive drivers and those driving too fast or recklessly can be intimidating. Stay calm and focused on the task at hand. Avoid any confrontation that may arise. Remember, you can’t control the behavior of others, but you can manage your reactions.

Driving Around Large Trucks

Driving around large trucks can be frightening for new drivers. Remember that you are responsible for staying in your lane and respecting other drivers on the road. Stay alert and maintain a safe following distance.

Handling Emergencies

Knowing how to react to an emergency is vital to driving safely. Stay calm and know when and how to pull over safely. Keep an emergency kit in your car that includes a first aid kit, a flashlight, and a blanket.


Learning to drive takes time, practice, and dedication. You can become a safe and competent driver with the proper knowledge and attitude. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, consider enlisting the help of a trusted friend or family member who can offer guidance. Remember, you’re in control of your learning experience and can take all the time you need to get it right. Safe driving!

About the author, Laurence Perkins

Laurence Perkins is the passionate car enthusiast behind the blog My Auto Machine. With over a decade of experience in the automotive industry, Perkins has knowledge and experience with a wide range of car makes and models. His particular interests lie in performance and modification, and his blog covers these topics in-depth. In addition to his own blog, Perkins is a respected voice in the automotive community and writes for various automotive publications. His insights and opinions on cars are highly sought-after.