Should I do 1 or 2 hour driving lessons?

When learning to drive, one of the key decisions you’ll need to make is whether to take 1 or 2 hour driving lessons. Both options have their pros and cons, so it’s important to weigh up which will suit you best. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll compare 1 and 2 hour driving lessons, so you can make an informed choice.

The Main Differences Between 1 and 2 Hour Driving Lessons

The most obvious difference between 1 and 2 hour driving lessons is the length of time you’ll be spending practicing your skills with your instructor. Here’s a quick overview of the main differences:

  • 1 hour lessons – These focus on a specific skill or local area, ideal if you want to master skills gradually.
  • 2 hour lessons – Cover more skills and a wider area, better if you want to build experience faster.

Beyond the time factor, there are a few other key differences to be aware of:

1 Hour Lessons 2 Hour Lessons
More focused on specific skills Cover a greater variety of skills
Progress at a slower pace Build experience more quickly
Less tiring for learners Can be more tiring over 2 hours
Shorter time commitment Longer time commitment in one go
Typically cheaper per lesson More expensive per lesson

Now let’s explore each of these factors in more detail…

Focusing on Specific Skills in 1 Hour Lessons

One of the major benefits of 1 hour driving lessons is the ability to concentrate on developing specific skills, one step at a time. With less time in the car, you can dedicate the full hour to practising a particular manoeuvre or driving situation.

For example, you may spend a full lesson focused entirely on perfecting your parking, hill starts or roundabout technique. Or you might choose to concentrate on a specific challenging route, until you feel completely confident driving it.

Many learners appreciate this narrow focus, allowing them to build their skills up gradually without feeling overwhelmed. If you know there’s a particular aspect of driving you struggle with, 1 hour lessons will give you the time to master it.

Developing a Broader Range of Skills in 2 Hours

In contrast, 2 hour driving lessons will cover a greater variety of skills and scenarios within a single session. You’re likely to drive on a wider range of roads and encountering more diverse traffic conditions and junctions.

While 1 hour lessons allow you to hone specific techniques, 2 hour lessons provide more of an all-round experience, challenging you with different situations. This can help build your general confidence and awareness as a driver.

In 2 hours, your instructor may start by recapping previous skills, before moving on to assess your ability on faster roads or routes you haven’t tackled before. You’ll also have more time to reflect on your progress with your instructor’s feedback.

A Slower or Faster Pace of Learning

With longer lessons, it’s inevitable you’ll build your experience and progress your skills at a faster pace. Over the course of a 2 hour session, most learners will cover double the mileage and encounters with traffic than in just 60 minutes.

However, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll learn quicker with back-to-back 2 hour lessons. Some students find the shorter 1 hour lessons better allow them to digest what they’ve practiced at a more comfortable rate.

It’s useful to compare it to other learning situations – you may retain information better from two 1 hour study sessions, rather than 4 hours non-stop. The same concept can apply when acquiring driving skills.

The Energy Factor of Lesson Length

Driving for 2 continuous hours is undoubtedly more tiring than just 1 hour behind the wheel. As a new driver, the longer lesson time can lead to fatigue setting in earlier.

After an intense 2 hour session, you may feel mentally drained. That could impact your ability to retain what you’ve learned. By contrast, 1 hour provides concentrated learning, without becoming an endurance event.

However, regular 2 hour lessons may help improve your stamina. This can better prepare you for coping with longer journeys once you’ve passed your test.

The Time Commitment of 1 and 2 Hour Lessons

When booking driving lessons, think about how much time you can realistically commit, especially around your existing work or study schedule. This may dictate whether 1 or 2 hour slots are more achievable.

For example, if you have a busy job and other commitments, you may find it hard to take 2 hour lessons, as this monopolises a big chunk of your day.

1 hour lessons only require a short time investment each time. You can more easily fit these around other responsibilities or part-time work.

That said, if you specifically want to build experience quicker, 2 hour lessons will naturally speed up your progress in a shorter overall period.

The Cost Difference of 1 and 2 Hour Lessons

In most cases, booking a 2 hour driving lesson will cost more than twice the price of a single 1 hour session. However, the exact multiple varies between driving instructors.

As a guide, if a 1 hour lesson is £25, a 2 hour lesson with the same instructor may cost around £45-50. Sometimes, it could be closer to £60 for 2 hours.

While 2 hour lessons initially appear better value, considering the longer time, the overall cost difference can add up. 30 hours of 1 hour lessons would total £750. But 15 hours of 2 hour lessons could come to £750-900.

If you’re on a tighter budget, 1 hour slots may prove the more affordable choice. Make sure to compare prices between different local instructors.

How Many Hours of Lessons Will I Need?

A key factor in deciding between 1 or 2 hour lessons is estimating how many hours of professional tuition you’ll require. This largely depends on your natural ability and determination to succeed.

According to the DVSA, the average learner driver takes between 45-50 hours of lessons before passing their test. However, this varies hugely between individuals.

Those with good coordination and road sense may pass after 30-40 hours, while others may need 60+ hours to reach test standard.

As a general rule of thumb:

  • Total beginners often require 50-60 hours of lessons
  • If you’ve had some practice, around 40 hours may suffice
  • Quick learners could potentially pass after 30 hours

Keeping this in mind will help you decide whether to take longer 2 hour lessons to cover the hours swiftly, or more measured 1 hour sessions. Calculate a rough timeframe for how long you want to be learning for.

Should I Mix and Match 1 and 2 Hour Lessons?

The good news is you don’t have to stick to all 1 hour or all 2 hour lessons – you can combine both formats. This allows you to tailor your learning as you go.

For example, you may want to start with 1 hour lessons while you master the basics, before progressing to longer 2 hour sessions later on. Or only do 2 hours for particularly challenging lessons.

Alternating longer and shorter lessons can help add variety and maintain your motivation. Don’t feel restricted – speak to your instructor about the ideal blend for your needs.

Choosing Between Manual and Automatic Lessons

Along with the length decision, if you want to drive a manual car, you’ll need to take lessons in a manual. Learning in an automatic won’t teach you how to change gear.

However, both 1 and 2 hour lessons are available in manuals and automatics. So first decide whether to learn in a manual or automatic, then choose your ideal lesson duration.

Finding Instructors Offering 1 and 2 Hour Lessons

Most driving schools provide both 1 and 2 hour lessons. Reputable instructors aim to offer flexible booking options to suit different requirements.

When searching for instructors, check that they can accommodate your preferred lesson length. View their online profiles for details of the tuition they offer.

Driving schools with an online booking system make it easy to choose your slot length. Always confirm when booking your first lesson.

Booking an Introductory Driving Lesson

If you’re still undecided between 1 and 2 hours, booking a single introductory lesson can help you choose. This gives you a taster of learning to drive before committing to a full set of lessons.

Use your first session to judge whether 1 or 2 hours works best for you. Be honest with your instructor about which you found most comfortable and productive.

For complete beginners, a 1 hour intro lesson is usually recommended. But pick the duration you feel will suit you best.


When deciding between 1 or 2 hour driving lessons, consider your individual learning needs and preferences. There are valid advantages to both shorter, focused lessons and longer, varied sessions.

Try not to base your decision on cost alone. It’s about choosing the style of learning that’s right for you. If in doubt, trial a lesson of each duration to compare.

With the right tuition, practice and determination, you’ll be a qualified driver before you know it – whether in 1 hour slots or 2!

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