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Parents often you find the amount of hours recommended by the DVSA incredulous, so let’s compare learning to drive in the 80’s against the present day:

 

✅On average in the 80s, most of us learned with parents regularly, then took 10 – 15 hours professional tuition before passing the test.

✔Present day DVSA recommendations state 45-50 hrs + at least 25 hrs private practice, on average, are taken by those who pass first time.

 

UK Government statistics show the volume of cars since the 80s has more than doubled:

✅1980: 20 million; as a result parked cars were sparse, so meeting situations were rare and junctions were quieter.

✔ 2023: 43 million; parked cars fill every road near a town centre which displays no parking restrictions, and most other areas too.

 

✅No theory or hazard perception tests in the 80s; just revising signs and rules from the Highway Code.

✔Constantly updated question bank of 1,000 and a minimum score of 86%.

✔Hazard perception clips with a short scoring opportunity and one random clip with two developing hazards, and a minimum score of 59%.

Both these tests must be passed in the same sitting.

The currently active questions are not published.

 

✅80s: test duration 20 minutes, but often back within 15 minutes.

✔present day: test duration 35 – 40 minutes, but often longer due to heavy traffic and road diversions.

 

✅No parking manoeuvres in the 80s; the test comprised turn in the road (3 point turn) and the left reverse around a corner.

✔Present day manoeuvres are:

Reverse parallel park, finishing within the space of 2 car lengths of the lead vehicle..

Reverse bay park, left or right.

Drive forward into a bay, either left or right, then reverse safely out.

Pull up on the right (facing traffic) reverse 2 car lengths, then rejoin your stream of traffic safely.

 

✅No independent driving section in the 80s.

✔Present day requirement is 20 minutes of following signs or Sat nav. In the 80s Sat nav didn’t exist, only paper road atlases and A-Zs.

 

✅No show me/tell me questions in the 80s, only a few questions randomly from a flip chart of signs and some questions on rules at the end. It wasn’t possible to fail on this unless you got a motorway question radically wrong.

✔Present day test has one question asked before driving, then one action to be performed on the move, i.e. “In your own time, please wash your rear screen as we continue to drive.”

 

✅Infrastructure of the 80s:

Very few bus lanes, even in London, and certainly no red routes.

Less parking restrictions.

Less roundabouts.

Traffic lights lacked advance stop lines and cycle boxes.

20 zones and traffic calming measures had yet to be introduced.

‘Bobbies on the beat’, ‘panda cars’, and traffic patrols were a common sight and this reinforced the standards on the road. This meant drivers tended to be courteous and give space to learner drivers.

Darth Vader was teaching us the Green X Code – Yes really!

Cycling Proficiency was taught within and outside schools; I still have my enamel pin badge.

Roads were maintained to a higher standard; a standard where you didn’t have to weave through potholes on almost every street to avoid damage to your vehicle. Where white lines and road markings could seemingly survive a nuclear blast rather than disappearing inside 6 months.

Concurrent or ‘satellite’ roundabouts, like the infamous ‘Magic Roundabout’ in Swindon weren’t yet a gleam in the road planner’s eye, and neither were spiral roundabouts.

Cars were significantly smaller, with driver aids amounting only to auto wash/wipe and brake servo assistance.

For comparison:

1980 VW Polo: 3600mm long, 1560mm wide, 1340mm tall, 685kg.

2023 VW Polo: 4074mm long, 1751mm wide (exc mirrors), 1451mm tall, 1173kg.

 

✔Roads are now far busier, junctions and road infrastructure is more complex. There are vastly more signs, markings, vehicles and rules.

 

✔A candidate passing their test in the UK today is subject to The New Drivers Act for a period of 2 years: During this time accruing 6 or more points will mean your licence will be revoked. You will have have to reapply for a fresh provisional licence, pass the theory test and driving tests again, with all the expense that entails.

 

There must be some negatives for those of us learning in the 80s, surely?

Ok:

🤓 Cars tended to have only 4 gears, unless they were either luxury cars or sports cars; simpler, but also more imperative to match the gears precisely to the road speed.

🤓 Brakes tended to be drums rather than discs and the ability to stop was dire.

🤓Power steering was a luxury afforded only to luxury cars; the rest of us didn’t need the gym for the upper body due to this omission.

🤓Mirrors were interior and driver side only.

🤓 We weren’t taught any form of parking because it wasn’t tested, and that shows in many drivers; some would still rather return home than reverse parallel park, even to this day.

🤓 Most ADIs taught us only enough to get us through the test rather than enough to be SAFE.

UPDATE 🏁

DRIVING LESSONS

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Our local team of  enthusiastic and friendly driving instructors have years of experience and will ensure you learn to drive safely and at your own pace. As a student of GRID Driving School you can expect help with every aspect of learning to drive, including driving theory.

Our services also include refresher courses for people who already hold a full driving licence as well as intensive courses for those students who need to pass quickly.

Driving lessons start at £38, with great savings to be made on block bookings! Book your first driving lesson with us today and get on the road to becoming a Great, Responsible, Independent Driver!

Learn to drive in Ayrshire, Glasgow, Lanarkshire and the surrounding areas!

DRIVING LESSONS

Learn to drive with GRID Driving School. We offer expert driving tuition for students in Ayrshire, Glasgow, Lanarkshire and the surrounding areas.

Our local team of  enthusiastic and friendly driving instructors have years of experience and will ensure you learn to drive safely and at your own pace. As a student of GRID Driving School you can expect help with every aspect of learning to drive, including driving theory.

Our services also include refresher courses for people who already hold a full driving licence as well as intensive courses for those students who need to pass quickly.

Driving lessons start at £38, with great savings to be made on block bookings! Book your first driving lesson with us today and get on the road to becoming a Great, Responsible, Independent Driver!

DRIVING LESSONS

Learn to drive with GRID Driving School. We offer expert driving tuition for students in Ayrshire, Glasgow, Lanarkshire and the surrounding areas.

Our local team of  enthusiastic and friendly driving instructors have years of experience and will ensure you learn to drive safely and at your own pace. As a student of GRID Driving School you can expect help with every aspect of learning to drive, including driving theory.

Our services also include refresher courses for people who already hold a full driving licence as well as intensive courses for those students who need to pass quickly.

Driving lessons start at £38, with great savings to be made on block bookings! Book your first driving lesson with us today and get on the road to becoming a Great, Responsible, Independent Driver!

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One of the best driving instructors out there! By far the most friendly, most encouraging driving instructor to ever exist, truth to these words. Starting the driving experience can be scary as you are basically entering the world of the unknown but with Micheal and team GRID, it just seems so relaxing and easy, he makes you feel comfortable and at ease with the car, explaining to you the mechanics of the road and car, you fit right in from day one.

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