How Long Does It Take to Learn How to Drive?

Wondering how long it will take you to learn how to drive? This guide breaks down the process into simple steps so you can get your license sooner..

Time To Get Driving License

According to an article by the AARP, in a five-year span, there were 15.4 million new drivers on the road. If you are one of these new drivers planning to get licensed, you want to know how the process works. So, how long does it take to learn how to drive?

The answers vary based on where you live and what your abilities are. In this guide, we cover all of the determining factors and give you an estimated time. There are tips near the end of this guide showing you how to cut down on the time spent learning. We also answer some of your most pressing questions. 

How Long Does It Take to Learn How to Drive?

In general, it may take about 45 hours of professional training to get your license. You will also need around 20 hours of practice. These times can be spread out or done quickly, depending on what your needs are, so it’s hard to gauge how long it takes in total. 

With more than 228 million licensed drivers on the roads in the United States, it’s evident that it’s not too difficult to get a license. By planning ahead, it’s not as difficult as you may think to get licensed. 

What Factors Affect the Time It Takes to Learn to Drive?

Knowing what the average times are doesn’t help you figure out how long it takes in total. To understand that amount, you must look at the factors affecting the calculation. Not every factor may apply to you, but they are still important to know. Here are a few to consider. 

1. Your Natural Driving Abilities

Are you already skilled at driving? Maybe you’ve been driving tractors around your grandparent’s farm or you have experience on a 4-wheeler. If so, it will take you far less time to get the basics down. While riding a bike isn’t the same thing, these skills can also be transferred to driving a car.

For people with no experience, learning how to get behind the wheel and prepare to drive is half the battle. These are hours that you can cut out and save before you go get your license. 

2. Your Instructor’s Skills

Driving Instructor

It’s just as important to choose an instructor who knows what they are doing. If they are well-versed in teaching a beginner, they have tactics that help you understand faster.

Otherwise, you could learn together. That’s why we highly recommend researching an experienced and professional instructor if you need more guidance. 

3. Time Between Lessons

If you want to get your license quickly, you aren’t going to choose a class that meets once a week. Instead, you’ll pay to meet several times a week until you’ve learned what you need.

On the other hand, some people choose to take the leisurely approach. They aren’t in a hurry to get their license or they have a tough schedule to work with. These people will naturally need a longer training period overall before getting their licenses. 

4. Amount of Work You Put In

Everything you do is gauged by how much effort you put into it. If you want to learn any new skill, you do better to pour yourself into learning, so you can become an expert.

The same is true when you are trying to drive. The more energy and effort you put into learning, the faster you will be ready for your test. It’s all up to you and what you want to get out of it. 

5. How Many Different Road Situations You Experience When Learning to Drive

Foggy Weather

To take your driving test, you don’t need a lot of experience on various types of roads. Most tests are performed at your local DMV with the roads that are directly around it. Other locations stick to using a particular track that’s set up ahead of time.

However, if you want to get more out of the learning experience, you will subject yourself to various road types before taking your test. According to the CDC, about 2,800 teens in the United States were killed and about 227,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes in 2020. For that reason alone, it’s best to get as much experience as possible. 

6. Your Ability to Learn 

Part of understanding how to drive involves book learning. If you are great at learning facts, statistics and techniques, this won’t be a problem for you.

Otherwise, you may spend double or triple the time attempting to grasp the information. If this is true for you, it might be best to get a friend to help you study and learn. Sometimes, working in a group makes it easier to comprehend the data. 

7. Waiting for Your Tests

To take your test, you must register with the DMV in your state. Depending on where you live and how busy the location is, you may have to wait sometime before taking a test.

In some areas, you can take the test by simply walking in and asking. Other places could be months out for an appointment. You are at the mercy of what’s available near you. 

8. Failing the Tests

If you fail a written or driving test, you can usually retake it. However, each state has different regulations for how often you can take them and if you have to wait or not.

For example, according to the Texas DMV, you can fail three times before you have to submit a new application. Once that happens, you are looking at starting the process over again, which takes more time. 

READ MORE: How Many Times Can You Fail a Driving Test?

How Long Does it Take to Learn Driving Basics?

A main portion of learning to drive is understanding all of the techniques and rules. If you are someone that can download the driving manual from your local DMV and soak up all of the knowledge, it won’t take you long to learn this information.

Otherwise, you may need to study for longer amounts of time. If you study with a partner, you may be able to cut the time down dramatically. 

How Can I Speed Up the Time it Takes to Learn to Drive?

There are several ways you can cut down the time it takes before you get your license.

  • Choose a professional trainer to help you.
  • Grab a friend to help you study.
  • Practice as frequently as possible. The more time you put in, the sooner you can get your license.
  • Prepare ahead of time for your needs. Make sure you know what documentation is needed, how long you need to practice and when you can take your test.

Keep in mind that some areas make you wait several months for an appointment. If this is the case in your area, you may want to make the appointment while you are learning to shorten up the time you are left waiting. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is 10 hours enough to learn how to drive?

Every state has different requirements as to how long you need to invest before getting your license. To figure out what time is needed, you should check with your local DMV. In most cases, ten hours is not going to be enough time to meet the requirements. 

Can you learn to drive in 3 months?

Three months should provide you with plenty of time to get the experience needed to earn a driver’s license. If you invest a good amount of time during those three months, you should be able to gain the experience required to pass with flying colors. 

How do I overcome my fear of driving?

When you first start driving, make sure you have someone with you. It’s also best to avoid driving at night since visibility is best during the day. Also, try some meditative breathing exercises before you hit the road to calm and center yourself. 

How many driving lessons do I need?

Every state has different regulations. Under Texas law, all drivers under 18 need to complete seven hours of in-car lessons with another seven hours of observation with a driving instructor. Even if you are an adult, you may prefer to take professional lessons just for good measure. 

Conclusion: Learn To Drive

Are you ready to take the road by storm? If so, it’s important to know what is required of you before you get started. Gather all of the information from your state and map out the schedule ahead of time. By preparing the schedule, you’ll know how long it takes to get your license and when you can expect to be legal on the road.

Don’t be discouraged if you have a setback, as many people struggle to learn how to drive. Just get back up and try again, knowing that all of your practice is making you a better driver in the end. The more practice you put in now, the safer you will be when you are finally on the road.

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Brian Jones
Written by:

Brian Jones is a writer and owner of a used car dealership in the Dallas, Texas area. While he loves just about everything automotive, he has a special place in his heart for trucks, the bigger the better. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling with his family and hiking new trails. ASE Certified Master Technician.

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