Hawkwell Driving School - Driving lessons in Hockley, Rayleigh, Rochford, & Hullbridge.    Tel. 01702 204674

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Introduction to learning to drive:

Before you start your driving lessons you will need your provisional driving licence, this is a legal requirement.

How to apply for a Provisional Driving licence

Once you are in possession of your licence you can phone Wendy, or myself, to arrange your no-obligation trial driving lesson.

2-hour trial lesson for only £40.

I will then book you in for a lesson at a time that is suitable. To fit in with my schedule, and your work, or college. You can be picked up from wherever we agree, it doesn't have to be from home.

When I pick you up for your lesson I will need to see, and take details from, your provisional licence. That is both the plastic photo part, and the paper part. Legally, I must do this before I can allow you to drive on the road. I will then check your eyesight. To be able to drive you must be able to read a car number plate at a distance of about 20 metres, with glasses if necessary.

DSA driving eyesight requirements

I will then drive you to a suitable location. There you can sit in the driving seat, and I will go through with you: how to enter and seat yourself correctly in the driving position, the function of each control, and how to secure the car before starting the engine. You will then start the engine and try out each control to see how it works while we are stationary.

(if you have driven before all your training will be based on your previous experience, and ability)

Naturally, the purpose of this introductory lesson is to get you comfortable behind the wheel, and for you to actually drive the car. I always try to keep any explanations as short as possible, preferring to get you to try things yourself. Which I believe is the only way to learn.

Then you will then be ready to do your first pull away, drive along the road and steer smoothly, and then stop. After this we will drive again for slightly longer, and do a gear change from first gear to second gear. You will then get the opportunity to drive for increasingly longer sections to build up your confidence.

By the end of your trial lesson you should have a basic knowledge of how the controls of the car work, and you will have actually driven on the road. You will have pulled away, stopped, changed gear, and steered around bends. In some cases, depending upon the location, you might have also tried a little bit of reversing.

If you are nervous about learning to drive, please don't be. You can do it! And I will always try to keep your lessons as stress free as possible. I will never get you to do any more than you are comfortable with.

After a few hours of lessons you should be able to drive around quiet areas, quite confidently. And it won't be long before you can drive to and from your home. For the first few lessons I will drive you, to and from, suitable locations.

Once you have been driving for a little while, it is best to take your theory test, to get it out of the way. You will have multiple choice questions to do, and a hazard perception test. The best way to prepare for this is by using the Focus software called "driving test success."

Driving Test Success Theory Test CDs at Amazon

Dsa theory test videos

The waiting list for the theory test is about 3 weeks. So, as soon as you feel prepared you can use the link below:

To book your theory test (Please make sure that you go to direct.gov, as there are a number of 3rd parties that book tests for you and charge a fee - their websites look very official)

As your driving lessons continue, you will be able to drive confidently in all sorts of areas, and in all types of situations.  

At some stage you may decide to do some driving with your parents, or even buy your own car. You will need to be a named driver on the insurance policy, and be accompanied by someone over 21 years of age who has had a full driving licence for more than 3 years. I encourage pupils to do private practice, because the more experience gained on the road the better. You will learn to take much more responsibility for your own actions when you drive with your parents, as they won't have dual-controls. It will also reduce the number of lessons you will need with me. Whether it will save you money in the long run I don't know, as to insure your own, or parents' car, can be very expensive.

Learner driver short-term insurance 
(I have no personal experience of this company, and only include this link because I have seen their advertisements)

Most of your driving on your lessons will take place in Southend but I will also take you to many of the surrounding towns, including Chelmsford, and Basildon. And you will experience the A12, A127, and A13, as part of your driver training. Always, of course, you will be progressing towards the day that you can take your driving test.

Recent DSA research stated that the average driver takes 47 hours professional instruction, plus 20 hours private practice, to pass their practical driving test 

When I consider that you are at a suitable standard in your driving, I will advise you as to when to book your practical test. With a practical test waiting list of about 6-8 weeks, I have to anticipate when you will be ready to take it, and will advise you appropriately. In the period leading up to your driving test, I will conduct a number of mock driving tests with you: To make sure that you are really ready to pass the DSA driving test first time, and because I prepare my pupils thoroughly I have a very high driving test pass rate.

To book your practical test
Please make sure that you go to direct.gov

Driving test fees

Driving test statistics by the DSA

On the day of your driving test, depending upon where you decide to take it, we will schedule enough time for you to drive to the test area, and drive around some of the test routes to refresh your memory. You will also have time to practice each manoeuvre. We will then drive to the driving test centre, to arrive well before your appointment time, for a last minute briefing before you begin.

When your examiner comes out and calls your name, try to look pleased to see him (or her). They will ask to see both parts of your driving licence, and ask you to sign a declaration. This is for you to certify that our car is insured and that you have been a UK resident for at least the last 6 months.(It is best to also bring your appointment email, and your theory test certificate).

Then you will be asked if you want your instructor to accompany you. I will come with you if you want me to, but I don't have to. Most people prefer not to have anyone in the back on their test.

The examiner will walk outside with you to the car, checking your eyesight, and chatting with you on the way, before asking you the two maintenance questions. You will then be asked to make yourself comfortable in the car. You don't need to do a cockpit drill, because they know you have just driven there. The driving part of the test will then commence.

The DSA explains the practical driving test

When you return to the test centre, and have finished, your examiner will tell you the result. If you have passed they will take your driving licence, and send it off for you. You will be given your pass certificate. If you haven't passed they they will ask you if you want an explanation of anything that went wrong during the test.






Teaching people to drive for over 30 years! Professional driving lessons with Alan J Barker BA DSA ADI.
Covering Hockley, Rayleigh, Rochford, & Hullbridge areas