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Should I learn to drive in the UK or when I move to California?

Should I learn to drive in the UK or when I move to California?

Old Apr 11th 2017, 12:18 pm
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Default Should I learn to drive in the UK or when I move to California?

Hi guys,

this is my first post.

Before I start I would just like to say how wonderful it is having a forum like this, such useful information.

So basically, I am looking to move to California in October 2017. [*UPDATE* I am a Foreign Born US Citizen]

I visited last month, my main concern with moving is driving, as I don't drive here in London, I am 27, I never bothered to learn to drive as I didn't see the need!

I am in two minds whether or not I should learn to drive here in London or in Los Angeles.

I'm thinking, is there any point in learning to drive in London considering I will have to take another course to learn in California.

Is it cheaper to learn to drive in London or California?

Is it easier to learn to drive in London or California? -- Considering American's drive on the other side of the road.

Also, I've heard that I will have needed to have my license for 1 year to use car rental companies in the USA?


Sorry for the many questions, but any advice would be much appreciated.



Regards,

Last edited by jamel0226; Apr 11th 2017 at 12:59 pm. Reason: USC confirmation
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Old Apr 11th 2017, 12:32 pm
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Default Re: Should I learn to drive in the UK or when I move to California?

Originally Posted by jamel0226 View Post
... is there any point in learning to drive in London...
No.


Is it cheaper to learn to drive in London or California?
It's relatively cheap in California.


Is it easier to learn to drive in London or California?
On the assumption that you're talking about the ease with which you can get a driver's license - it's definitely easier in California. Actually driving in California can be much more dangerous, however!


Considering American's drive on the other side of the road.
Since you don't currently drive, I can't imagine it makes much difference!


I've heard that I will have needed to have my license for 1 year to use car rental companies in the USA?
I doubt this is true - but be prepared to fork out a chunk of money!

Ian
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Old Apr 11th 2017, 12:50 pm
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Default Re: Should I learn to drive in the UK or when I move to California?

OK, I'll ask first: Assuming you are not a USC, what visa are you moving on? Do you have a job in California and are they sponsoring your visa?
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Old Apr 11th 2017, 12:52 pm
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Default Re: Should I learn to drive in the UK or when I move to California?

Originally Posted by quiltman View Post
OK, I'll ask first: Assuming you are not a USC, what visa are you moving on? Do you have a job in California and are they sponsoring your visa?
Good question Quiltman, I am a foreign born USC. I haven't lined up a job as of yet (In the process).
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Old Apr 11th 2017, 12:52 pm
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Default Re: Should I learn to drive in the UK or when I move to California?

Assuming you've got the visa side sorted, there is ZERO point to learning to drive now in the UK. It's very expensive and likely you wouldn't even get your license before October even if you started now (unless you did an intensive course - but I'm assuming you'd be the average '1 lesson per week' type person). London is HARD to drive in, to boot (used to live there...didn't learn how to drive until we moved to Yorkshire, as London was that intimidating!). On top of all that, even once you got your British DL, you'd have to take a new written AND practical test in California anyway. They are easy, but I don't see the point in doing both.

I've started from scratch (driving license) in both countries, but America is ten times easier to learn to drive and obtain a license in.

Last edited by aless02; Apr 11th 2017 at 1:01 pm.
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Old Apr 11th 2017, 12:57 pm
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Default Re: Should I learn to drive in the UK or when I move to California?

Originally Posted by ian-mstm View Post
No.


It's relatively cheap in California.

On the assumption that you're talking about the ease with which you can get a driver's license - it's definitely easier in California. Actually driving in California can be much more dangerous, however!

Thanks Ian, it does seem that in the USA learning to drive is cheaper.

< snip >

Last edited by BEVS; Apr 11th 2017 at 9:29 pm. Reason: Snip the odd link
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Old Apr 11th 2017, 1:01 pm
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Default Re: Should I learn to drive in the UK or when I move to California?

Originally Posted by jamel0226 View Post
Good question Quiltman, I am a foreign born USC. I haven't lined up a job as of yet (In the process).
Thanks, nice to know. Saves others asking the same questions! good luck with the job. yup, learn to drive once you get to California , don't waste money on UK lessons with such a short timescale.
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Old Apr 11th 2017, 1:07 pm
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Default Re: Should I learn to drive in the UK or when I move to California?

Originally Posted by aless02 View Post
Assuming you've got the visa side sorted, there is ZERO point to learning to drive now in the UK. It's very expensive and likely you wouldn't even get your license before October even if you started now (unless you did an intensive course - but I'm assuming you'd be the average '1 lesson per week' type person). London is HARD to drive in, to boot. On top of all that, even once you got your British DL, you'd have to take a new written AND practical test in California anyway. They are easy, but I don't see the point in doing both.

I've started from scratch (driving license) in both countries, but America is ten times easier to learn to drive and obtain a license in.
Thanks for your Advice Aless02. I am in the process of lining up a job before I move, depending on my success I may move without a job, the reason I considered learning to drive here in London is because I may move and have to start my job immediately.

I am looking to move to the Los Angeles County area, so I could always make use of the Los Angeles public rail system.

Has anyone commuted to work using the Los Angeles public transit?

Thanks in advance
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Old Apr 11th 2017, 2:11 pm
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Default Re: Should I learn to drive in the UK or when I move to California?

I learned to drive in London. Wasn't that bad and I have driven in countries all over the world since.

OP, I'd at least start learning to drive now. Just to get the feel of driving, starting to get a bit of a sense of others around you. Make sure you get an automatic car to learn in. Not sure how you would cope in California and not be able to drive - just getting to job interviews will be 10x harder. Anything that gets you going a bit earlier is going to help. Switching sides of the road isn't difficult either.
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Old Apr 11th 2017, 2:26 pm
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Default Re: Should I learn to drive in the UK or when I move to California?

If you can manage it I would definitely try to both learn to drive and get a license before you leave the UK. While you will need to take a driving test to get a license in California you will not need to take any driving lessons in California *if* you already have a UK license.

Yes it is probably harder to learn to drive in London, and the UK driving test will be more difficult, but you will at least actually learn how to drive.

On the other hand, the logistics of arriving in the U.S. and trying to settle in and find a job *and* learn how to drive all at the same time may well be overwhelming. As you should already have discovered, public transport in the U.S. typically ranges from poor to non-existent.
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Old Apr 11th 2017, 2:38 pm
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Default Re: Should I learn to drive in the UK or when I move to California?

Originally Posted by md95065 View Post
If you can manage it I would definitely try to both learn to drive and get a license before you leave the UK. While you will need to take a driving test to get a license in California you will not need to take any driving lessons in California *if* you already have a UK license.
When we moved to Riverside CA in 1977* my wife had never been a driver. The only lessons she got were from me and she passed her test first time about 3 weeks after we arrived.

*The rules may well have changed since then, but I'd be surprised if the congestion in and around LA were any different today.
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Old Apr 11th 2017, 2:47 pm
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Default Re: Should I learn to drive in the UK or when I move to California?

Originally Posted by Novocastrian View Post
When we moved to Riverside CA in 1977* my wife had never been a driver. The only lessons she got were from me and she passed her test first time about 3 weeks after we arrived.

*The rules may well have changed since then, but I'd be surprised if the congestion in and around LA were any different today.
Yes, but there were two of you. You had a license and could give her lessons and drive her around until she got her license. As I understand it, the OP will be on his own and will most likely not have someone with a car, living in the same household, who can give him lessons and drive him around for the first month or so.
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Old Apr 11th 2017, 4:24 pm
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Default Re: Should I learn to drive in the UK or when I move to California?

Originally Posted by md95065 View Post
Yes, but there were two of you. You had a license and could give her lessons and drive her around until she got her license. As I understand it, the OP will be on his own and will most likely not have someone with a car, living in the same household, who can give him lessons and drive him around for the first month or so.
Fair point. But starting lessons in London would just be a waste of money and probably a set-back.
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Old Apr 11th 2017, 4:30 pm
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Default Re: Should I learn to drive in the UK or when I move to California?

Originally Posted by md95065 View Post
Yes, but there were two of you. You had a license and could give her lessons and drive her around until she got her license. As I understand it, the OP will be on his own and will most likely not have someone with a car, living in the same household, who can give him lessons and drive him around for the first month or so.
Thanks Md95065, great point. Luckily, I will have someone in Los Angeles to drive me around (depending on their availability), and theirs always Uber, I will be staying with them for a month or two until I find my feet.

But just as petitefrancaise said, it may prove difficult learning to drive, looking for work and a place to stay all at the same time.

I may ask a friend to give me 'free' lessons while I am still in London.

Thanks guys.
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Old Apr 11th 2017, 7:43 pm
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Default Re: Should I learn to drive in the UK or when I move to California?

Outside of learning the rules of the road in the State you will be living in, driving is really learning to control the vehicle. So it makes no difference if that control is learned in the UK or the US. There might be slight adjustments to be made in making left and right turns and parallel parking (if that is done in CA) as the driver's seat is on the opposite side of the car in the US if you are learning in the UK but a few lessons in the US will bring you up to speed. Since you aren't planning on coming to the US anytime soon, I vote for taking a few lessons or having a friend let you use their car for the first few times in a large empty parking lot
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