Go Back  British Expats > Living & Moving Abroad > USA
Reload this Page >

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, 9:29 pm
  #16  
Bob
BE Site Lead
 
Bob's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2004
Location: MA, USA
Posts: 91,761
Bob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Should I learn to drive in the UK or when I move to California?

One learns to drive, in the other, one learns to pass the test and learns on the go, but the look of things....

Learning in a automatic, would certainly be easier. It's basically a go-cart at that point, but you don't have that same level of concentration you have when you learn to drive in a manual, which I think helps make you a better driver over all IMO. So might be worth having a few lessons before you leave London. Not really worth the cost of doing the test and getting the license though, unless even having a new one gets you out of the drivers ed type requirement in California. You don't have to do that stuff if you're over 21 in MA, but not all states will waive the requirement of hanging out with the spotty pizza faces.
Bob is offline  
Old Apr 11th 2017, 10:15 pm
  #17  
 
BritInParis's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2012
Location: Not in Paris
Posts: 16,527
BritInParis has a reputation beyond reputeBritInParis has a reputation beyond reputeBritInParis has a reputation beyond reputeBritInParis has a reputation beyond reputeBritInParis has a reputation beyond reputeBritInParis has a reputation beyond reputeBritInParis has a reputation beyond reputeBritInParis has a reputation beyond reputeBritInParis has a reputation beyond reputeBritInParis has a reputation beyond reputeBritInParis has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Should I learn to drive in the UK or when I move to California?

Although certainly cheaper and easier to pass your test in California if you are ever thinking of moving back to the UK then I would get your licence here first before you make the move.
BritInParis is offline  
Old Apr 12th 2017, 3:57 am
  #18  
Banned
 
Joined: Nov 2014
Posts: 364
az2014 has a reputation beyond reputeaz2014 has a reputation beyond reputeaz2014 has a reputation beyond reputeaz2014 has a reputation beyond reputeaz2014 has a reputation beyond reputeaz2014 has a reputation beyond reputeaz2014 has a reputation beyond reputeaz2014 has a reputation beyond reputeaz2014 has a reputation beyond reputeaz2014 has a reputation beyond reputeaz2014 has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Should I learn to drive in the UK or when I move to California?

Definitely in the UK. And make sure its a manual, so you can drive automatic as well.

I did this 2 years ago. Passed everything first time after 25 hours of lessons. Took 2 months from my first lesson to having my licence in my hand.

I would never drive here in London, only did it so I have the option in the future, and so I could drive my then girlfriend's car when I visited her in NY.

Driving in the USA is easyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy compared to the UK. Might as well get the hard part done first!
az2014 is offline  
Old Apr 12th 2017, 5:04 am
  #19  
BE Forum Addict
 
Joined: Mar 2008
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Posts: 4,896
md95065 has a reputation beyond reputemd95065 has a reputation beyond reputemd95065 has a reputation beyond reputemd95065 has a reputation beyond reputemd95065 has a reputation beyond reputemd95065 has a reputation beyond reputemd95065 has a reputation beyond reputemd95065 has a reputation beyond reputemd95065 has a reputation beyond reputemd95065 has a reputation beyond reputemd95065 has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Should I learn to drive in the UK or when I move to California?

Originally Posted by Bob View Post
Not really worth the cost of doing the test and getting the license though, unless even having a new one gets you out of the drivers ed type requirement in California. You don't have to do that stuff if you're over 21 in MA, but not all states will waive the requirement of hanging out with the spotty pizza faces.
I have no idea how much a driving test and license cost in the UK these days but, yes, if you already have a full driver's license then all that you have to do to get a California license is pass the (ridiculously easy) test.
md95065 is offline  
Old Apr 12th 2017, 10:24 am
  #20  
BE Forum Addict
 
yellowroom's Avatar
 
Joined: Nov 2011
Location: Was Virginia, now Yorkshire.
Posts: 1,941
yellowroom has a reputation beyond reputeyellowroom has a reputation beyond reputeyellowroom has a reputation beyond reputeyellowroom has a reputation beyond reputeyellowroom has a reputation beyond reputeyellowroom has a reputation beyond reputeyellowroom has a reputation beyond reputeyellowroom has a reputation beyond reputeyellowroom has a reputation beyond reputeyellowroom has a reputation beyond reputeyellowroom has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Should I learn to drive in the UK or when I move to California?

It's an interesting judgement call. You say you live in London - have you always lived there? How much time have you spent as a passenger in a car vs on public transport? Do you cycle much?

I'm asking because it's amazing how much "road sense" you can pick up in ways other than driving. By which I mean being able to understand signs and directions, observe other road users and potential hazards like pedestrians about to cross the road, and generally anticipate the behaviour (good and bad!) of other drivers. It's these skills that make you a better driver and also give you more confidence, regardless of what country you are in.

Actually operating a car is relatively easy in comparison; you could be easily driving round an empty car park in 10 minutes. It's all the other stuff that's hard.

Originally Posted by petitefrancaise View Post
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.
I think this is good advice - some introductory lessons to get a feel for operating a car would help if you've never sat behind a steering wheel before.
yellowroom is offline  
Old Apr 12th 2017, 1:48 pm
  #21  
Just Joined
Thread Starter
 
Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 17
jamel0226 is an unknown quantity at this point
Default Re: Should I learn to drive in the UK or when I move to California?

Originally Posted by yellowroom View Post
It's an interesting judgement call. You say you live in London - have you always lived there? How much time have you spent as a passenger in a car vs on public transport? Do you cycle much?

I'm asking because it's amazing how much "road sense" you can pick up in ways other than driving. By which I mean being able to understand signs and directions, observe other road users and potential hazards like pedestrians about to cross the road, and generally anticipate the behaviour (good and bad!) of other drivers. It's these skills that make you a better driver and also give you more confidence, regardless of what country you are in.

Actually operating a car is relatively easy in comparison; you could be easily driving round an empty car park in 10 minutes. It's all the other stuff that's hard.

I think this is good advice - some introductory lessons to get a feel for operating a car would help if you've never sat behind a steering wheel before.
I've never driven a car before unfortunately, but yes I would be able to make out some of the signs on the streets. I'll take your advice, I'll ask a friend to let me drive their car in the middle of a car park.

Thanks!
jamel0226 is offline  
Old Apr 12th 2017, 4:35 pm
  #22  
BE Enthusiast
 
Joined: Feb 2013
Posts: 933
sherbert has a reputation beyond reputesherbert has a reputation beyond reputesherbert has a reputation beyond reputesherbert has a reputation beyond reputesherbert has a reputation beyond reputesherbert has a reputation beyond reputesherbert has a reputation beyond reputesherbert has a reputation beyond reputesherbert has a reputation beyond reputesherbert has a reputation beyond reputesherbert has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Should I learn to drive in the UK or when I move to California?

Getting a license in California will cost you a grand total of...wait for it...$33. And that $33 allows you to take your test up to *3* times. So, it will be much cheaper (and easier) to take your test here.

Depending on where you will live in L.A. you might want to choose to take your test in one of the more 'quieter' suburbs as traffic downtown, Venice etc are traffic nightmares even for the most experienced driver.

Also, we are all saying the test is really easy and it is if you've already taken a British test, but since you've never driven before, it won't be a piece of cake for you. I'd suggest taking some lessons with an instructor when you arrive here.

Good luck!
sherbert is offline  
Old Apr 12th 2017, 4:46 pm
  #23  
BE Forum Addict
 
Joined: Jul 2015
Location: Watford
Posts: 1,147
dj6372 has a reputation beyond reputedj6372 has a reputation beyond reputedj6372 has a reputation beyond reputedj6372 has a reputation beyond reputedj6372 has a reputation beyond reputedj6372 has a reputation beyond reputedj6372 has a reputation beyond reputedj6372 has a reputation beyond reputedj6372 has a reputation beyond reputedj6372 has a reputation beyond reputedj6372 has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Should I learn to drive in the UK or when I move to California?

Originally Posted by sherbert View Post
Getting a license in California will cost you a grand total of...wait for it...$33. And that $33 allows you to take your test up to *3* times. So, it will be much cheaper (and easier) to take your test here.

Depending on where you will live in L.A. you might want to choose to take your test in one of the more 'quieter' suburbs as traffic downtown, Venice etc are traffic nightmares even for the most experienced driver.

Also, we are all saying the test is really easy and it is if you've already taken a British test, but since you've never driven before, it won't be a piece of cake for you. I'd suggest taking some lessons with an instructor when you arrive here.

Good luck!
I'm with sherbert, I took my test in Santa Monica at 4pm so I was in rush hour traffic, not much driving achieved!

IMHO I would not bother with any training in UK, I think it would confuse you more, its ok for people who have driven for years to make the transition.

Have fun, join the driving test line at the DMV stand behind the spotty oiks taking their tests, I was the oldest in line by at least 30 years!!
dj6372 is offline  
Old Apr 12th 2017, 5:14 pm
  #24  
Born again atheist
 
Novocastrian's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2005
Location: Europe (to be specified).
Posts: 30,239
Novocastrian has a reputation beyond reputeNovocastrian has a reputation beyond reputeNovocastrian has a reputation beyond reputeNovocastrian has a reputation beyond reputeNovocastrian has a reputation beyond reputeNovocastrian has a reputation beyond reputeNovocastrian has a reputation beyond reputeNovocastrian has a reputation beyond reputeNovocastrian has a reputation beyond reputeNovocastrian has a reputation beyond reputeNovocastrian has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Should I learn to drive in the UK or when I move to California?

Originally Posted by jamel0226 View Post
I've never driven a car before unfortunately, but yes I would be able to make out some of the signs on the streets. I'll take your advice, I'll ask a friend to let me drive their car in the middle of a car park.

Thanks!
Driving an automatic car in CA is bog simple. What is not simple in the UK these days is passing a driving test. It is fairly trivial in California.

Get a bit of parking lot practice in London in your mate's car for sure, but don't waste a penny on lessons there.
Novocastrian is offline  
Old Apr 12th 2017, 8:49 pm
  #25  
Forum Regular
 
Joined: Apr 2016
Location: California
Posts: 233
Asg123 has a reputation beyond reputeAsg123 has a reputation beyond reputeAsg123 has a reputation beyond reputeAsg123 has a reputation beyond reputeAsg123 has a reputation beyond reputeAsg123 has a reputation beyond reputeAsg123 has a reputation beyond reputeAsg123 has a reputation beyond reputeAsg123 has a reputation beyond reputeAsg123 has a reputation beyond reputeAsg123 has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Should I learn to drive in the UK or when I move to California?

I think some of the posters here are exaggerating the easiness of the California driving test. It's easier than the UK, but they do still seriously test you. I've seen people with years of driving experience fail. So you do need to spend some time learning to drive. Getting some experience handling a car with an L plate and someone sitting beside you before you come will shorten the time you'll need in the US.
Asg123 is offline  
Old Apr 13th 2017, 7:34 am
  #26  
Forum Regular
 
Joined: Jul 2014
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 211
cautiousjon has a reputation beyond reputecautiousjon has a reputation beyond reputecautiousjon has a reputation beyond reputecautiousjon has a reputation beyond reputecautiousjon has a reputation beyond reputecautiousjon has a reputation beyond reputecautiousjon has a reputation beyond reputecautiousjon has a reputation beyond reputecautiousjon has a reputation beyond reputecautiousjon has a reputation beyond reputecautiousjon has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Should I learn to drive in the UK or when I move to California?

I agree with Asg123. I think that the California driving test is simple for someone who has passed the UK driving test, but it does still requires some training, a reasonable amount of driving skill, and a (learned) innate awareness of what's going on around you.

When I took my California driving test, I was drove for about 20 minutes in a residential area and on a few main roads, and had to stop at several STOP signs, and reverse in a straight line.
cautiousjon is offline  
Old Apr 13th 2017, 3:17 pm
  #27  
BE Forum Addict
 
Joined: Jul 2015
Location: Watford
Posts: 1,147
dj6372 has a reputation beyond reputedj6372 has a reputation beyond reputedj6372 has a reputation beyond reputedj6372 has a reputation beyond reputedj6372 has a reputation beyond reputedj6372 has a reputation beyond reputedj6372 has a reputation beyond reputedj6372 has a reputation beyond reputedj6372 has a reputation beyond reputedj6372 has a reputation beyond reputedj6372 has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Should I learn to drive in the UK or when I move to California?

Originally Posted by cautiousjon View Post
I agree with Asg123. I think that the California driving test is simple for someone who has passed the UK driving test, but it does still requires some training, a reasonable amount of driving skill, and a (learned) innate awareness of what's going on around you.

When I took my California driving test, I was drove for about 20 minutes in a residential area and on a few main roads, and had to stop at several STOP signs, and reverse in a straight line.
I certainly didn't don't take any training at all, I said that IMHO learning in the uk, then learning in the US would be a waste, do the training here, and yes if you've never driven before the test is likely to be difficult!!!


As for seriously testing you, really??


But I'm sure some SA will say they passed without ever driving before hand.


My experience was based on 30+ years of driving, all over the world.


I thank you m'lud, and I rest my case.

Last edited by dj6372; Apr 13th 2017 at 3:22 pm.
dj6372 is offline  
Old Apr 13th 2017, 5:15 pm
  #28  
BE Forum Addict
 
Joined: Jun 2007
Location: UK-Indonesia-US
Posts: 1,828
Adnams has a reputation beyond reputeAdnams has a reputation beyond reputeAdnams has a reputation beyond reputeAdnams has a reputation beyond reputeAdnams has a reputation beyond reputeAdnams has a reputation beyond reputeAdnams has a reputation beyond reputeAdnams has a reputation beyond reputeAdnams has a reputation beyond reputeAdnams has a reputation beyond reputeAdnams has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Should I learn to drive in the UK or when I move to California?

I didn't learn to drive until I moved to USA from UK in my late 20's.
It presented me with no problems the test and everything was fairly easy and slack. I learnt in an automatic and have never driven anything else, why would anyone want to mess around with gears?! ;-) Having to learn in a manual is what put me off from learning in the UK.
The only thing I didn't like about taking my test here was that everyone else was like 16/17 at the test center and I felt like a Granny.
Adnams is offline  
Old Apr 18th 2017, 1:39 pm
  #29  
Just Joined
 
Joined: Aug 2015
Posts: 4
mistijuel is an unknown quantity at this point
Default Re: Should I learn to drive in the UK or when I move to California?

If you have access to a car in the UK, and you might return at any point, I would strongly consider getting your license in the UK. It is more expensive, I got mine in the US at 18, paid almost nothing for it, and it was super easy exam. This was because I had access to my parents' car and didn't have to pay for lessons. However, when I moved to the UK, I had to start from scratch, had to take lessons and it wasn't easy because in the UK I had to find a teacher etc. This was despite having driven in the US for 8 years, 6 on a full license, so if you return you might have to face taking lessons anyway.

When I was in the US, I didn't live in LA, but I can't imagine that it is that easy to find a driving school in the US as most people get taught at school or from their parents, and if you don't have access to a car in the US to practice, it might be more expensive to get lessons. Quick search on google has 6 hours at $300-400 in LA
mistijuel is offline  
Old Apr 18th 2017, 5:13 pm
  #30  
You aint seen me, right?
 
SpoogleDrummer's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2005
Location: US of A, TN
Posts: 2,744
SpoogleDrummer has a reputation beyond reputeSpoogleDrummer has a reputation beyond reputeSpoogleDrummer has a reputation beyond reputeSpoogleDrummer has a reputation beyond reputeSpoogleDrummer has a reputation beyond reputeSpoogleDrummer has a reputation beyond reputeSpoogleDrummer has a reputation beyond reputeSpoogleDrummer has a reputation beyond reputeSpoogleDrummer has a reputation beyond reputeSpoogleDrummer has a reputation beyond reputeSpoogleDrummer has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Should I learn to drive in the UK or when I move to California?

I think what most people are ignoring is that whilst you can pass the test over here relatively easily, having a license doesn't make you a good or even capable driver. As such the roads are full of idiots so to avoid accidents you not only need to know how to control the car according to the rules of the road but also have to know how to avoid the people who have no idea what they're doing. Personally I did a bunch of lessons with BSM in the UK before coming here and doing the test as I knew lessons wouldn't be readily available.
SpoogleDrummer is offline  

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.