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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 18th 2017, 10:05 pm
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Default Re: Should I learn to drive in the UK or when I move to California?

Originally Posted by SpoogleDrummer View Post
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.
This is very true, and while people often focus on how easy the driving test is in the US, the issue for the OP is that the quality and rigor of the tuition probably has a similar difference. So even if the OP doesn't reach the point in the UK where they have passed their test, I would argue that there is significant value in the process of learning to drive in the UK.

As others have said above, it would also be handy to have passed the test if there is ever any chance that the OP might return to the UK to live later in life.
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Old Apr 18th 2017, 10:30 pm
  #32  
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Default Re: Should I learn to drive in the UK or when I move to California?

One thing to note, is that if you want to learn to drive a manual , do that in the UK because there are very few people who teach in manual cars in the US. Also the manual tuition is not very good from my experience.
Driving a manual will also give you some idea of how gear changes work. However from a purely financial and passing the test perspective, training and take the test where you will eventually be driving. That way you learn the rules of the road once, and create less confusion.
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Old Apr 19th 2017, 6:02 am
  #33  
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Default Re: Should I learn to drive in the UK or when I move to California?

Originally Posted by mrken30 View Post
... from a purely financial and passing the test perspective, training and take the test where you will eventually be driving.
The financial perspective needs to include an estimate of the additional expenses the OP may incur in the US, between the time that he arrives and the time that he gets a license, as a result of his not being able to drive.
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Old Apr 19th 2017, 10:11 am
  #34  
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Default Re: Should I learn to drive in the UK or when I move to California?

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
This is very true, and while people often focus on how easy the driving test is in the US, the issue for the OP is that the quality and rigor of the tuition probably has a similar difference. So even if the OP doesn't reach the point in the UK where they have passed their test, I would argue that there is significant value in the process of learning to drive in the UK.
Yes, the OP has asked about learning to drive, while many of the responses have been about passing the driving test.

IMHO, these are two different, albeit connected, issues. In both the UK and the US, you learn to drive after you pass the test! By which I mean all the things I mentioned upthread about reading the road, hazards, anticipating the actions of other drivers, being able to handle your vehicle in all sorts of weather conditions and generally being a competent and confident driver. And these skills are, by and large, universal and not country dependent.

If time and money weren't a consideration, I think driving lessons and passing the test in the UK means you are further ahead of the game when moving to the US as the UK test is more rigorous on more difficult road conditions and gives you a better place to start. However, as the OP said they had never driven, we have no idea what kind of driver he/she is, and whether they would be able to transfer skills from London to LA easily, or whether it would hinder them to move mid-learning.

Having a few introductory lessons in the UK would at least give them an idea of what would be good for them, particularly if they found an instructor who has experience in teaching international people and/or an understanding of what US driving is like and could advise them appropriately on how they are progressing and what skills they need to focus on. I would have thought London would be a good place to find such an instructor!
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Old May 4th 2017, 2:03 pm
  #35  
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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
Thanks Ian, it does seem that in the USA learning to drive is cheaper.

< snip >
A good friend, neighbor or relative could teach you to drive for free. That's how I learned. You'll need to pick up a handbook for the written test, of course. I failed on the first try! Also, you'll be using an automatic here in the USA, not a "stick shift."
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Old May 4th 2017, 2:41 pm
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Default Re: Should I learn to drive in the UK or when I move to California?

Originally Posted by mistijuel View Post
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
I drive in NJ and there are plenty of driving schools - it's hell being behind a driver with the sign "Student Driver"! But, yes, high schools generally have driving classes.
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Old May 4th 2017, 2:49 pm
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Default Re: Should I learn to drive in the UK or when I move to California?

Originally Posted by NYer View Post
A good friend, neighbor or relative could teach you to drive for free. ....
If you have never driven before this may not be the best idea for most people for several reasons, not least unless you want to start out by learning their bad habits.
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Old May 4th 2017, 2:54 pm
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Default Re: Should I learn to drive in the UK or when I move to California?

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
If you have never driven before this may not be the best idea for most people for several reasons, not least unless you want to start out by learning their bad habits.

we basically taught our daughter. She took her first test and failed it because she failed to come to a complete stop at a right turn junction. Guess where she learned that????
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Old May 4th 2017, 2:58 pm
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Default Re: Should I learn to drive in the UK or when I move to California?

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
If you have never driven before this may not be the best idea for most people for several reasons, not least unless you want to start out by learning their bad habits.
Well, I wouldn't learn to drive from a friend who had a lot of points or a DUI conviction! And who is to say that some professional driving instructor doesn't have bad habits of his own?!

I've never had a ticket in 30 years of driving.
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Old May 4th 2017, 3:05 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
Has anyone commuted to work using the Los Angeles public transit?
Yes. Unfortunately, both of them have since died due to suicide.

It is possible to survive on public transit with careful planning and if both job and home are centrally located. But that will limit your options and your housing costs will likely be on the high side. So you should expect to drive, then feel fortunate if you don't have to.
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Old May 4th 2017, 3:11 pm
  #41  
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Default Re: Should I learn to drive in the UK or when I move to California?

Originally Posted by NYer View Post
Well, I wouldn't learn to drive from a friend who had a lot of points or a DUI conviction! And who is to say that some professional driving instructor doesn't have bad habits of his own?!

I've never had a ticket in 30 years of driving.
There are probably hundreds of things that could lead to you failing your test but would never get you a ticket.

And the other reasons getting a friend or relative to teach you would be a bad idea include: insurance, suitability of their vehicle, the risk to their vehicle and therefore to your relationship, their patience and suitability as a teacher, mutual availability of time, etc. Most of those reasons are why I would never have got my father to teach me. I only very rarely ever drove his car even after I passed my test, and on one occasion he criticized me for doing something I wasn't doing and knew to not do (tailgating IIRC).
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Old May 4th 2017, 4:12 pm
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Default Re: Should I learn to drive in the UK or when I move to California?

Originally Posted by petitefrancaise View Post

we basically taught our daughter. She took her first test and failed it because she failed to come to a complete stop at a right turn junction. Guess where she learned that????
We taught younger son over here and he passed second time. The first time he struggled with the parallel parking, but a week of intensive after school practice in the bowling alley car park sorted that out! That was the only tricky maneouvre on the whole test, and they make you do it first so as not to waste time on the rest of the skills test if you can't do it. A smaller vehicle would have helped.
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Old May 4th 2017, 4:13 pm
  #43  
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Default Re: Should I learn to drive in the UK or when I move to California?

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
There are probably hundreds of things that could lead to you failing your test but would never get you a ticket.

And the other reasons getting a friend or relative to teach you would be a bad idea include: insurance, suitability of their vehicle, the risk to their vehicle and therefore to your relationship, their patience and suitability as a teacher, mutual availability of time, etc. Most of those reasons are why I would never have got my father to teach me. I only very rarely ever drove his car even after I passed my test, and on one occasion he criticized me for doing something I wasn't doing and knew to not do (tailgating IIRC).
Can't imagine teaching a brand new driver in a car without dual controls...
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Old May 4th 2017, 4:23 pm
  #44  
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Default Re: Should I learn to drive in the UK or when I move to California?

I never had a license in the UK, although I had had about 20 hours of lessons about 5 years before I moved. The test was easy, but that didn't mean that I didn't make a mistake.

I tapped the gas rather than the break, and the car travelled probably 2 feet before I stopped it.... I still passed with a 92. That's Georgia for now.

Now in the 2 years since I have actually 'learnt' to drive rather than how to pass the test. It's very different. You really have to have eyes like an eagle most of the time to avoid accidents. People flip in/out, run red lights and stop signs, drive at 90mph on 65mph roads - it's crazy.

I'm just glad I drive something that weight 2.5ton because anything smaller I'd be worried about getting into a wreck.

My advice? Pass the test, then learn to drive. A few hours will get you passing the test without too much trouble.
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Old May 4th 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 Wintersong View Post
Can't imagine teaching a brand new driver in a car without dual controls...
It requires some faith! It is easier in an automatic than a manual though. Younger son had his first experience driving stick last weekend, off-road in the woods in a series Land Rover with typically ineffective brakes and a dodgy carburettor! He was even allowed to take it on the night trail drive with just his 21yo co-driver (necessary to comply with junior licence laws) I owe the owner a drink
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