Do Intensive Courses Create Safe Drivers?

Man driving car with both hands on steering wheel

It’s no secret that, here at PassMeFast, we’re huge fans of the intensive approach to learning to drive. Why drag lessons out over the course of a year when you can learn to drive from scratch in a matter of weeks? That’s no fun for you or your bank account!

Sadly, in some circles, intensive driving courses have developed a bit of a bad rep. Some people hear ‘intensive’ and assume it means that participants are forced to rush through the learning process at a ridiculous speed, which leaves them unprepared for what taking on the road alone actually involves. In other words, they think that intensive courses don’t create safe drivers.

Well, we beg to differ. So-called ‘crash courses’ (an unfortunate name, we admit!) can be just as safe as traditional methods of learning to drive. It all depends on the type of learner you are and the driving company you select. Not completely convinced? Stick around as we delve into a few of the most common misconceptions about intensive driving courses and explain how they do, in fact, create safe and confident drivers. Let’s get started!

What is an intensive course?

An intensive driving course incorporates all of the skills and practice time of a regular driving course, but over a shorter period of time. So, rather than taking hour-long lessons once a week for a few months, a learner on an intensive course would take block lessons (of 2-5 hours a day) over the space of a few weeks. This approach allows people to really get stuck into the learning process. Furthermore, it reduces the chance that they forget certain skills by the time their next lesson rolls around.

The second important component of intensive driving courses is fast-tracked tests. If a company is able to have a dedicated team of people tracking practical test cancellations on the DVSA’s calendar (as PassMeFast does) it means that they can swoop in and book the newly-available slots—securing the best possible appointments for their students. In doing so, they swerve annoying wait times and establish a clear time frame for learners to complete their course.

Indeed, when taking an intensive course, you’ll often be given the date of your practical test before your lessons have even started. That is, of course, as long as you’ve already passed the theory test. Having the date of your driving test already on the calendar means you have something to work towards. Plus, it allows your instructor to create a lesson plan that ensures all hours of tuition will be completed before the big day arrives.

Why are intensive courses so popular?

Feet of people in a queue

Despite the criticisms that are out there, intensive driving courses are undeniably popular. Yes, more and more people are coming around to the idea that a short, concentrated period of tuition is the most effective way to learn to drive. And they might be on to something.

Driving involves a range of different skills that are rarely used in isolation. As a result, learning to drive requires you to build on and combine various skills until you have the well-rounded knowledge that makes a competent driver. Controlled steering, for example, is a key part of being able to perform the manoeuvres. Similarly, you won’t be good at parking until you’ve mastered the vital skills of observation and clutch control. Developing all of these skills and using them in conjunction with one another is a lot easier if you don’t leave big gaps between lessons. The knowledge stays fresh and the speed at which you learn is the best kind of positive reinforcement!

Intensive driving courses also suit the fast-paced nature of modern life. People expect speed and efficiency when it comes to food, shopping and communication—so why should learning to drive be any different? It’s the best way to get bang for your buck and doesn’t require any long-term commitments. As long as you fully dedicate yourself for the duration of your course, you’ll be using your time in the most productive way possible. Winner!

Are intensive courses safe?

SeatbeltA major misconception about intensive driving courses is that they reduce the amount of hours a learner spends behind the wheel. This is simply not the case. What crash courses actually do (as we’ve previously explained) is provide the same amount of lessons over a shorter period of time. As long as you’re able to concentrate on driving for longer than an hour at a time, this kind of teaching is very effective.

The DVSA advises that complete beginners require around 45-50 hours of professional lessons to be test-ready. That’s why PassMeFast’s intensive courses start at 48 hours. It might not take as long as traditional lessons to complete, but you can rest assured that you’re getting exactly the same amount of time to learn the ropes. You can check out some success stories in our roundup of testimonies on the 48 hour course.

Some people see our 5 hour course advertised and assume that’s all some learners take before heading into their practical test. Nope! That’s actually a refresher course designed for people who can already drive. Check the details before jumping to conclusions!

What makes a safe driver?

A safe driver has a clear understanding of the rules of the road and lots of experience behind the wheel. Ideally, learner drivers should be taking lessons from a qualified instructor and practising with friends and family. Particularly if you’re taking an intensive course, building up experience outside of professional tuition will be great for your progress. Practice makes perfect! So, whether you’re taking an intensive course or not, you should be hitting the road as often as possible.

In simple terms, an intensive course will help you become a safe driver because there is no time for messing around! Being thrown in at the deep end forces you to take the whole thing seriously. Suddenly realising how much responsibility you have as a driver should encourage you to respect the rules of the road. This approach might sound a bit daunting, but as long as you’re with a DVSA-approved instructor, you’re in safe hands.

Is an intensive course right for you?

A cartoon fork in the road and signposts, with one sign marked "Course B" pointing left and another with "Course A" pointing right, with a cityscape in the backgroundOne of the few scenarios in which an intensive course might not produce a safe driver is if the learner doesn’t respond well to this kind of teaching. People learn in different ways, so it’s inevitable that intensive courses won’t work for everyone.

A criticism we sometimes hear is that with crash courses the skills learned are only absorbed in the short term. This means people might actually forget how to be good drivers once they’re qualified—quite a terrifying thought! Thankfully, we’ve never seen this happen. In fact, learning to drive is similar to learning to ride a bike. Once you know how, it’s a skill you have for life. Some learners do find it easier to take things slow, though, when returning to driving after a break.

If you do come out of your intensive course feeling like you aren’t quite ready to drive on your own, it’s probably just nerves. Like we said, driving is a big responsibility, so it’s perfectly normal to feel a little intimidated when newly-qualified. A great way to overcome this feeling is to take a pass plus course. Think of it like an add-on refresher course with some extra sprinkles (driving at night, tackling motorways…etc) on top.

What kind of learner are you?

Intensive courses are exactly like they sound—intense. In order to complete one successfully you must put in a lot of hard work and determination. Ploughing through your lessons will undoubtedly be stressful at times. After all, you are learning lots of new skills in a short space of time. If that doesn’t sound like the kind of thing you can handle, intensive might not be the way to go.

Worried that an intensive course might not make you a safe driver? There are other options beyond traditional weekly lessons. At PassMeFast, for instance, we also offer semi-intensive courses. These packages provide the perfect combo—the efficiency of a crash course with a more forgiving time scale. Even if you’re part way through an intensive course and feel overwhelmed, you can always ask your instructor to take it down a notch. At the end of the day, the learning process needs to be tailored to suit you.

Intensive courses and safe drivers: The verdict

Green traffic light against blue sky with clouds

While we’re slightly biased, we truly believe that intensive courses are one of the best ways to learn to drive. They’re efficient, cost effective and encourage people to fully commit themselves to the learning process. The time scale may be short-term, but the skills learned are definitely not! Nearly all learners who complete intensive courses emerge test-ready and, by extension, road ready.

The only danger linked to intensive courses is people assuming that they are a quick fix. In this case, quick does not mean easy. To benefit from such a learning approach you must really focus and fit in as much practice as possible. Those who don’t take the course seriously are very unlikely to pass their test anyway.

Finally, not all intensive courses are created equal! To find one that moulds you into a confident, safe driver, you must go to a reputable company. PassMeFast only works with experienced, DVSA-approved instructors who know exactly how to transform driving novices into test-ready pros in a short period of time. To get in touch and see what course would work for you, give us a ring on 0333 123 4949, or check out our courses online. Whether you fancy an intensive or semi-intensive approach, we have a course that will do the job.

The proof is in the pudding! You need only flick through our vast archives of top pass photos and reviews to see just how effective intensive courses can be.

By Isobel Robb

Isobel enjoys the freedom of the open road and loves driving to new places. She's here to offer helpful hints and tips to improve your motoring skills. When not keeping up to date with the latest driving info you can find her discovering new restaurants or exhausting her Netflix subscription.

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