Motoring

Getting on the road

Learning to drive, whether it's a car, moped or motorbike, can be complicated and expensive. Here's everything you need to get on the road for less.

Also on TSR...
Learning to drive a car and finding cheap student car insurance

Finding cheap motorbike insurance for young riders

Finding cheap moped insurance for first-time riders

Getting on the road

Learning to drive, whether it's a car, moped or motorbike, can be complicated and expensive. Here's everything you need to get on the road for less.

Also on TSR...
Learning to drive a car and finding student car insurance deals

Finding motorbike insurance for young riders

Finding cheap moped insurance for young riders

Ready to get on the road? We've put together our top tips to help you get started...

So you’re thinking about getting on the road - how exciting! For many people, the absolute highlight of their teenage years is having the freedom to get themselves around and avoiding the question “Do I look like a taxi service?” when they ask mum or dad for yet another lift into town. But if you’re thinking about starting to drive, you probably have a few questions about the whole process, including whether you should start your driving journey in a car, on a motorbike or on a moped. To help you get the lowdown on each type of vehicle, we’ve put together this handy overview to show you the pros and cons, with some awesome advice from TSR members who have been there, done that and got the driving licence to show it.

Looking out over a car dashboard

Learning to drive a car

A whopping 90% of TSR members chose a car as their first vehicle, making it by far the most popular choice. Cars are a good starting choice because you’ll learn with either a qualified driving instructor or an experienced supervisor (like a parent or older sibling), so you’ll get guidance every step of the way to make you a safe driver. Also, once you pass, you’ll be able to take more passengers - think of all the day trips!

However, car insurance can get pretty pricey - 13.4% of the TSR members we surveyed spend £1,501-£2,000 on their car insurance, and 7% shell out a frankly eye-watering £2,001+ to insure their cars. That’s why it’s best to use a website like MoneySupermarket to find the cheapest car insurance quotes and compare companies - it could save you hundreds (which can totally be spent on aux cables, air fresheners and car snacks).

There are loads of advantages to choosing a car over a motorbike, but bear in mind that you need to budget for things like car insurance, road tax, fuel and maintenance to keep everything running smoothly and safely.

Find out more about learning to drive a car

Learning to ride a motorbike

You can take your compulsory basic training (CBT) to ride a motorbike at the age of 17, so if you already have some moped experience this could be a good next step. Once you’ve passed this training (usually a one-day course), you can ride a motorbike up to 125cc on the roads with L-plates for two years (you just can’t ride on the motorway and you can’t take passengers until you’ve completed your full test).

Motorbikes are usually cheaper to insure and run than cars, but you should always look online to compare quotes and find cheap motorbike insurance for young riders. It may be easier to take a motorbike (or a moped) to uni than a car as there may be more space available, but remember that you won’t be able to lug your shopping back from the supermarket on a motorbike!

There’s also the safety aspect to consider - many car drivers fail to spot motorbikes, especially if they’re weaving through traffic, and motorbikes can also be more susceptible to poor weather conditions, so it’s important to take extra care on busy roads and in wet and windy weather.

Find out more about learning to ride a motorbike

Looking down on the controls of a moped

Learning to ride a moped

One massive advantage of learning to ride a moped is that you can start younger - you can take your CBT to ride a moped up to 50cc at 16. OK, so they’re not the speediest vehicles on the road, but the freedom it gives you over public transport is pretty eye-opening for a lot of teenagers. While you won’t be roaring your way into town any time soon, they’re a great choice if you want to familiarise yourself with getting on the road a year before you can drive a car or ride a motorbike.

Because they’re less powerful than motorbikes, mopeds can also end up being cheaper to run and insure than motorbikes. It’s worth searching for cheap moped insurance online to ensure you’re getting the best deal - our top tip is to shop around and never go for the first quote you find! Mopeds themselves also tend to be cheaper than motorbikes and cars, and they’re usually pretty cheap to run as they’re smaller and less powerful.

There are loads of threads on the TSR forums about the pros and cons of riding a moped, so check them out if you’re thinking about it.

Find out more about learning to ride a moped

A teenager standing in front of a camper van

If you have more questions about getting on the road, there are thousands of friendly students who will be happy to help out on the cars and motoring forums.

Looking for more information about getting on the road? Check out our other articles...