Learning to drive and qualifying for a driver’s license around age 16 is an American rite of passage. But driving lessons aren’t limited to teenagers prepping for their driver’s license written and road tests. Adults who have licenses and want to become better, more defensive drivers or people who are licensed to drive internationally but need a U.S. license can take private driving lessons from certified instructors. Professionals generally have many years of experience teaching people how to drive—and will most likely be more patient with a beginning or nervous driver than a spouse or family member. Some adult drivers may simply want to gain confidence in their driving skills or practice driving on freeways or in other nerve-racking conditions.
Most private lessons cost $50–$80 per hour, depending on the geographic region. Purchasing lessons as part of a package can also affect the price. Pickup and drop-off at the student’s home or other specified location is usually included in the cost of a lesson. Driving instructors recommend a minimum of six hours of lessons, which is the requirement in many states for the number of hours behind the wheel that a driver with a learner’s permit must complete before being eligible to take the road test at the department of motor vehicles.
Hourly versus per-lesson rates
Some driving instructors charge by the hour while others charge by the lesson. Bill’s Defensive Driving School, located in the Pinole, California, charges $80 per hour with a two-hour minimum for each lesson. This price includes pickup and drop-off and plenty of one-on-one, behind-the-wheel instruction. Students also receive discounted access to an online course that helps prepare drivers to pass the state DMV’s written exam.
Some driving instructors offer package deals for a certain number of lessons. USA Driving School of Excellence, located near Atlanta, Georgia, offers the following private lesson packages:
Two hours: $99
Three hours: $149
Six hours: $275
Eight hours: $359
10 hours: $449
- Road-test practice: $125
Female Driving Instructor USA, also based near Atlanta, offers a six-hour driving lesson package for teenagers for $260. This company charges $120 for a two-hour a la carte adult lesson and has the following discount packages for adult lessons:
Three lessons: $325
Five lessons: $525
10 lessons: $780
- 20 lessons: $1,600
Area Auto School, based in Hempstead, New York, offers the following packages:
Silver, five lessons: $275 (includes door-to-door pickup)
Bronze, five lessons: $325 (includes all of the above plus a car to use for the road test)
Gold, 10 lessons: $530 (includes all of the above plus a five-hour pre-licensing class)
- Platinum, 20 lessons: $1,000 (includes all of the above)
Written test preparation
Bill’s Defensive Driving School and USA Driving School of Excellence both offer students access to their respective states’ online driver’s preparation courses. Bill’s Defensive Driving School charges $49.95, a $20 discount off the full price of $69.95. USA Driving School of Excellence offers the Georgia online prep course for $50.
Specially equipped vehicles
Some driving schools, including Bill’s Defensive Driving School and Female Driving Instructor USA, use cars equipped with two brake pedals: one that the student driver uses and a second pedal on the passenger side that the instructor can use to reduce speed or stop the car if necessary. Lessons can cost slightly more from these driving instructors because they have to cover the cost of outfitting the cars with two brake pedals.