Where Is The Worst Town To Learn To Drive?

Sat 19th Feb 2022

One of the worst consequences of the Covid lockdowns of the last two years has been the huge backlog of driving tests and the problem doesn’t appear to be getting any better.

New analysis of the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency data this week has revealed that there are currently 41 towns which have no tests available, while some learner drivers have to wait almost half a year (23 weeks). 

The research, which was put together by CarMats, comes after the DVSA admitted in October last year that they were struggling to cope with the resurgence in demand. In a public letter the organisation said: “Unfortunately, demand for tests continues to be very high. The current national average waiting time for a car test is around 15 weeks. 79 test centres have a waiting time of the maximum 24 weeks."

The DVSA has since taken extra measures to try and get through the current backlog, by offering out-of-hours and weekend driving tests, and also retraining other DVSA employees to carry out tests. They have also returned to a policy of seven tests per day for each examiner, but clearly the problem still remains.

According to the report, Goodmayes in Ilford, east London has the longest wait for a test, and London boroughs dominate the list, taking all five top spots in the list.


  1. Goodmayes (London)

  2. Isleworth (Fleming Way) (London)

  3. Slough (London)

  4. Morden (London)

  5. Chingford (London)

  6. Reading

  7. West Didsbury (Manchester)

  8. Mill Hill (London)

  9. Cardiff Llanishen

  10. Peterborough

  11. Hither Green (London)

  12. Tolworth (London)

  13. Cambridge (Brookmount Court)

  14. Chadderton

  15. Oxford (Cowley)

  16. Cheetham Hill (Manchester)

  17. Bletchley

  18. Sale (Manchester)

  19. Luton

  20. Barking (Tanner Street) (London)

  21. Preston

  22. Mitcham (London)

  23. Featherstone

  24. Wood Green (London)

  25. Farnborough

  26. Lancing

  27. Sidcup (London)

  28. Ipswich

  29. Hull

  30. Wanstead (London)

  31. Colchester

  32. West Wickham (London)

  33. Gillingham

  34. Crawley

  35. Bromley (London)

  36. Hornchurch (London)

  37. St Albans

  38. Hyde (Manchester)

  39. Coventry

  40. Stoke-on-Trent (Newcastle-Under-Lyme)

  41. Leighton Buzzard (Stanbridge Road)

  42. Huddersfield

  43. Sheffield (Middlewood Road)

  44. Rochdale (Manchester)

  45. Bury St Edmunds

  46. Greenford (Horsenden Lane - London)

  47. Ashfield

  48. Herne Bay

  49. York

  50. Banbury


There are some areas of the UK which have a shorter wait, but very few towns are below the DVSA’s claim of an average wait of 15 weeks. Kirkaldy in Scotland has a two week wait, while Speke in Liverpool has 10 weeks. But only nine towns have 15 week wait or less.