How do I start to learn to drive?
In order to learn to drive, you need to be 17 years old and have a valid provisional licence. You can complete a D1 form up to three months before your 17th birthday, and you can either pick one up from the post office or apply online. see the driving standards website for full current eligibility information
1st provisional licence
When applying for your provision licence a photograph of yourself, which has been signed and dated on the back by an acceptable person, confirming that the photograph is a true likeness of you. A signature will be accepted from the following:
- Approved Driving Instructor
- DSA Certified Motorcycle Instructor
- Member of Parliament
- local authority councillor
- Justice of the Peace
- Civil servant
- Police officer
- Bank official
- Minister of religion
- Barrister or Solicitor
Disability living allowance
If you are receiving disability living allowance at the higher rate your provisional licence will come into effect when you are 16, but you can apply for it within three months of your 16th birthday see www.motability.co.uk and check eligibility.
How much does it cost to get your provisional licence?
On its website, the Driving Standards Agency publishes the current licence fees
How many lessons will I need?
The cost of learning to drive depends on a variety of factors, including the cost of lessons in your area, how much driving experience you already have, and how much private practice you do. The Driving Standards Agency advises that it can take an average 45 hours of professional tuition and 22 hours of private practice to pass a driving test.
"My friend only had 10 lessons and passed", we hear this a lot and it is likely that the person had many hours of driving experience prior to having professional instruction or exagerate how little instruction was actually taken and needed. There are not many people who can pass a driving test with so little instruction.
Driving lesson Calculator (For guidance only)
Make sure you know what is expected before you go for the test.
The driving test
A driving test is made up of a theory test and a practical test. You cannot normally take the practical test without first having passed the theory test
However, some people are exempt from taking the theory test. You can find further information about who is exempt from taking the theory test from the Direct Gov website at www.direct.gov.uk.
You have to pay a fee for each part of the test. Current prices are Please see the DSA website
Before you can apply for a test, you must have a valid Great Britain or Northern Ireland provisional driving licence.
The theory test
The theory test is in two parts. The first is a computerised touch screen test in which you have to select the correct answer from a number of choices. The second part is called the hazard perception test. You will be shown a set of video clips of driving hazards and asked to click the mouse button as soon as you spot a hazard. You have to pass both parts of the theory test at the same sitting in order to pass.
The practical test
You cannot take the practical test until you have passed the theory test unless you are exempt. The practical test will test your ability to exercise adequate control of your vehicle and normally lasts 40 minutes. If you have a physical disability, you will be asked to demonstrate any special controls on your vehicle.
The practical test also includes two questions on vehicle safety, designed to make sure that you know how to check the safety of your vehicle. Topics covered are, tyres, brakes, fluids, lights, reflectors, direction indicators, and horns. Current prices Please see the DSA website
If you fail, or do not take the practical test within two years of having passed the theory test, you will have to pass the theory test again before you can apply for a practical test.
When you have passed the practical test, in England, Wales and Scotland if you have a photocard provisional licence and your personal details have not changed, you can hand it over to the examiner, and a full licence will be issued to you automatically. Otherwise, you must apply to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) for your full licence within two years of the test date. If you don't do this, you will have to take the practical test (and the theory test) again.
Wearing glasses or contact lenses while driving
What the law says: If you wear glasses or contact lenses for the eyesight test, the law requires that you wear them whenever you are driving
If you wear glasses or contact lenses for the eyesight test, the law requires that you wear them whenever you are driving. This includes during your driving test.
Wearing glasses or contact lenses during your test
You are not allowed to remove your glasses or contact lenses when carrying out test manoeuvres (reversing and so on).
If you wear glasses or contact lenses to read the number plate and remove them during the test, you'll be reminded you must wear them. If you refuse to wear them, the test will not continue.
If you don't bring your glasses to your test
If you have broken, forgotten or brought the wrong glasses, tell your examiner at the start of the test. If you don't tell the examiner and you attempt and fail the eyesight test, your test will be recorded as a failure. The rest of the test will not go ahead.
Applying for a test
You can apply for the theory or practical test:-
in writing, by completing an application form which is available from the available from test centres, driving instructors or the test booking line. The number of the booking line is 0300 200 1122 in England, Wales or Scotland, or 0300 200 1133 to apply in Welsh or online at www.dsa.gov.uk
You have to pay a fee for the test. Current prices Please see the DSA website
You can reschedule or cancel a test over the phone or online by giving three clear working days notice.
If you cancel or reschedule the test inside the three working days you will lose your fee.
Candidates with special needs
If you have special needs, for example, reading difficulties, physical disabilities or you wish to take the theory test in a language other than English, the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) You can find further information from the Direct Gov website at www.direct.gov.uk.
What should I take with me to the Test centre?
At the driving test centre
You must bring the following items with you - if you don't, the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) may refuse to carry out the test and you may lose your fee:
1. an appropriately insured and licensed vehicle, displaying L-plates (except for taxi and Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) part two tests), that is suitable for the purpose of the test
2. the appropriate theory test pass certificate (or confirmation) if you are not exempt;
3. your appointment letter or a printed version of your email confirmation
4. both parts of your photo card licence - if you don't take both parts of your licence, your test will not take place and you'll lose your fee
5. if you have an old-style paper licence, you must take your signed driver licence and a valid passport - no other form of photographic identification will be accepted
If you misplace your driving licence, you must apply for a replacement from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), which could take up to 15 days. If this happens, you may have to rearrange your test.
Re-taking the test
If you fail the theory test, you must wait three clear working days before you can take a further test. There is no limit on the number of times you can take the test.
If you fail the practical test, you must wait ten clear working days before retaking a car or motorcycle test and three working days before retaking a lorry or bus test. There is no limit on the number of times you can take the test.
If you fail the theory test, you can only appeal if the test was disrupted.
If you fail the practical test, you can only appeal if the test was not carried out in accordance with the regulations.
When you pass your driving test for the first time you will be subject to a two year probationary period. This applies to anyone driving on a licence issued by the DVLA. The two year period begins on the day you first pass the practical test.
If during the probationary period, you are convicted of driving offences for which six or more penalty points are awarded, your driving licence will be revoked.
If your full driving licence is revoked, you will revert to learner status and be treated as if you never passed a driving test. To continue driving, you will have to get a provisional driving licence and drive with learner’s plates until you have passed both the theory and practical parts of the driving test.
You cannot appeal the revocation of your licence. However, if you appeal against the conviction or sentence which brought the number of penalty points up to 6 or more, you can apply to the DVLA to have your licence restored pending the result of the appeal. If the court notifies the DVLA that the sentence is under appeal, the full licence should be restored without a further test.
There is no minimum period for which the licence must be revoked. As soon as you have passed both the theory and practical parts of another driving test, you can apply for a new full licence. However, the penalty points will remain on the driver’s licence for four years from the date of your offence. After four years you can ask the DVLA to have them removed from your licence.
In England, Wales and Scotland only, a motorcyclist whose licence is revoked under the terms of the probationary period, does not have to retake compulsory basic training, provided you still have the original compulsory basic training certificate.
For some driving offences a court can disqualify you and/or order that you be re-tested. If the offence is very serious the court can order that you are ‘disqualified until test passed’ and that you must take a double length-practical driving test known as an ‘extended driving test’. The fee to be paid for this test is higher than that for a normal test
In England, Wales and Scotland only, a motorcyclist who is disqualified by a court will have to retake compulsory basic training in order to ride as a learner and will have to take the practical test.
Pass Plus is a voluntary training scheme for newly-qualified drivers in England, Wales and Scotland. It involves a minimum of six lessons which cover, among other subjects, night driving, all-weather driving, and driving on motorways and dual carriageways. You have to pay a fee for attending but there is no test at the end of the course.
If you complete a Pass Plus course within twelve months of passing your test, you may be able to get a discount on your insurance. The discount is normally the equivalent of a one year no-claims bonus. Check with your insurer before taking the course to see whether or not this is available. You may also want to check with an insurance broker to see whether other insurers give a larger discount.
Further information about Pass Plus can be found on their website at www.passplus.org.uk.
If you want to complain about the way in which any part of your theory or practical test was administered, contact the test centre where you took the test. If you aren't satisfied with their response to your complaint, you should contact the Driving Standards Agency's customer services department on 0191 201 8161 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Foreign License holders
If you hold a foreign license specific rules apply see the DVLA website Foreign licence holders
How many faults can you make on a driving test?
You are "allowed" to commit no more than 15 driver faults (commonly called minor faults). However should you persistently commit the same type of driver fault this can be viewed as a serious fault. Should you commit any serious or dangerous faults this will result in a test failure
Can I practice with my friends or family supervising me?
Yes. I encourage supervising drivers to come along on a driving lesson to get a feel for correct supervision. However there are some legal requirements for supervising a learner. The supervising driver must be over 21 and have been a full licence holder for at least 3 years.
The car must be insured for the pupil to drive and L-Plates must be displayed when the pupil is driving and should be clearly visible from the front and rear of the car - They should not be placed in windows as this can obscure the view of the driver or supervising driver and L-plates should be removed or covered when not being driven by a provisional licence holder - The exception to this is driving school vehicles.
Purchase a suction mirror it is recommended that you have a rear view mirror fitted when you are supervising a learner. These are available from most motor accessory shops, Asda, Tesco, etc,
Learner drivers are not allowed on Motorways.
Can you teach disabled people?
A:This depends on the level of disability, I have taught totally deaf pupils, people who cannot speak any english, also pupils who suffer from Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and ADHD (Attention-deficit hyperactive disorder) each person required individual tuition, tailored to suit there needs
Towing a Trailer
Do you need an additional driving licence to tow a caravan or trailer?
If you have passed your driving test within the last 15 years, you may need to take a further test to enable you to tow a braked trailer. But it's not as simple as that, brief details are as follows:
Drivers must hold a full driving licence to tow anything.
Most drivers who passed their test before 1 January 1997 have licence categories B+E allowing them to drive a vehicle and trailer/caravan with a combined weight of up to 7 tonnes. The trailer or caravan must not exceed 3.5 tonne.
Drivers who passed their test since 1 January 1997 are only allowed to drive a vehicle up to 3.5 tonnes (category B) and tow an unbraked trailer up to 750kg.
To be able to tow combinations outside this ruling requires the passing of an additional test to obtain Categories B+E.
This information is not a definitive statement of law.
Please refer to your individual drivers' license to confirm your personal entitlement and seek advice from the DVLA and the professional bodies where necessary