How old do you need to be to start learning to drive?
To start learning to drive you have to be 17 years old, which is the minimum age that you can legally drive a car on public roads in the UK. You can apply for your provisional licence three months before your 17th birthday and if you are disabled and receiving mobility allowance you can start at the age of 16.
A provisional licence is a prerequisite for every wannabe learner driver. Before you can start learning to drive, you need to obtain a provisional licence from the Driving and licensing Agency (DVLA). To apply for a provisional licence, complete forms DL1 and DL750 available from any Post Office or you can apply on line.
Provisional License Application
Learning to drive as a British national, you will need to enclose two passport-size colour photographs, proof of your identity and a fee of £50 when you submit the forms. The DVLA aims to deliver your licence in about 3 weeks. More details will be with the application form. Different rules apply if you are an EU citizen or have come from outside the EU. Check with DVLA for details.
When applying for your provisional driving licence-before you start learning to drive-from the DVLA you should let them know if you have:
+ Any visual condition which affects both eyes (not including short or long sight or colour blindness)
+ Any visual condition which affects sight (not including short or long sight or colour blindness), for example, if you have sight in one eye only.
+ If you have had sight correction surgery you should declare this when you apply for your provisional licence. This will not stop you from learning to drive, but it is necessary information. Learning to drive involves taking a practical driving test.
Before you get into the car the examiner will ask you to read a number plate on a vehicle. If it’s one with an old-style number plate the required distance is 20.5 meters (about 67 feet). Number plates with a narrower font, such as the new-style number plates introducedin 2001, need to be read from a distance of 20 meters (66 feet) and are easily identifiable, they start with two letters e.g. AB51 ABC. If you wear glasses or contact lenses to do this, you’ll be expected to keep them on during the test.
“L” plates are essential for every wannabe learner driver on wheels: As a learner driver you have to display “L” plates in a visible place on the front and rear of the car you’re driving. Until the day you pass the practical part of the driving test you’ll have to display these and drive with someone who has passed their test, but they must be over 21 years old and have held a full British driving licence for at least 3 years.
When you’re paying for lessons, the insurance should be covered by the driving school, as it is at Miles Ahead Driving School. If you’re practising with friends or family, it is your responsibility to make sure you’re covered on their insurance policy.
Some essential reading, like the Highway Code, is a great place to start before you start learning to drive. Also start to practice your driving theory and hazard perception, you’ll find a range of materials designed to make learning as easy as possible online or there are lots of different phone and tablet apps available.
Manual gears or automatic?
Most people choose to learn in a manual car. This means you gain a full driving licence and can go on to drive a manual or automatic car in the future. If, however, you pass your test in an automatic that’s the only sort of car you’re then qualified to drive. In an automatic you don’t have to learn to use the clutch and gears, it’s a much simpler task and means you can give more of your attention to what’s happening on the road.
Theory and Hazzard Perception
Most driving schools will offer help with the theory test in the sense of testing you with sample questions. If you feel you may have problems with the driving theory or hazard perception then Learn The Wright Way can offer extra support.
Practical Driving Test
The cost of the Practical Test for car drivers is £62.00 during weekdays or £75.00 for Saturday and weekday evening tests. You will need to print off your test details as this is no longer posted out to you. If you don't have a printer available then make a note of your reference number.
If you need to cancel your test for any reason, you’ll have to give three working days notice to keep your fee.
DSA test fees are subject to changes. You can book your driving test on line or by phone with the DSA. Theory.....0300 200 1122 11 Practical.....0300 200 1122 25
Booking your Practical Driving Test
Your provisional driving licence
+ Your Theory Test certificate number
+ A debit or credit card for payment
+ Details of your preferred test dates and times
+ Details of any special requirements
+ Your Driving Instructors A.D.I. number (optional)
What you need to take with you on your test day
You must take your provisional driving licence and your Theory Test pass certificate with you when you arrive to do the Practical Driving test. If you have a photo-licence you must take the counterpart with you as well. It is part of the licence. You must have some form of photographic identification and all the documents must be original, not photocopies.
What you will be expected to do on your Driving Test:-
+ To pass your driving test you need to read a number plate from 20 metres
+ Answer 2 questions about the car
+ Drive without making any serious or dangerous faults and no more than 15 minor faults during a drive of about 40 minutes
+ You must also complete one manoeuvre
+ You will also drive independently for about 10 minutes following a series of directions that you will be shown when you are parked at the side of the road, or you maybe asked to follow road signs (or a combination of both)
+ You may or may not do the emergency stop.
Practive makes perfect
Practise manoeuvres until you can carry them out without any minor faults. That will leave you with a margin of 15 faults for the rest of the drive on the day of your test.
Practise, practise, and practise until you can drive without verbal or physical intervention from your instructor for the duration of a full driving lesson or a mock driving test. Don't forget: it's not practice that makes perfect: it's practice – with a professional driving instructor – that makes perfect.
10 big driving test fails
1. Observation at junctions – ineffective observation and judgement
2. Reverse parking – ineffective observation and/or a lack of accuracy
3. Use of mirrors – not checking or not acting on information
4. Reversing round a corner – ineffective observation or lack of accuracy
5. Incorrect use of signals – not cancelling or giving misleading signals.
6. Moving away safely – ineffective observations
7. Incorrect positioning on the road - particularly at roundabouts or on bends
8. Lack of steering control – steering too early or too late
9. Incorrect position to turn right – at junctions and/or in one-way streets
10. Inappropriate speed – travelling too slowly or with too much hesitation