Learning to drive can seem quite complicated – so this page has been created to give you all the necessary information from getting hold of your provisional licence, to applying for and ultimately passing your test.
Applying for a provisional licence
Before you can start learning to drive, you have to get a provisional driving licence. To apply for this, you must complete the DVLA’s D1 application form either via their website or at your local Post Office. You can apply for your provisional licence up to three months before your 17th birthday although you cannot drive on the road until you have turned 17 and have the provisional licence in your possession. You must bring your provisional licence with you on your first lesson. Please be aware of online copy cat sites as they will charge an administration fee on top of the actual cost – you should only go through the official DSA website.
The Highway Code is essential reading for everybody learning to drive. It contains all the rules and regulations that relate to driving in the UK. As a driver, it’s your duty to know these rules – if you don’t abide by them, you’ll be breaking the law and could end up being prosecuted and this could lead to you losing your licence.
Your driving theory test
Visit our theory test page to find out all the information on this and how to book your test.
Applying for your practical test
When your instructor thinks you are ready, you will need to apply to take your test at your local Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) test centre. You can do this online at the official DVSA website. Please be aware of online copy cat sites as they will charge a booking fee on top of the actual cost – you should only go through the official DVSA website.
The practical test
Before you do any driving you’ll be asked to perform an eyesight check and then be asked some vehicle safety questions (show and tell). You’ll then be tested on your general driving ability, including one reversing exercise and an independent drive. One in three tests will include an emergency stop.
The driving test will last about 40 minutes. Your examiner will be looking for evidence that you’ve reached an overall safe standard of driving, as you carry out both general and specific maneuvers. You can make up to 15 minor driving faults and still pass the test, however, if you commit just one serious or dangerous fault, you will fail.
You must bring the following items with you to the test. If you don’t the DSA may refuse to carry out the test and you may lose your fee.
- an appropriately insured and licensed vehicle, displaying L-plates, that’s suitable for the test – you can leave this one up to us!
- the appropriate theory test pass certificate.
- confirmation of your appointment with your booking reference number, test date and time.
- both parts of your photo card licence.
- If you have an old-style paper licence, you must take your signed driving licence and separate approved photo identification with you.
Applying for a full licence
Once you have passed you will need to notify the Driver and Vehicle licensing Agency (DVLA) and exchange your test pass certificate and provisional driving licence for a new full driving licence as soon as possible. This can be done by the examiner on passing the driving test.
Consider taking the Pass Plus course and reduce what you would expect to pay on insurance premiums visit our Pass Plus page for more info.
Here are a few useful links for further reading.
The Highway Code – The Highway Code website
DVLA – Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency
Think! – The Governments Road Safety website
Brake – The Road Safety Charity
RSOPA – The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents
Training with Begin Driving will get you motivated and mobile.