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Ready to learn to drive? A step-by-step guide for all aspiring learner drivers – Fast Pass Driving Courses

Published: 2023-11-29

You normally need to be 17 to learn to drive a car in the UK. However, there are a couple of exceptions, which many may not know about. In England and Wales, you can learn to drive a car and take a test when you’re 16, under the following conditions:

  • You get the ‘mobility part’ of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) at the higher rate or:
  • You get the ‘mobility component’ at the higher rate of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for children and have applied for PIP – you must be receiving DLA before you turn 16 to be eligible. 

In Scotland, the rules are a little different. For full detailed information, you can follow this link: https://www.gov.uk/learn-to-drive-a-car.

So what should you do first? Well, before you can book those all important driving lessons, you need a provisional driving licence. In order to apply for your licence, you must be at least 15 years and 9 months old, be able to read a number plate from 20 metres away (it’s ok if you wear corrective lenses for this) and have been given permission to live in Great Britain for at least 185 days. Currently the cost of applying online is £34.00 – https://apply-provisional-driving-licence.service.gov.uk. If you prefer to go ‘old school’, you can apply by post by completing a D1 form – ‘Application for a driving licence’. This is available from most Post Offices or from the DVLA form ordering service – https://www.gov.uk/dvlaforms.

Generally, when you apply for your provisional driving licence online, it takes around 1-2 weeks to arrive. Of course, we’d recommend applying for the licence as early as possible. 

So, you’ve got your licence, you’ve checked your eligibility to drive and you’re ready to go. What next? 

Most learner drivers choose to learn to drive with a DVSA Approved Driving Instructor – also known as an ADI. Most driving instructors do love a good TLA (a Three Letter Acronym!). You might find a driving instructor by asking friends and family for recommendations, or you can search for your nearest ADI by using the facility on the gov.uk website – https://www.gov.uk/find-driving-schools-and-lessons.

You’ll need to pass the driving theory test before you can book your practical driving test. The Highway Code will be a good starting point for your revision. The multiple choice questions in the theory test are based on 3 books – The Highway Code, Know your traffic signs, and Driving – the essential skills. You can buy these books from most high street stores, or online book shops. To test your theory skills, the DVSA offers the opportunity to take a practice test: https://www.gov.uk/take-practice-theory-test.

The cost of the theory test is currently £23.00 and can be easily booked online at https://www.gov.uk/book-theory-test.

Whilst there are some books and software which have been translated into other languages, you can currently only take the test in English, Welsh or British Sign Language.

Once you’ve passed your theory test, the pass certificate is valid for 2 years. If you don’t pass your practical driving test within this time frame, you must resit the theory test.

Driving lessons sorted, theory test passed? So it’s time to book your practical driving test. Whether you learn to drive in a manual or an automatic vehicle, the driving test is booked in the same way. The current cost for the test is £62.00. Or if you choose a weekend date, or a test on a Bank Holiday, the cost is a little extra – currently £75.00 – https://www.gov.uk/book-driving-test. If you should experience any difficulties when booking your practical driving test, you can call the DVSA on 0300 200 1122 – they are available Monday to Friday from 8am to 4pm. Lines are often busy though, so be prepared for a wait!

How many lessons will you need? Most learner drivers take around 30-40 hours of driving tuition before they pass a driving test. This is often combined with private practice with family or friends. Remember, the more lessons you do, the better driver you will become! There is no legal minimum number of lessons you must have before taking your driving test and of course, how many lessons you’ll need will depend on how quickly you learn. Fast Pass Driving Courses specialise in intensive driving courses, so why not take a look at the range of courses available to all learner drivers across the UK. Happy driving!

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