Before you learn to drive (practical and theory) you will need to apply for a provisional
driving licence. You can apply (upto 3 months before your birthday) for a provisional
licence to drive a car from the age of 17, (16 if you are receiving disability living
allowance at the higher rate) the application form (D1) is available from most Post
Offices. Send the form with the current fee, original documentation confirming your
identity, and a passport-sized colour photograph to DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1AD. You
can expect to receive your licence within 10/14 days.
If you did not order a copy of the Highway Code when you applied for your licence,
you can purchase a copy from most good book shops, or online. Further information
about driving licences is available on the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency)
website at www.dvla.gov.uk/drivers/drivers.htm
Choosing your Instructor
Choose an Instructor who has a good reputation and who is reliable and dependable.
Ask your family, friends, neighbours and colleagues if they can recommend an instructor.
If you are paying for lessons, make sure you choose an Approved Driving Instructor
(ADI) or Licensed Trainee because only they can legally give you driving lessons
for financial gain.
Trainee driving instructors are granted a trainee license so that they can gain teaching
experience before their final qualifying examination. Their certificate is PINK
Do not just choose the cheapest. Prices vary, so make sure you check the duration
of the lesson as well as the instructor's terms and conditions for giving lessons
and hiring out the car for the test.
How Many Lessons
The number of lessons you will need depends on how fast you learn. Your instruction
should match your rate of learning, a good instructor can do this.
Most new drivers need around 35 hours of professional driving lessons before they
reach test standard. Some will need more. Nerves play a big part in how some drive
on their test. It stands to reason, if you are better than test standard then even
if nerves do have any effect, you are still good enough to pass. The main reason
for failing a test is because candidates are not properly prepared, physically or
mentally, in other words, simply not ready.
The latest Driving Standards Agency (DSA) research established that "those who pass
their test have had about 45 hours of professional training, combined with 22 hours
of private practice. Candidates who combine professional instruction with private
practice are also more successful on the test"
Once you have passed your Practical Test you are recommended to take the Pass Plus
course, which will extend your driving experience further.
Pass Plus consists of a minimum 6 modules :-
- Town Driving
- Out of town driving and rural roads
- All-weather driving
- Night driving
- Dual carriageways
Once you have successfully completed the set of modules you will receive a certificate
that is recognised by many insurance companies. These companies will give you a discount
on your insurance, usually more than the cost of the course.
The above information is provided as general guidance only, and while it is believed
to be correct at the time of print, you should confirm its accuracy and whether any
special requirements apply in your case.