Applying For Your Provisional Driving Licence
Applying for your provisional driving licence could not be easier.
You can apply for a provisional driving licence when you are 15 years and 9 months old. You can normally start driving on your 17th birthday and your first lesson can be arranged for this date with J.C’s Driving School. It is essential you hold a valid UK provisional driving licence before starting your driving lessons.
You can apply online https://www.gov.uk/apply-first-provisional-driving-licence or by post by completing a D1 application form, which you can get from the DVLA form ordering service or from a Post Office.
Applications take approximately 10-14 working days to process.
Finding A Driving Instructor
There are well over 43,000 Approved Driving Instructors (ADIs) registered in the UK at one time. This represents a lot of choice for the potential customer. The first step would be to ask, friends and family for recommendations. It is better to seek advice after they have passed, as this is when they can comment on the complete service and not just after a few hours training.
General referrals for a large school are fine, but be sure to ask for the instructor by name. You are investing in the instructor not the driving school directly. Think about the service you are looking for and spend some time narrowing down a list of instructors and then make contact with the driving school or instructor directly and discuss what they can provide for you.
It is very useful to meet the instructor and see that they can provide the service you are looking for. You should not be tied into long term deals, and feel comfortable before committing long term. Check the finer details. Are all the lessons at the same price? Are you being charged per hour? Will you be dropping other people home or picking others up? (known as “piggy-backing”)
While you are learning, instructors should not be texting, drinking, talking on a mobile phone or smoking in the car as these activities are illegal and very unprofessional. Always make sure your instructor is a legal and fully qualified approved driving instructor (ADI). You can do this by checking they have a current in-date green badge in the window of their car.
Get Started Today
Here’s a quick checklist to see if you can learn to drive:
- Generally you must be at least 17 years old.
- You must hold a provisional licence for Great Britain or Northern Ireland.
- You must be able to read a new-style number plate from 20 metres away (with glasses or contact lenses if you need them, as long as you always wear them when you are driving).
- You must make sure any vehicle you drive is roadworthy, properly taxed and insured.
- Make sure you display L plates. You must display L plates on the front and rear of the vehicle where they can be clearly seen when you’re driving (L or D plates in Wales).
- You must be accompanied by a qualified driver who is over 21 and has held (still holds) a full car driving licence for at least three continuous years. We would recommend you have most of your lessons with an approved driving instructor (ADI).
What Else Should I Consider?
A driving instructor must pass a demanding three-part examination to qualify, and they have to reach and maintain the high standards required by the Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) to retain their licence to teach. This is the Standards Check.
Some instructors choose to gain experience by using a trainee licence (or pink badge). They are not approved driving instructors and have not completed all the qualifying exams, and may never do so.
Approved driving instructors will display a green badge in their window. It is essential you see this displayed otherwise you may be putting yourself at risk if the person providing lessons is not qualified.
Beware Of Illegal Driving Instructors!
If you think your instructor is working illegally then contact the DVSA registrar with as much information as possible especially if they are offering lessons at low prices or do not display a pink or green badge and keep their personal details hidden. For example they do not supply business cards. The chances then are they are working illegally and putting you and other road users at risk.
The Theory/Hazard Perception Tests
You must pass both tests in one sitting.
For the theory test, you will be asked to answer 50 multiple choice questions. You must answer 43 questions or more correctly in 57 minutes.
During the following hazard perception test, you are shown 14 video clips of various hazards. Click the mouse key for every hazard, and also every hazard which then develops further.
Candidates can score up to five marks on each hazard (one contains 10 points)as the test contains 15 score able hazards. The pass mark for this part of the test is 44 out of 75.
Your theory pass certificate is valid for 2 years. You must pass your practical test within this time, or you will need to retake the theory test.
The Practical Driving Test
At the start of the test, you should be able to read a number plate at 20.5 metres (67 feet) or 20 metres (65 feet) for number plates from 2001. The driving test will last approximately 35-45 minutes and you will drive on various types of roads and experience different traffic conditions.
You will be asked to carry out one set manouevre, one angle start and a hill start as well as pulling up and moving away from the side of the road. You may also be asked to perform a controlled stop/emergency stop. Learner drivers will also be tested on independent driving as part of the practical driving test (following the examiner’s satnav or following road signs)
Two questions are asked of the mechanical nature of the vehicle starting with the words ‘Show me or Tell me’.
An accumulation of more than 15 driving faults will result in a fail. One dangerous or serious fault will result in failure. A high standard is now expected of learner drivers and you must be fully prepared.