Getting a Licence
Applying for a Provisional License
The first step towards getting your full driving license it to get your provisional license. At the moment, this costs £50. You can either pick up the forms from your local Post Office, or apply online here.
The general requirements are that you:
- are a resident of Great Britain
- are 17 years of age (you can apply before your birthday)
- can meet the minimum eyesight requirement
- are currently not prevented from driving for any reason
- have a valid UK passport or another form of identity
- can provide proof of addresses of where you have lived over the last three years
Getting on the Road
Once your provisional arrives, you are legally allowed to drive a car on which you are insured under supervision. NOTE: Your supervisor must be at least 21 years old with no less than 3 years driving experience.
It is advisable to shop around to find not necessarily the best price, but the instructor you get on best with. Once you have found your instructor, arrange to have lessons weekly. These should be backed up with regular practice with a parent/relative/friend if possible. Practice really is the key to learning to drive.
The Driving Test
The assessment is in 2 parts - a theory test and a practical test. It is possible to take the theory test without instruction; many take it on their 17th birthday. The AA practice questions book is highly recommended.
When your instructor thinks you are ready, they will ask you to book a practical test. You will usually have to book quite far in advance. The practical test lasts around 30-40 minutes and will test you on general driving ability as well as 2 of the following 4 manoeuvres:
- Turn in the road
- Parallel park
- Reverse round a corner
- Bay park
The test is marked by a system of faults. There are a number of criteria on the test report with boxes for the examiner to tick a minor fault (e.g. driving in the wrong gear), a serious fault (e.g. lack of observation) and a dangerous fault (e.g. driving through a red light). You are allowed up to 15 minor faults to pass. One serious fault will cause you to fail and a dangerous fault will usually result in the premature termination of the test.
When the test is complete, you will be given your result. If you have failed, the report will be explained to you. It is advisable to have your instructor in the car at this point to listen to the examiners explanation. If you pass, the examiner will take your provisional license away and give you a pass certificate. Your full driving license will be sent to you in the post within a couple of weeks.