Starting to drive

Starting to drive

Getting your provisional licenceBeing able to drive is a fantastic skill: it can give you the freedom to go where you want, when you want. Are you ready for the challenge of becoming a skilled driver?

Here’s a quick checklist to see if you can learn to drive a car

  • You must be 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’re driving).
  • You must make sure any vehicle you drive is roadworthy and properly taxed and insured.
  • Make sure you display L platesYou 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 years – we’d recommend you have most of your lessons with an approved driving instructor.

*16 if you receive disability living allowance at the higher rate

Good driving isn’t just about learning the rules of the road: your skill and your attitude as a driver are vital too, and you’ll keep learning and developing these over the years.

A good driver

  • is responsible for what they do while driving
  • concentrates on what they’re doing
  • anticipates what could happen around them
  • is patient with other road users
  • is confident about how to drive safely.

See the Driver Knowledge Centre for more information about being fit to drive.

Here are the steps you’ll need to take to start learning to drive. Choose the page you’re interested in or simply click on Next page below.