Starting to drive
Being 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 (GOV.UK) (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.
- 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 3 years – we’d recommend you have most of your lessons with an approved driving instructor.
*16 years old if you get, or have applied for, the enhanced rate of the mobility component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
Learning to be a good driver
Good driving is not 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.
Here are the steps you’ll need to take to start learning to drive.
- Getting your provisional licence
- Finding a driving instructor
- Learning the rules of the road
- Theory test: preparation
- Theory test: booking and taking your test
- Practical driving test: preparing for and booking your test
- Taking your practical driving test
- What happens after you’ve passed your test?
- Choosing a car
- Further training.
You can also find out more about driver and rider testing by downloading this DVSA guide: Driver and rider testing brochure (PDF 2.41MB)