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 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 for you to drive it.
- 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 British car driving licence for at least 3 years – we’d strongly recommend you have most of your lessons with an approved driving instructor.
- You should remember that you are subject to the same rules as everyone else: if you are driving the car, you are the responsible person and subject to fines, penalty points and possibly imprisonment, even though you only have a provisional licence.
*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 and considerate with other road users, especially those who are more vulnerable
- is confident about how to drive safely
- reflects on and learns from their experiences so they keep improving.
This last point is really important for your lifetime of safe, confident and enjoyable driving. You need to understand yourself as a driver and develop techniques to address your personal risks. The Official DVSA Guide to Better Driving can help you with this.
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.