Being able to drive is one of the great freedoms so many of us crave. And even though there are in the region of 45 million drivers in the UK, you may yet be one of them. It can often seem like the process of getting your driving licence is daunting—but it doesn’t have to be. Despite the time (and cost) it can take, you can make it happen.
We’re now going to run through the key steps you need to take to be able to get your driving licence—right the way through from applying for it to passing your practical test.
Step One: Apply for Your Licence
Before you can get into a car to learn to drive, you must have your provisional licence. And although you can’t learn to drive a car until the age of 17, you can apply for your provisional licence any time after you are 15 and 9 months old.
You can apply for this licence on the government website using a form of ID like your passport, documenting your previous three years of addresses, and paying the fee. But you must also be able to read a licence plate from 20 meters away (your instructor will check this when you begin lessons too).
Step Two: Find the Right Driving Instructor
It can seem tempting to learn to drive with a friend or family member—but this could do more harm than good. Hiring a professional driving instructor is beneficial for many reasons. Firstly, they are trained on the manoeuvres that you need to be able to do, along with current driving standards and regulations. This ensures that you’re taught to the best possible standard.
Not only that, but instructors will have a purpose-built car with dual control. This means that they have a brake and clutch available to help you during lessons, should that be necessary. Finally, you need to ensure that you like the instructor. As you’ll spend approximately 40-45 hours together in training, this is important so that you enjoy your lessons.
Step Three: Begin Your Driving Lessons
Next, you can begin your lessons. Alongside the 40-45 hours of driving, you’ll need to have around 20 hours of practice time. But don’t be daunted by that—you may find that the time passes well. You can also consider taking intensive driving lessons that can help you to pass your test in the shortest time possible. To begin, all you need is your provisional driving licence and the right mindset!
Step Four: Taking Your Theory Test
As you’re learning to drive, you’ll need to pass your theory driving test. You’ll need to have studied the Highway Code for this and it can be booked online or over the phone. The test is mainly comprised of multiple-choice questions followed by the hazard perception section. You can practice this online for free or via paid services too.
Step Five: Taking the Practical Test
Finally, once you have surpassed your 40-45 hours of lessons and practical experience and you have passed the theory test (and your instructor believes that you are ready), you are then able to take your practical driving test too. This can be booked online using your driving licence and your driving instructor’s personal reference number. It’s important to choose a time and date that suits you and which will have allowed time for complete mastery of the driving syllabus.
Before your test, try to remain calm and positive. It will take around 40 minutes and all you need to bring with you is your provisional licence and theory pass certificate. During the test, you can make up to 15 minor faults but if you make one major, you’d fail the test.
But don’t worry, you can always rebook your test after 10 days if you do fail and want to try again.