Learning to drive can be a daunting process for anyone of any age. If you’re struggling with how to go about learning to drive, have no fear! We’ve made you a handy guide for when it comes to purchasing your provisional driving license, finding a driving school or instructor, and eventually passing your test.
Contacting the DVLA for a provisional license
The green provisional license allows you to learn to drive in the UK. Once you have passed both your theory and practical tests, you can then send it off for a pink license. To obtain your green license, you must do so from the DVLA government website. You can find the government site for purchasing your provisional license by searching on google. Be careful when doing so however, as there are a lot of sham sites offering the same service for a lot more money. You should never pay more than £34 for a provisional car license on a website claiming to be the DVLA. A way to spot sham DVLA sites is that they will not have .gov in their url.
Before applying for your provisional license on the DVLA site, you must have a few things handy. You must be a resident of Great Britain. This includes England and Wales, there is another site for applicants of Northern Island, you will be redirected if you are. You must make sure you have a valid passport, your National Insurance number, and your address-which you must have lived at for 3 years. You must also be 17 years old or older. If you’re applying for a moped or motorbike license you must be 16 years or older.
It usually takes a week or so for your license to be processed and sent out to you. If you’re waiting longer than this, you can track the progress of your license online. All you need is your government gateway username and password. If you’ve forgotten your password there is a link you can click to reset it. By applying online for a provisional license, you’re agreeing to the DVLA sharing your information with the DWP and HMRC to confirm your identity.
You can also apply for your provisional license by post. This is done by filling out a D1 form, available from the DVLA ordering service or the post office. You will need to enclose the form along with original documents confirming your identity. You will also have to enclose a colour photograph and a cheque for £43. Unfortunately you cannot send money as this will not be accepted.
Looking for a good Driving School or Instructor
When searching for a good instructor or driving school, don’t settle straight away. A good instructor will have a large pass rate and great reviews or testimonials on their website. An instructor with a Grade 4 or higher is usually a great instructor. Driving instructors are marked annually in a Standards Test, and the highest mark an instructor can achieve is an A/6. If you come across an instructor who is very cheap, consider why their prices are so low. It could be because they have a low Standards Test rating, or a low recommendation rate – perhaps they have a low pass rate? The only thing an instructor can charge more money for is for a premium car, such as a BMW. The age of a car should not influence prices, and are perfectly fine to drive, as long as they’re safe and have their MOT.
If in doubt, the government have a list of local driving schools and instructors, which you can find by putting in your postcode. And always remember that recommendation is always the best way to find a great instructor
Finally learning to Drive
One you’ve found the instructor for you, you can finally get out on the road! Your instructor will show you everything. You will learn about the ins and outs of the car – how to pop the hood, and monitor the water levels, for example. Your instructor will also teach you all the maneuvers that you may be tested on during your practical test. To get your pink license, you must first pass both your theory and practical tests.
Your theory test will comprise of two parts. Your theory and your hazard perception. Your theory test consists of 50 questions regarding driving and road safety, you can find practice tests online and in a variety of revision tools in books and dvds. Your hazard perception test consists of you watching a POV clip of someone driving. You must assess the road in front of the driver and click when you see any potential hazard. If you pass both parts of your theory test, you will receive your certificate, and then you’ll be able to focus on your practical test. An example and tips on how to ace the hazard perception test can be found below:
Your practical test consists of 2 maneuvers such as a turn in the road or reversing into a bay, and 10 minutes of unassisted driving. You may also be asked to show your invigilator something on the car and what it does for the vehicle. If you do not pass first time, don’t worry. You can reapply as many times as you wish.
Both your theory and your practical tests can be booked by your driving instructor or by yourself.
Once you’ve passed
Once you’ve passed your tests you’ll be a qualified driver! You can then buy yourself a car and drive freely. If you’re a nervous driver, you can take a pass plus test, which tests your motorway driving (as you can’t drive on a motorway before passing). A qualification in pass plus can also lower your insurance premiums on your car.