Are you old enough?
You have to be 17 years old to drive a car in the United Kingdom. If you’re not quite there yet and are impatient to take to the road, consider a moped.
Have you got your provisional licence?
You can apply for your provisional licence three months before your 17th birthday. If you’re disabled and receiving mobility allowance, you may apply as soon as you turn 16. Applying for your provisional licence online is the quickest way of doing it.
If you have your provisional licence, you can legally drive on public roads in the UK as soon as you turn 17. You’re free to practise on private land at any age, but make sure that you have permission from the landowner and that the site is securely gated and set away from public highways.
How’s your vision?
You won’t be allowed to ever sit your practical test if you can’t read a car’s number plate in daylight from 20.5 metres away. You can wear glasses or contact lenses while driving.
Are you insured?
If you’ll be having lessons with your parents as well as with a qualified driving instructor, make sure you’re insured on the family car. Your parents/guardians should be able to add you as a named driver to their policy relatively easily.
Stick your L-plates on
When learning to drive, you need to have L-plates clearly displayed on the front and back of your vehicle. (Interesting sidetone: In Wales, they use D-plates, not L-plates.) To be legally valid, your L-plates need to be a very specific size, so it’s not recommended to try and make your own.
L-plates should be clearly displayed in a vertical position; one on the front and one on the back of the vehicle.
Find an instructor
If you intend to learn the basics with a friend or family member as your supervising driver, make sure they meet the following criteria:
- Are at least 21 years old.
- Has a full driving licence.
- Has held that full licence for at least three years.
- Meets the requirements for eyesight.
- Eventually, you’ll want to do more than slowly circle a car park with a relative. This is when it’s time to pick a qualified driving instructor. Luckily for you, we can help you with that!
Get on the road!
Once you’ve found an instructor, all that’s left to do is concentrate on learning to drive. Before you know it, it’ll be time for your test!
Image via akarmy@Flickr