Learning to Drive

Getting Your Licence

With many rules and regulations to adhere to, things can sometimes seem a bit complicated and it’s easy to overlook what you need to do to ensure you’re not breaking the law when using the road. 

You must do several things before you drive a car or ride a motorcycle on the road. These include getting a driving licence, registering your vehicle and making sure it’s insured, taxed and has a valid MOT.  If you fail to do one or more of these things, you could face a fine, penalty points your licence (even on a provisional licence) and your vehicle could also be seized or crushed. 

Even if you have previously had a full driving licence in another country, if you only have a provisional licence in the UK you must pass a theory and practical test here before you can drive on your own. 

To learn to drive: 

  • You must be at least 17 years old. (16 if you receive disability living allowance at the higher rate)
  • You must hold a provisional licence for Great Britain or Northern Ireland (You can apply here)
  • You must be able to read a vehicle registration plate from 20 metres away (with glasses or contact lenses if you need them, which you must always wear when you drive)
  • You must make sure any vehicle you drive is roadworthy and properly taxed and insured for you to drive
  • You must display L plates on the front and rear of your vehicle where they can be clearly seen (you can display L or D plates in Wales)
  • You must be accompanied by a fully qualified driver who is over 21 and has held a full car driving licence for at least three years. Ideally we’d recommend you have lessons with an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) and practice with a family member or friend in between.

Starting to Learn

The ideal way to learn to drive is to have professional lessons with an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) and private practice with a family member or friend in-between. The extra time behind the wheel will allow you to practise and reinforce what you have been taught by your ADI.

Despite the cost involved, the aim should never be to pass the driving test as quickly as possible but instead use any additional practice time to gain as much experience as possible, in a wide range of conditions. This could actually save you money in the future because safer, more experienced drivers are far less likely to be involved in a collision.

Remember: Before booking your practical driving test you must prepare for and pass the theory test. Your driving instructor can help you with this and you can also find more information by clicking here.

Learning on the Motorway

Since 2018, learner drivers have been permitted to take driving lessons on motorways in England, Scotland and Wales. To drive on motorways learner drivers must be accompanied by a professional driving instructor (an ADI) in a dual controlled car that is displaying L plates or has a driving school rooftop box.

Motorway lessons are not compulsory and it is up to the driving instructor to decide when the learner driver is competent enough. Motorway driving is not currently part of the driving test.

Remember: You cannot undertake private practice on the motorway, this is only permitted with an Approved Driving Instructor.