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How old do you need to be to learn to drive?
Learner drivers must be at least 17 years old to legally learn to drive. As well as being the legally required age, you must also own a valid provisional driver’s license before getting behind the wheel. You can apply for your provisional license once you are over the age of 16. The application process for a provisional driving license is relatively straightforward, however, you must meet the minimum eyesight requirement and have a valid UK passport or other acceptable forms of identification.
Who can teach you how to drive?
You can learn to drive with either a fully qualified approved driving instructor or an individual over 21 who has held their driving license for more than three years. Instructors who have passed the DVSA’s driving instructor training course are recognised as approved and we recommend practising with one of these instructors. Private driving lessons can help you grasp many of the basic concepts, however, to fully prepare and give yourself the best chance of passing your driving test, it’s advisable to book lessons with a professional instructor. If you are practising with a friend, family member or an individual who is not a registered driving instructor, it is illegal for them to accept payment from you.
What topics will you cover on the driving syllabus?
To ensure you develop into a responsible, mature and confident road user, learner drivers are required to cover the entire driving syllabus. The topics on the syllabus can be split into beginner, intermediate, and advanced and most new drivers start right at the beginning of the syllabus. Beginner topics are designed to help you get comfortable with the car’s controls and used to driving at low speeds. Intermediate topics will help you build your confidence by having you drive on a range of different road types, while advanced topics are focused on developing you into a safe, risk-averse driver. The full syllabus is listed in the table below.
List of topics on the driving syllabus
|Beginner Topics||Intermediate Topics||Advanced Topics|
|Cockpit Drill||Pedestrian Crossings||Mock Driving Test|
|POM Driving Routine||Roundabouts||Bay Parking|
|MSM Driving Routine||Dual Carriageways||Reversing|
|Coordination||Junctions||Turn in The Road|
|Emergency Stop||Hazard Perception||Parallel Parking|
|Crossroads||Clutch Control||Defensive Driving|
How long does it take to learn to drive?
On average it takes about 40 hours of training with a qualified driving instructor to reach test standard. However, depending on your driving course this could take either a few days or several months. An intensive driving course can have you at test standard within a week, while if you book weekly driving lessons, the process could take 4 to 5 months to complete. Your choice, of course, depends on your current schedule, available finance and how quickly you pick up the concepts you are taught.
Learner driver rules
A quick recap of the learner driver rules;
- You must be at least 17 years of age to learn to drive
- You must have a valid provisional drivers license
- You can learn to drive with either a fully qualified driving instructor or a an individual over the age of 21, who has held their driving license continuously for more than 3 years
- Learner drivers can now book motorway driving lessons with an approved driving instructor
- You must display a red L plate on your vehicle at all times
- You must be legally insured to drive the car
Useful information for learner drivers
Depending on where you are in the process, there are a few things that you either need to complete or be aware of and these include;
Manual vs automatic driving lessons
You can either learn to drive in a manual vehicle or an automatic one and there are pros and cons to each. The majority of lessons take place in a manual car and once you have passed in this vehicle, you can drive both types of vehicles. Automatic driving lessons tend to be easier than manual lessons, however, if you pass your test in an automatic car, you are not permitted to drive a manual vehicle with this particular license.
The theory test
Before you are allowed to book your practical driving test, you need to have first passed your theory test. If you are yet to pass this test and are currently studying for it, we have a set of practice theory questions that can help you and once you feel ready to take the test, you can find out how to book your theory test here.
Driving test tips
Once you have reached a good standard of driving and your instructor feels you are ready to take your test, you can further prepare using our driving test tips. This section of the website has a number of guides and training material to help you improve your knowledge, brush up on your skills and increase your chances of passing your driving test at the first attempt.