Learn To Drive
The Provisional Licence
You need to apply for and receive your provisional driving licence before starting to learn to drive. To apply for this, visit the DVLA. Or you can obtain the form D1 from your local Post Office. It takes about 3 weeks for your application to be processed and for your licence to be sent to you – so if you want to start learning as soon as you are 17, make sure you apply early. (You may apply 3 months before your 17th birthday).
The next step is to start your lessons – this is where we can help!! How many lessons will I need? This is a question we are often asked and a very difficult one to answer it can vary between as little as 20 hours (with lots of extra practice) and an average of 43 hours sometimes with extra practice sometimes without, very much depends on your personal ability.
The Theory Test
The Theory Test has two parts: the first is a multiple choice section consisting of 50 questions and you need to score a minimum of 43 to pass. The second part is a Hazard Perception test where you are shown fourteen video clips showing various hazards (one clip has two separate hazards) and you will score a maximum of 5 points for each hazard decreasing with the length of time it takes you to respond. The maximum score is 75 and the pass rate for learners must be at least 44. You will need to pass both parts to successfully complete your theory test. If you pass one part and fail the other, you will fail the whole test, and will have to take both parts again.
The theory test is taken on very simple easy to use computers. You can buy a 2 Pack CD Rom with all the theory questions on one disc and a disc with hazard perception clips to help you prepare. This is produced by the DVSA. Apps are now available for Smart phones and tablets.
The theory test is taken at a separate test centre to the practical driving test and must be passed before you can book a practical test.
You can book your Theory test through the www.direct.gov.uk/motoring website or by telephone on 0300 200 1122.
Your practical test can also be booked on 0300 200 1122 or at www.direct.gov.uk/motoring
The Practical Test
Before you do any driving you will be asked to perform an eyesight check and then be asked some vehicle safety questions. You will then be tested on your general driving ability, including one reversing exercises and maybe the emergency stop (only one in three pupils are asked to do this).
The ‘Driving’ part of your test will last approximately 40 minutes. Throughout the test your examiner will be looking for evidence you have reached a competent and safe standard of driving.
You can make up to 15 minor driving faults and still pass the test, but 16 or more minor faults results in a fail. However, if you commit just one serious or dangerous fault, you will fail the test.
You must bring the following items (below) with you to the test centre. If you don’t, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) may refuse to carry out the test and you may lose your fee.
- Provisional Licence photo card
- Theory Test certificate
It is a good idea to also bring your letter of confirmation regarding your test time and date in case there is a query.