Before You Start Driving

Get a good grip on all the key licence requirements

Before you start learning to drive a car, you must first ensure you have a valid provisional driving licence for Great Britain or Northern Ireland. You can apply for your provisional driving licence from three months before your 17th birthday. 

Once you turn 17, you will then be able to start learning to drive a car with your provisional licence. You will also be able to take your Theory Test any time after you reach the age of 17. 

> Apply for your provisional driving licence 

 

Learning in your own car or with a non-instructor driver?

It’s important you learn safe driving from the start of your driving practice, as bad habits can be hard to break. 

While you’ll likely receive most of your driving tuition through a qualified driving instructor, many people also clock additional driving hours through family or friends accompanying them. This can be a useful way to gain additional experience outside of lessons. 

If you do choose to practice with an accompanying driver, this driver must be at least 21 years old and have held (and still hold) a full valid driving licence for at least three years. You will also need to make sure any vehicle your drive while learning:

  • Displays ‘L’ plates (‘L’ or ‘D’ plates in Wales) in a visible position
  • Is roadworthy, fully insured, and properly taxed

 

Disability Living Allowance

If you receive disability living allowance at the higher rate, then your provisional licence will come into effect when you turn 16. You will be able to apply for your provisional licence within three months of your 16th birthday. 

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