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Common Questions About Learning to Drive in 2021

We’ve put together a list of the most common questions that learners and parents may ask when in the process of starting to learn to drive. Article updated on 16/03/21 by Matthew Durrant, instructor and school owner at Go2 Driving School.

How Old Do I Need To Be Before I Can Start Learning?

You need to be 17 years old before you can take lessons on a public road with a qualified instructor unless you are receiving a disability living allowance or PIP. In this case you can start learning in an an adapted vehicle from 16 years old.

How Do I Apply For My First Provisional Licence?

You can apply for a provisional licence at the gov.uk website. You need to be at least 16 years and 9 months old. You must be able to read a new style number plate (after 01/09/01) from 20 meters. The licence normally takes around a week to arrive and costs £34.

What If I wear Glasses? I’m also Colour-blind?

Tell the DVLA when applying for your provisional about any problems with your eyes as this will be noted on your licence. It doesn’t include being colorblind or long and short sited. Check if you need to tell the DVLA about your eyesight problem by searching the A to Z of medical conditions that could affect your driving.

How Long Does It Take to Pass the Test?

How long is a piece of string? There’s no required minimum in terms of lessons or hours. On average it usually takes anywhere from 30 hours upwards. It depends on many things like, how much practice, how often, ability to learn new skills, commitment, finance… the list goes on but you get the point, it’s very unique to each individual.

Do I need to Pass My Theory Before Learning to Drive?

No you don’t but you can’t book your practical test until you’ve passed your theory so it’s advisable that you start early, perhaps even before you even take your first lesson. You can take your theory test on your 17th birthday for example.

Find all of our recommended revision material here.

How Much are the Tests?

  • Theory test £23
  • practical driving test £62

Can I Practice Driving in My Own Car?

It’s not compulsory to learn with an instructor. You can learn in your own car with friends or family as long as you have the correct learner driver insurance and that the person who sits in with you meets the legal requirements.

Get a quote from recommended insurers.

What Car Do I Take The Test in?

If learning with an instructor then you’d use that car. Note that you still pay the instructor for their time as well as the DVSA’s £62 test fee. The car you use does not have to be dual controlled so as long as the car meets the DVSA’s legal requirements for cars that can be used on test.

What Shall I Bring to My First Lesson?

You need to bring your provisional driving licence and any glasses or contact lenses worn. Some driving schools may send you a welcome pack. Make sure you read this through carefully as It may be the best answer to this question.

What Should I Expect From My First Driving Lesson?

Your instructor will normally pick you up at an agreed location before checking your eyesight and your provisional driving licence. Expect for your instructor to drive to a quiet area to eliminate busy traffic before asking if you’re ready to swap over and take the drivers seat.

Expect to cover how to set the car up properly for driving (cockpit drill),  the cars hand and foot controls, practice clutch control,  some gear changes and maybe some junctions if you’re really good!

Learn Manual or Automatic?

It’s simple, if you don’t like the idea of learning gears and clutch control then choose to learn in an automatic car. If you pass your test in a manual car you can drive both on your licence. If you pass in an automatic car, you can only drive automatic vehicles on your licence so this should be considered carefully.

How Will I Know If I’m Ready For My Test?

You can download and use the driver’s record for learner drivers from gov.uk to give you an idea of the driving syllabus. This will help you to know what you haven’t yet covered. A good instructor usually means good communication, involving learners in regular conversations about their eventual test.

Someone learning to drive should be able to deal and cope with challenging driving situations and scenarios independently before taking a test. The test will look for a minimum stand of driving for 40 minutes with no serious or dangerous faults. It is not looking for a perfect driver.

Sometimes a mock driving test is carried out by instructors to establish whether a learner should sit a test or not.

What If I Fail My Driving Test?

It’s crucial you take the test only when you know you are going to pass. Otherwise it’ll be a very expensive day out. You’ll have to book another test and pay £62 again. You have to choose a date at least 10 working days away. Cancellation finding services can be a great way of bring the test date forward if you have a deadline.

Find driving test cancellations near me now

People learn to drive in different ways and at very different speeds.

Instructors teach in different ways and all have unique qualities.

The best starting point is finding out what your personal requirements are and fine tuning your search from there…