We recommend applying for a provisional licence as soon as possible as you will need this before you start learning to drive. You will need to complete the DVLA’s D1 application form, either via their website or at your local post office.
If you'd prefer to apply online, you can do so on the Gov.uk website
You can apply for your provisional driving licence up to three months before your 17th birthday although you cannot drive on the road until you have turned 17 and you have the provisional licence in your possession.
Before applying for a driving licence make sure you:
- Are a resident of the UK
- Can meet the minimum age requirement
- Can meet the minimum eyesight requirement
- Are currently not prevented from driving for any reason
- Have a valid UK passport or another form of identity
- Can provide addresses of where you have lived over the last three years
The DVLA will aim to send your driving licence within ten working days of you submitting your application. In the meantime, you can of course brush up on your Highway code and the various driving laws before taking your driving theory test
Full Driving Licence
Once you've passed your practical driving test you can apply for a full driving licence and get out on the road!
Once you’ve obtained your provisional licence, you will need to start thinking about taking your theory driving test. The DSA theory test consists of a multiple choice section and a hazard perception test.
You will need to be successful in both parts in order to pass overall, so we suggest getting the recommended reading under your belt and attempting as many mock theory tests as possible to familiarise yourself with the structure of the programme.
The multiple choice section is presented with a touch screen computer. You will be expected to answer a total of 50 questions; answering at least 43 correct in order to pass. With the hazard perception test, your responses are recorded through the use of a computer mouse button. You must click as early as possible when you see a developing hazard with a maximum score of 5 per hazard. There are a total of 15 developing hazards giving a possible total of 75. You must score at least 44 in order to pass this part of the test.
If you fail one part of the test, you will have to retake both parts.
Practice does indeed make perfect!
To ensure you fine-tune your knowledge and cram in as much practice as possible, Direct Gov provides a great online service where you can undergo practice driving theory tests to assess your knowledge and build up your understanding of the three key elements.
You can also preview the Highway Code on the Direct Gov website and order the recommended reading materials including ‘Know Your Traffic Signs’ and the ‘Essential Skills’ series of books. This information and experience will prove invaluable leading up to your practical driving test
According to the DSA, “Those who pass their driving test have had, on average, about 45 hours of professional training combined with 22 hours of private practice.” This reinforces the importance of preparation and practice before embarking on your driving practical test.
There are numerous driving practical test tips and advice that will help you leading up to the big day; however the key things to remember are what your examiner will be looking out for. For example, they will be observing an overall high and safe standard of driving, particularly when executing certain manoeuvres and exercises.
As well as this, your practical driving test will commence with an eyesight check and some key vehicle safety questions. You should be familiar with the vehicle manufacturer’s handbook beforehand in order to ensure you can answer this ‘Show me, tell me’ part of the test. You will also need a clear and coherent understanding of the Highway code and the elements covered in your driving theory test
The driving part of your test will last about 40 minutes, and if you are planning on using your own car, we recommend you check the test vehicle requirements on the Direct Gov website prior to your test. Some vehicles can’t be used for safety reasons, which could result in you losing your test fee.
From the 4 October 2010, an ‘Independent driving’ section will be introduced to the practical driving test in the UK. This means that at any point during your test your examiner will request that you drive to a specific destination; either by following a sequence of directions, road signs; or both, for approximately ten minutes.
However; don’t start panicking just yet! Your examiner may offer you a diagram/map to highlight your route, but it’s not essential you follow these exact directions, just as long as you arrive safely and roughly within the allocated time.
For further advice and tips on the DSA’s driving practical test or you’d like to book your test today, please visit www.gov.uk
. Good luck from everyone at Adams Family Driver Training.
Book your driving lessons with Adams Family Driver Training and you can enjoy:
- Driving tuition for either a full one or two hours
- Pass Plus
- Intensive driving lessons
- Help with theory training
- Friendly instructor who won’t keep you waiting,
- Additional discounts for block booking
- Acclimatisation lessons for international or foreign licence holders
- International licence holder training
For those who live in England, Scotland or Wales, the DSA's Highway Code applies to you. The Official Highway Code, which was revised in 2007, should be read and adhered to by all road users.
However, these laws apply to pedestrians just as much as they do to drivers and cyclists. The code aims to protect the more susceptible roads users, such as children, the elderly and horse riders.
Many people don't know that a vast majority of the rules within the code are in fact legal specifications and to break them constitutes a criminal offence. It's also worth noting that the Highway Code can be used as evidence in court proceedings under the Traffic Acts and various driving laws
Know your code!
It’s essential that you’re familiar with the code’s many rules. This understanding will help everyone when preparing for a driving theory test
and practical driving test
, as well as collectively reducing road accidents and casualties.
The DSA has a host of invaluable information and tips online relating to The Highway Code, including ‘The Official DSA Guide to Driving - the essential skills’ and ‘The Official DSA Guide to riding - the essential skills’ – material that all new drivers should have at home. Here are some key elements and tips from the code:
- Be prepared to stop at traffic control systems, road works, pedestrian crossings or traffic lights as necessary.
- Try to anticipate what pedestrians and cyclists might do. If pedestrians, particularly children, are looking the other way, they may step out into the road without seeing you.
- Slow down and hold back if a road user pulls out into your path at a junction. Allow them to get clear. Do not over-react by driving too close behind to intimidate them.
- Do not treat speed limits as a target. It is often not appropriate or safe to drive at the maximum speed limit.
- Do not play loud music while driving (this may mask other sounds).
- Avoid inserting a cassette or CD or tuning a radio while driving.
For further information on the Highway Code visit www..gov.uk
There are too many British driving laws to comprehensively list here. However, we would recommend visiting the DSA’s website or reading The Highway Code
to familiarise yourself fully with each driving law.
These driving laws correspond to all roads that exist in the UK, and within them a ‘road’ is defined as: ‘Any highway and any other road to which the public has access and includes bridges over which a road passes’.
Many people don’t know that the law’s interpretation of a ‘road’ also includes cycle and footpaths, as well as bridleways and car parks.
Take notice of the laws!
Again this explains the profusion of laws today, with many sub-acts that apply to specific public places. A number of the more serious laws, such as drinking and drug-driving related offences, can also apply to public places. For example, drink-driving in a car park is illegal and could result in points on your licence, a fine, a driving ban and possibly even imprisonment.
As we said, there are just too many laws to highlight and we wouldn’t want to ‘skim the surface’ or dismiss any of them. Adams Family Driver Training feels very strongly that people should learn to drive in a way that ensures they become safe drivers for life, which is why it’s so important you’re familiar with the driving laws before applying for your driving theory test
, practical driving test
, and eventually your full driving licence
How many hours will it take?
According to the latest Government survey
people learning to drive in the UK buy on average 52 hours of professional driving lessons and take on average 14 months to pass the driving test. From this you will appreciate it can easily cost you over a £1,000 to learn to drive and take over a year to pass the test
You will be asked two of the following questions at the beginning of your driving test.
Failure to answer one or both questions correctly with result in a single minor fault being marked.
If you have any questions, please ask your instructor for clarification.
1. Open the bonnet, identify where you would check the engine oil level and tell me how you would check that the engine has sufficient oil.
Identify dipstick / oil level indicator, describe how to check oil level against the minimum and maximum markers.
2. Open the bonnet, identify where you would check the engine coolant level and tell me how you would check that the engine has the correct level.
Identify high and low level markings on header tank (where fitted) or radiator filler cap, and describe how to top up to correct level.
3. Open the bonnet, identify where the brake fluid reservoir is and tell me how you would check that you have a safe level of hydraulic brake fluid.
Identify brake fluid reservoir, check level against high and low markings.
4. Identify where the windscreen washer reservoir is and tell me how you would check the windscreen washer level.
Identify windscreen washer reservoir and explain how to check level.
5. Tell me how you would check that the headlights & tail lights are working.
Operate headlights switch (turn on ignition if necessary) and walk around the vehicle.
6. Show me / explain how you would check that the power assisted steering is working before starting a journey.
If the steering becomes heavy the system may not be working properly. Before starting a journey two simple checks can be made. Gentle pressure on the steering wheel, maintained while the engine is started, should result in a slight but noticeable movement as the system begins to operate. Alternatively, turning the steering wheel just after moving off will give an immediate indication that the power assistance is functioning.
7. Show me how you would check the parking brake for excessive wear.
Apply footbrake firmly. Demonstrate by applying parking brake that when it is fully applied it secures itself, and is not at the end of the working travel.
8. Show me how you would check that the horn is working (off road only).
Check is carried out by using the horn control (turn on ignition if necessary).
9. Show me how you would check that the direction indicators are working.
Apply the hazard warning switch and walk around the vehicle, checking all indicators.
10. Tell me how you would check the tyres to ensure that they have sufficient tread depth and that their general condition is safe to use on the road.
Sides of tyres should have no cuts or bulges. There should be a minimum of 1.6mm of tread depth across the central ¾ of the breadth of the tyre and around the entire outer circumference.
11. Show me how you would check that the brake lights are working on this car.
Operate brake pedal and make use of reflections in windows, garage doors, etc. Alternatively, ask someone to help.
12. Tell me how you would check the brakes are working before starting a journey.
Brakes should not feel spongy or slack. Brakes should be tested as you set off. Vehicle should not pull to one side.
13. Tell me where you would find the information for the recommended tyre pressures for this car and how tyre pressures should be checked.
Recommended pressures can be found in the manufacturer's guide. Use a reliable pressure gauge. Check and adjust pressures when tyres are cold. Don't forget to check the spare tyre. Remember to refit valve caps.
14. Tell me how you would know if there was a problem with your anti-lock braking system.
A warning light will illuminate if there is a fault with the anti lock braking system.
15. Show me how you switch your headlight from dipped to main beam and explain how you would know the main beam is on whilst inside the car.
Operate headlight switch then main beam switch (with ignition or engine on if necessary). Check main beam warning light is on.
16. Show me how you would switch on the rear fog light(s) and explain when you would use it/them.
Operate fog light switch (turn on ignition and dipped headlights if necessary). Check warning light is on. Explain use.
17. Show me how you would clean the windscreen using the windscreen washer and wipers.
Operate control to wash and wipe windscreen (turn ignition on if necessary).
18. Tell me me how you make sure your head restraint is correctly adjusted so it provides the best protection in the event of a crash.
The head restraint should be adjusted so the rigid part of the head restraint is at least as high as the eye or top of the ears, and as close to the back of head as possible.
19. Show me how you would set the demister controls to clear all the windows effectively. This should include the front and rear screens.
Set all relevant controls including: fan, temperature, air direction/source and heated screen to clear windscreen and windows.