Everything you need to know before starting driving lessons:
In order to start driving lessons in the UK you’ll need a provisional licence, which proves that you are eligible to become a learner. You can apply for this as early as 6 months before your 17th birthday from the gov.uk site
If you already have a driving licence from another country you may be allowed to swap your existing licence for an English one, but you will need to check before driving. To find out if this is the case, click here
YOUR FIRST LESSON
When you go for your first lesson you’ll need to bring your provisional licence or existing international licence to show your instructor. Other than that you won’t need to bring anything special. You will have arranged a pick up point with your instructor over the phone, so just look out for the Atlas car and say hello!
TAKING YOUR THEORY TEST
Before you can take your practical exam you will need to have passed your theory test. The theory test consists of 50 questions and a hazard perception test – you will need to answer a minimum of 43 questions correctly on the test, as well as achieve a score of 44 out of 75 on the hazard perception section. The tests are sat together at your local theory test centre. They cost £23 and can be booked here
Some people take their theory test before they even get behind the wheel but it’s often easier if you’ve already started learning to drive as it puts the questions and scenarios into context.
Once you’ve passed your theory test you have 2 years to pass your practical exam. If you haven’t passed within 2 years you will need to retake your theory.
THE PRACTICAL EXAM
When it comes to booking your practical exam it’s important that you listen to your instructor’s advice. Although they will want to get you through the test as quickly as possible they will never recommend going for it until they believe you have a good chance of passing. Basically, if your instructor thinks you aren’t ready to take your test then you will probably be wasting your money by booking it!
Speaking of booking, that can be done here and costs £62. The average waiting time for a test date is 4-6 weeks but you can put your name down for a cancellation if you’d like one sooner.
The test lasts 38-40 minutes and you can choose to have your instructor in the back if you wish, although some people find a full carload a little distracting! Your examiner will tell you your result at the end of the test. To pass you will need to have committed no ‘serious’ faults, no ‘dangerous’ faults and no more than 15 ‘minor’ faults. Your instructor will explain more about these as you learn.
ONCE YOU’VE PASSED
Remember that to get out on the road you will need to tax and insure your car. Ask your instructor for recommendations and don’t be afraid to shop around.
Your insurance may be significantly lower if you take a further driving qualification such as the Pass Plus course. The course allows you to experience scenarios that you may not have encountered during your lessons. It costs £140 and lasts 6 hours (which can be done over several sessions if you wish) – you can find out more about Pass Plus here
HAVE WE COVERED EVERYTHING?
Well probably not, as there’s a lot to cover! However, our experienced instructors are always happy to chat if you have any more questions so just give us a call if you’re unsure – we look forward to hearing from you.