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How do I get my driving licence?
There are several stages to gaining your driving licence, first of all you need to apply for your provisional driving licence, pass a theory test (which includes a hazard perception test) and finally pass your practical driving test which includes an eyesight test, some basic car maintenance/safety questions, one driving manoeuvre, possibly an emergency stop and a twenty minute, sat nav lead independent drive. This page should help you understand what you need to do to complete all these successfully.
Apply for your provisional driving licence
Frankie passed her driving test first time with NO faults! Well done Frankie!
Firstly, you need to apply for your first provisional driving licence. You can apply for your car licence up to three months before you turn 17 so you have it in time to have a driving lesson on your 17th birthday if you wish! You must be a resident of Great Britain and meet the eyesight requirements (note that if you need to wear glasses or contact lenses to meet the requirements then you MUST wear them every time you drive or you could face prosecution!) Click on the above highlighted red link for more information or to apply for your driving licence. Fees can be found here.
You can start to revise for your theory test at any age, you don't have to wait for your licence to get started, the sooner the better! Some people learn the information beforehand so they can sit their theory test as early as their 17th birthday but you will need to have your provisional licence in order to book the test (another good reason to apply early)
The theory test currently consists of two parts, the multiple choice part and the hazard perception part, you must pass both sections to pass your theory test.
You have 57 minutes for the multiple choice part and the pass mark is 43 out of 50 questions. The hazard perception part consists of 14 video clips with developing hazards, you need to click when you spot the hazard, the earlier you respond to the developing hazard the more points you score with a maximum of 5 points for each hazard. The pass mark is 44 out of 75.
We can help you prepare for your theory test, just call or e-mail for details, we recommend that you revise until you are regularly passing mock tests before taking your theory test.
You can start practising driving as soon as you are seventeen and have your provisional licence, you don't have to pass your theory test before getting in the car, in fact driving will help you with your theory and vice versa. As long as you have the appropriate insurance on the car that you are driving, display L-plates on the front and back of the car, and have an accompanying driver who is over 21 and has held a full licence for at least three years, you can start practising. We would recommend that you have some professional driving lessons before you start to practice with family and friends, just so you're not learning any bad habits! We can also advise your accompanying driver on how to help you when you're driving and can provide take home sheets with written help for things like manoeuvres, just to make sure your private practise is as helpful and stress-free as possible!
The Practical Test
The practical driving test last approximately 40 minutes (a court ordered extended test will last approximately 70 minutes), you'll have to show your driving licence, don't forget it or the test won't go ahead and you'll lose your test fee! You will also have to pass an eyesight test, you need to be able to read a number plate at a distance of 20.5 metres, again don't forget your glasses or contact lenses if you need to wear them to be able to do this!
You'll be asked two vehicle safety questions, commonly known as the 'show me, tell me' questions. This is to show that you know how to check that your car is safe and legal on the roads and that everything is working properly. It will be your responsibility as a car driver to do these checks on your car, we will go through all the questions on your driving lessons and show you how to do the checks but there are three DSA videos below to get you started and give you more information. One of these questions wil be 'on the move' such as cleaning the windscreen whilst you are driving.
Next its time for the driving part of your test! Nearly there! Throughout the test, your examiner will be looking for an overall safe standard of driving but you don't have to be perfect, if you make a mistake, try and carry on, if its not a serious mistake it may not mean that you've failed. As long as you make 15 or fewer driving faults and no serious or dangerous faults you will pass your test. Try not to mark yourself, just concentrate on what you're doing and let the examiner do the marking! Don't stress if you see them write something down, they may only be ticking the box which shows which manoeuvre you've done!
The test route will take in a variety of road and traffic conditions, the examiner will give you directions and the test will include several stops including an angled start (pulling out from behind a parked vehicle) and possibly an emergency stop. There will also be one reversing manoeuvre chosen from a reverse park into a bay, parallel parking at the side of the road, pulling over on the right hand side of the road and reversing back two car lengths or driving forwards into a bay and then reversing safely out.
The test also includes 20 minutes of independent driving designed to assess your ability to drive safely while making decisions on your own, don't worry if you don't know the area too well, you will still be given directions to follow, either by the examiner giving you route directions or by a sat nav with a pre-set route on it provided by the examiner. If you are unsure of where to go then ask the examiner and if you realise too late you are going the wrong way then make sure you still drive safely, even if that means going in the wrong direction, the examiner will help you get back on track if this happens.
You will be given the result at the end of the test and the examiner will explain how you did during the test. If you are planning on taking your driving test with us, please contact us before booking your test so that we can supply you with a reference number so your test doesn't clash with any we already have booked.
Your driving test
Here is a useful video about what happens on your driving test. (including the new changes to the test being brought in on the 4th December 2017)
Show me/Tell me Questions
As a driver, you need to be able to look after your car and make sure that it is safe and legal to drive on the roads. On your practical driving test, you will be asked a couple of 'show me, tell me' questions. (from 4th December 2017 as part of the changes to the driving test, one of these questions will be asked on the move, for example cleaning your windscreen) These are designed to show the examiner that you know how to maintain your car and that you know what your legal obligations are. For example, many people don't know that it is a legal requirement to have windscreen wash (or at the very least water!) in your car, but imagine if your windscreen were to be sprayed with muddy water whilst driving and you didn't have means to clean it off quickly, it could easily result in a crash! Basic checks on your car are very important and could save lives.
On your driving lessons with us, we will go through all the questions you could be asked on your practical driving test and show you how to do all these important checks, but on the left are some videos from the driving and vehicle standards agency to get you started. Remember that controls can be different in other models of car so be sure to familiarise yourself with the controls of the car that you are driving and make sure that it fulfills all the legal requirements before driving on the roads.
Changes to the driving test
Here is a useful video about the changes to the driving test coming in on the 4th December 2017
To book your practical driving test make sure that you use the official Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency website. Be careful that you are on the proper government site as there are several scam sites offering 'unlimited tries', all of which have a catch that usually ends up costing you more! There is no booking fee on the website. If you are booking your test and taking your driving lessons with us, please contact us for our instructor number so the test doesn't clash with any we already have booked. Click the link above or the DVSA logo on the left to go to the test booking site.
To book your theory test watch out for the scam sites as described above, click the link or the DVSA logo to the left.