(Almost) all you need to Learn how to drive
We're going to be honest with you here - learning to drive isn't exactly a walk in the park. Well, you knew that already because it involves driving, not walking (we can never resist a dad joke). Okay, what we mean to say is that learning to drive can be tough. With a pass rate of just 46.9% in 2014 to 2015, it isn't unusual to fail your first test, but with focus and hard work you'll find yourself speeding expertly down the highway like a cast member of the Fast and the Furious, in no time.*
Here, we have (almost) all you need to learn how to drive...
*We highly recommend you drive safely, and most definitely not like you're in the Fast and the Furious.
Are you confident you could pass your driving test on the first go?
Firstly, you'll need to apply for a provisional licence, and you can actually get this pretty early on. A provisional licence can be obtained before the age of 17, but you won't be able to get behind the wheel until your 17th birthday. Apply for a provisional licence here.
What can you do with a provisional licence?
This licence allows you to travel on all UK roads, but not motorways. You must also be accompanied by a family member, friend or driving instructor who is over 21, qualified to drive the vehicle you're learning in, and who's held a full driving licence for at least three years.
The L Plate
Having two L Plates on display is vital whilst you are learning to drive. These must be visible from both the back and front of the vehicle. The images below illustrate where to place them.
Anyone who's learnt how to drive and received their licence will confirm the process can be pretty pricey. The lessons alone, which take an average of 45 hours in total, can cost over £1000. Add to that the price of study materials and exams, and you've got yourself a pretty hefty bill. Luckily for you, we've got some tips on how to cut down on cost.
Practice with a friend or family member
Receiving lessons from a family member or friend can significantly cut down on the costs of learning to drive, and can give you a good confidence boost before you take official lessons, but as mentioned above, remember to make sure that they are covered to teach you!
Study on the cheap
One thing you'll need to know to pass your test is the highway code, and guess what? This is available for FREE, yes FREE, on the government website right here. Practice tests are also available here. If there's anyone you know who has already passed their test, check with them if they have any books you can borrow. Second hand copies are also likely to be available online.
Choosing a crash course in driving can keep costs down, but this can be very intense as it usually involves driving 4-6 hours a day for around one to two weeks. It's best to discuss with your driving instructor whether this is the best option for you.
Avoid piggy backing
It's sneaky, but some driving instructors will insist on picking up their next student before your lesson is over, and so you'll end up finishing off your lesson with someone else sat in the back. You've paid for a full lesson and you deserve a full lesson to yourself, so if you find your instructor doing this, you have every right to bring it up with them.
Before you pass your practical test you'll need to pass your theory. This consists of two parts:
- Multiple choice section
- hazard perception
Both will be taken on the same day and you'll also find out if you've passed or failed that very day (eeek). If you have passed, you can then book your practical test (the driving part). The practical test takes around 40 minutes and consists of five parts:
- Eyesight test
- vehicle safety questions
- General driving ability
- Independent driving ability
The Driver & Vehicle Standard Agency has released the top 10 reasons people fail their driving tests, so make sure you're extra prepared and pay particular attention to these points!
After you pass
Once you've passed your test, you can apply for your full licence which should arrive within a few weeks. Keep in mind that any insurance you had as a learner driver is now obsolete, and you will need to get new cover. Young drivers and those who have just passed their test are considered 'high-risk', and so insurance may cost more. However, black box insurance is a good option; with this policy, a box is fitted in your car which monitors your driving, and by driving sensibly, your insurance could go down.
Compare black box policies here.