Vital driving information - right here!
The process of learning to drive and filling in all your paperwork can be very straightforward if you know where to go for your information - which is why we’ve created this page, which contains plenty of useful facts about obtaining your provisional licence, starting your driving lessons, applying for and passing your test. We've also included links to websites for applying for your licence and test, as well as for acquiring good driving techniques.
Obtaining a provisional licence
Before you can start learning to drive, you need a provisional driving licence. To apply for it, you must complete the application form D1 that's available from either the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) form-ordering service - or from your local Post Office. Alternatively you can now apply for a provisional licence online. Visit www.direct.gov.uk and follow the directions. It takes about 4 weeks for your application to be processed and for your licence to be sent to you - so if you want to start learning to drive as soon as you hit 17, make sure you apply early!
The theory test is made up of two parts; a multiple choice section and a hazard perception test. When you take your theory test, the multiple choice section is delivered using a touch-screen computer and mouse, while the hazard perception test records your responses through the use of a computer mouse button. You'll need to pass both parts to successfully complete your theory test. If you pass one part and fail the other, you'll fail the whole test, and will have to take both parts again.
You can book your theory test through the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) website or your Go instructor can arrange it for you.
When you take your practical test, but before you do any driving, you'll be asked to perform an eyesight check and then be asked two vehicle show me tell me questions. Your Go instructor will ensure you know these questions well in advance of the test. You'll then be tested on your general driving ability, including one reverse exercise. The practical driving part of your test will last about 40 minutes. Throughout the test, your examiner will be looking for evidence that you've reached an overall safe standard of driving, as you carry out both general and specific manoeuvres. You can make up to 15 minor driving faults and still pass the test, but 16 or more minor faults results in a fail. However, if you commit just one serious or dangerous fault, you'll fail the test automatically.
You can book your practical test through the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) website or your Go instructor can arrange it for you. Your Go instructor will advise you when you should apply for your test, taking into account the waiting time at your local DSA test centre.
Bring the right documentation!
You must bring the following items with you to the test. If you don't, the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) may refuse to carry out the test and you may lose your fee;
• The appropriate theory test pass certificate
• Your appointment letter confirming your test time and date
• Bring your photo card licence. If you don't your test will not take place and you'll lose your fee
• If you have an old-style paper licence, you must take your signed
driving licence and separate approved photo identification with you.
DVLA: Apply for your Driving Licence.
DSA: Book your theory test online
DSA: Book your practical test online
Vehicle Safety Questions: The DSA list of practical test questions to help you revise
The Highway Code: For information on the Highway Code.
Driving Test Centres: The DSA list of test centres across the country.
Pass Plus: Training course aimed at new drivers.
Think!: The Governments Road Safety Website.
Brake: The Road Safety Charity.
RoSPA: The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.