Preparing To Drive

Preparing to DriveTo learn to drive in a safe manner there is no substitute for professional tuition.

All of our cars have dual controls which means that should you get into a situation which you cannot control while you are learning, our instructors will be able to safely slow or stop the car.

To pass the practical driving test requires knowledge of very specific information which typically only qualified driving instructors are able to pass on to you.

Below we have listed some of the areas that have to be taken into account when learning to drive:

Your Eyesight

Even if you are unaware of any problems, you should still have your eyesight examined every 2 years. This medical examination can detect underlying health issues and changes in your vision.

Just before you start learning to drive is a good time to have an eyesight check, and it will also be useful to mention to your optician that you are about to start driving.

When you take your practical test, the examiner will require you to read a number plate at a distance of 20.5 metres (about 67 feet). If your optician recommends you wear glasses or contact lenses and you need these to read the number plate, you must wear them during your test and whenever you drive.

If you have had sight correction surgery you should declare this when you apply for your provisional licence.

The examiner will give you 3 chances to read a number plate and you can have the distance remeasured each time. If you fail to answer correctly your test will be terminated.

How To Obtain Your Provisional Licence

To be able to learn to drive on a public road you must hold a provisional licence suited to the vehicle you wish to drive. To obtain a provisional licence to drive a car (cat B) you must be 17 years old (16 if you claim higher rate disability allowance).

You can obtain an application form for a driving licence (form D1) from your local post office or by filling out a form online.

To accompany these forms you will also need to provide a colour passport size photograph with the signature of a professional person (a doctor for example) who has known you for at least 2 years on the back. They cannot be related to you. Also needed is some identification such as a passport or birth certificate (originals). These will be returned to you separately from your licence. All these items need to be posted to the relevant address in the envelope provided along with the correct fee in the form of a cheque or postal order.

Old Style Paper Provisional Licences are still valid up to your 70th birthday but when attending your theory and practical test you will need to take extra photo ID along with you. For example, your passport.

The Driving Theory Test

The theory test is made up of two parts taken via a computer at a theory test centre local to you. The first part is a multiple choice test. There are 50 questions asked (one at a time) and 43 of these must be answered correctly in order to pass this part of the test. You answer by just touching the screen over the correct answer.

You may return to any of the questions and change any answers you wish to in the 57 minute time scale you are allotted for this part of the theory test.

The Hazard Perception Test is the second part of the test and consists of 14 individual video clips, 13 clips contain one major developing hazard and one clip contains two. This part of the test is to assess your ability to see the hazardous situations and your response to these hazards. You identify them by clicking the mouse; the quicker you respond, the higher the mark. You must obtain a mark 44 out of a possible 75 to pass this part of the test.

You can see more detailed information about the theory and hazard perception tests here.

You take your theory test independently and can book online at the DSA Online Booking Service or phone 0300 200 1122. Have your licence number and credit card details with you. If you do not have a credit/debit card you can apply by post with an application formed obtained from your local theory or practical test centre.

The current Theory Test Fee is £23.00

You can study for your Theory Test online at Driving Theory 4 All

This site also offers a package deal where you can book your test and purchase a subscription at the same time.

The Practical Driving Test

Your practical driving test will start with an eyesight check and two vehicle safety questions. One is a ‘show me’ the other is ‘tell me’ question. More information on the questions can be found here.

You will then start your practical driving test which will include one manoeuvre and a section of independant driving consisting of following road signs or directions. You may also be asked to carry out an emergency stop.

The driving part of the practical test lasts for 40 minutes.

15 driving faults can be made (16 or more results in a fail). If you commit one or more serious or dangerous faults you will fail your test.

You can book online at the DSA Online Booking Service or phone 0300 200 1122.

The current Practical Test Fee is £62.