What is a Driving Licence?
Getting a Driving Licence allows you to drive regular passenger vehicles within Category B (this means vehicles below 3.5 tonnes).
Having a Driving Licence is an important life skill which gives you the freedom to drive a car and get away from public transport. The Driving Licence is issued by DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) and is valid until you are 70 years old, although you are required to renew the photocard every 10 years (because we all change as we get older).
Have a Driving Licence also opens up a whole load of jobs like Taxi and Uber Drivers, estate agents and Delivery Drivers.
Who can apply?
To be able to apply for a Full Driving Licence, you must be at least 17 years of age and have passed both the theory test and the practical test.
You must also have no medical conditions that will affect your ability to drive safely. To learn more, have a look at guidance provided by the government.
How to apply for a Driving Licence
Getting a Driving Licence can be quite a long process but the steps you have to take are actually pretty easy.
Apply for a Provisional Licence
To begin the process, you must apply for your Provisional Licence by visiting here. It costs £43.
Pass Driving Theory Test
Next, you need to book and prepare for your Theory Test. This lasts for 90 minutes and has 2 sections. Click here to book. It costs £23.
You cannot take your Practical Test without passing the Theory Test.
Pass Practical Driving Test
Finally, book and pass your practical test! It costs £62. You will need about 45 hours of lessons with an instructor to pass.
The first step to getting your Driving Licence is passing your Theory test. The test lasts for under 90 minutes and has two parts: Hazard Perception and multiple choice. You can prepare using books, apps or websites online. You will receive your results on the day of the test.
You can book your test here.
You need to pass the theory test before booking your Practical Driving Test. Your theory test result is only valid for 2 years!
Passing the Practical Driving Test is a key part of getting your Driving Licence. You are likely to spend most of your time preparing for this assessment.
To prepare for the Practical Test, you will need to take instructor-led training lessons. Your Driving Instructor will teach you the basics of driving safely on the road, as well as how to control a vehicle.
The DVLA recommend around 36 hours of driving lessons to be ready to pass this part.
What happens during the test?
an eyesight check
‘show me, tell me’ vehicle safety questions
general driving ability
reversing your vehicle
The test is the same for both manual and automatic cars.
How long does the test last?
After you have completed the checks and questions you will begin the driving part of the test. The checks and questions will last for around 15 minutes and you will drive for around 40 minutes.
The first part of your driving test will involve a check of your eyesight. If you don't pass this section you will automatically fail your test so BRING YOUR GLASSES!
In this part of the test you will be asked to read a number plate from a distance of:
20 metres for vehicles with a new-style number plate
20.5 metres for vehicles with an old-style number plate
You’ll fail your driving test if you fail the eyesight check. The test will end.
‘Show me, tell me’ questions
This part of your test is designed to see your knowledge of a vehicle. You’ll be asked two vehicle safety questions known as the ‘show me, tell me’ questions.
You will be asked a ‘tell me’ question at the start of your test, before you start driving and a ‘show me’ question while you’re driving
Your general driving ability
You’ll drive in various road and traffic conditions, but not on motorways.
The examiner will give you directions that you should follow. Driving test routes are not published, so you cannot check them before your test.
Pulling over at the side of the road
You’ll be asked to pull over and pull away during your test, including:
normal stops at the side of the road
pulling out from behind a parked vehicle
a hill start
You might also be asked to carry out an emergency stop.
Reversing your vehicle
The examiner will ask you to do one of the following exercises:
parallel park at the side of the road
park in a parking bay - either by driving in and reversing out, or reversing in and driving out (the examiner will tell you which you have to do)
pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for around 2 car lengths, and re-join the traffic
You’ll have to drive for about 20 minutes by following either:
directions from a sat nav
The examiner will tell you which you have to follow.
They’ll set the sat nav up for you. You can’t use your own sat nav.
If you can’t see traffic signs
If you can’t see a traffic sign (for example, because it’s covered by trees), the examiner will give you directions until you can see the next one.
Going off the route
The examiner won’t give you a fault for taking a wrong turning but instead they will help you get back on the route if you do.
Manual vs Automatic Transmission
Depending on what you find easier, you can choose whether you wish to take a manual or automatic test. You can find an instructor suited to your choice. Note: the manual allows you to drive both types of vehicles, whereas the automatic only allows you to drive automatic cars.
How much does a Driving Licence cost?
Obtaining your UK Driving Licence can be pretty expensive. First of all, you will need to apply for your Provisional Driving Licence which costs £43. Next, you need to factor in assessment costs: Theory Test fee (£23) and Practical Test fee (£62).
The largest cost is training for your practical test. For this, you will need a driving instructor. The costs can vary depending on the number of Driving Lessons you require and the qualifications of the instructor. The DVLA (licensing body) recommends 36 hours of practice with an instructor.