Being able to drive is a fantastic life skill. It can give you the freedom to go where you want, when you want. Are you ready for the challenge of becoming a skilled driver?

Here’s a quick checklist of what you’ll need before you can start to learn to drive a car:

  • Make sure any vehicle you drive is roadworthy, properly taxed and insured.
  • Be 17 years old (16 years if you receive the higher rate of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance).
  • Hold a provisional licence for Great Britain.
  • Be able to read a new style number plate from 20 metres away, or an old style number plate from 20.5 metres (with glasses or contact lenses if you need them, as long as you always wear them when you’re driving).
  • Display L plates on the front and rear of the vehicle where they can be clearly seen when you’re driving.
  • Be accompanied by a qualified driver who is over 21 and has held (and still holds) a full car driving licence for at least three years.
  • We’d recommend you have most of your lessons with an approved driving instructor.

First driving experience

When you book your first lesson your instructor will arrange a preferred pick up location with you – for example this may be at your home, place of work, school/college. You will need to bring your provisional licence on your first lesson as your instructor will want to ensure you are legal to drive. If your preferred pick up location is in a busy area your instructor will meet and greet you and then ask you to sit in the passenger seat as they take you somewhere quieter for your first driving lesson.


Good driving isn’t JUST about learning the rules of the road, your skill and your attitude as a driver are vital too, and you’ll keep learning and developing on these over the years.

A good driver is:

  • Confident and knowledgeable about how to drive safely.
  • Applies their full concentration on what they’re doing and also anticipates what others could be doing around them (referred to as defensive driving).
  • Patient with other road users, being aware that they may not be as familiar with the road network they find themselves in.
  • Responsible for what they do while driving, whilst ensuring of course that they are fit to drive.
  • Responsible for the vehicle both whilst driving but also for ensuring it’s fully maintained and roadworthy.


Before you can start driving on the road you’ll need a provisional licence, which currently costs £34. The quickest way to apply for your provisional licence is online at gov.uk.

You’ll need a debit or credit card, proof of your identity (such as your passport) and your address details for the last three years. You can also apply using a D1 form, which you can get from any post office.

You can apply up to three months before your 17th birthday (or when you’re 16 if you receive the higher rate of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance).

A provisional driving licence has some limitations and restrictions you need to be aware of, check gov.uk to see what these are.


If you’re paying someone to teach you to drive, they must be an ADI (Approved Driving Instructor) or a PDI (Trainee Driving Instructor) licensed by the DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency). You can also practise your driving with friends or relatives; however, they must be over 21, have had a driving licence for at least three years and be qualified to drive the vehicle you’re learning in.

Why do you need a driving instructor?

It’s really important to learn how to drive safely right from the beginning – bad habits are often hard to break!

Driving instructors are specially trained to teach you what you need to know to be safe on the road and pass your test. They have lots of experience and knowledge about driving, which they’ll use to help you become a confident, safe driver.

Only fully qualified Approved Driving Instructors can display the green badge in their windscreen, pink badges (or Trainee Licences) are issued to Potential Driving Instructors.