Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Who can teach me to drive?
If you’re paying someone to teach you to drive they must be an approved driving instructor (ADI) or trainee driving instructor. ADIs and trainee driving instructors are regulated by the Driving Standards Agency (DSA). You can find your nearest registered ADIs online.
An ADI displays a green badge on the windscreen, and a trainee driving instructor displays a pink badge.
If you want to practise your driving with someone (without paying them) they must:
- be over 21
- be qualified to drive the type of vehicle you want to learn in, eg they must have a manual car licence if they’re supervising you in a manual car
- have had their driving licence for 3 years
If you drive without the right supervision you can be fined up to £1,000 and get 3 to 6 penalty points on your provisional licence.
How many lessons will I need?
It depends entirely on the person. Some people require fewer lessons to reach the standard required to pass their driving test, whilst others take more time to build their confidence.
According to government figures, on average, people who pass their driving test have had 47 hours of driving lessons with a driving instructor and 20 hours of private practice.
Once you have passed your driving test you will continue to learn and gain experience. You may wish to have further tuition for motorway or night driving, or to enrol in the Pass Plus scheme, which is particularly useful to new drivers and may reduce your insurance premiums.
Can I practice driving without an instructor?
You can practise your driving with an accompanying driver if they:
- are over 21
- have had (and still have) a full licence in the same category as the vehicle you’re driving, for 3 years.
If you’re a learner driver you must also put ‘L’ plates on prominent places on the front and back of your vehicle.
How can I measure my progress?
The Driving Standards Agency have developed the Driver’s Record to help you keep track of your progress and encourage you to become skilled in all the key areas below.
The Record is based on the official learning to drive syllabus and lists all the skills you need to drive safely. It will help you see how you’re progressing and identify the skills that need more attention, helping you to prepare for your practical test and become a safer driver.
It comes in two parts: Part one is for you and the other part is a more detailed record for your instructor or accompanying driver. Take it to each lesson and your test and see how your skills build.
Do I need a driving licence before I start?
Yes. You must hold a valid UK provisional driving licence.
When can I apply for my driving licence?
You can apply for your provisional driving licence up to 3 months before you can start driving. You can normally start driving on your 17th birthday if you want to drive a car and your 16th birthday if you want to drive a motorcycle or moped.
A provisional driving licence currently costs £50.
How do I apply for a provisional licence?
You can apply for your first provisional driving licence for a car, moped or motorcycle online by
A provisional driving licence currently costs £50.
What does the driving test involve?
Before you can take your Practical Driving Test you will need to pass the Theory Test.
The Practical Driving Test consists of:
- Eyesight Check; reading a number plate at distance
- Vehicle Safety Questions; including ‘show me’ and ‘tell me’
- Driving Ability; you will be asked to demonstrate manoeuvres safely
- Independent Driving; designed to assess your ability to drive safely while making decisions on your own
How much does a driving test cost?
A car theory test costs £31 and the car practical test normally costs £62.
Check the Government website for any changes to the Driving test fees
What about the theory test?
If you want to drive a car or ride a motorcycle you’ll need to pass the driving theory test before booking either the car practical driving test or the motorcycle practical test.
There are 2 parts to the theory test:
- the multiple choice part
- the hazard perception part
Both parts of the test are taken on the same day and you need to pass both parts to pass the theory test. The questions in the multiple-choice part and format of the hazard perception part depend on what kind of vehicle you want to drive.
Can I start driving before taking my theory test?
As long as you have your provisional licence you can start driving. If you have any questions or concerns about the theory test, your instructor will be happy to discuss them with you.
You must pass your theory test before you can apply for your practical test.
How do I prepare for the theory test?
Preparing for the Multiple Choice part
To prepare for the multiple-choice part of the theory test you should use 3 books known as the ‘source material’. They are:
You can buy all the publications from most high street book shops and download the ‘Know your traffic signs’ booklet.
Online practice theory test
You can take a practice theory test online. It only includes multiple choice questions and does not include the hazard perception part.
Preparing for the hazard perception part
‘The official guide to hazard perception’ is a comprehensive training DVD. It’s available from most high street book shops.
How do I apply for a theory test?
You will need your provisional licence number and an email address to book online. Book a driving theory test.
On the day you will need to bring both parts of your driving licence – the photocard and the paper counterpart.
If you have an old-style paper licence, you must take your signed driving licence and a valid passport. No other form of photographic identification will be accepted. If you don’t have one, you must get a passport or update your paper licence to a photocard licence.
How do I apply for a practical driving test?
You will need your
- provisional driver licence number
- theory test pass certificate number and the date you passed
- credit/debit card
If you’re taking a car test and have your driving instructor’s personal reference number you can use this to check they’re available, but can book your test without doing this.
Can someone accompany me on my driving test?
Yes, you can. You will need to be supervised when driving to the test centre. Your examiner will ask if you want your instructor, or another person, to:
- sit in the back of your car during your driving test
- be with you after the test for the result and feedback
This person will usually be your driving instructor, but it could also be a relative or friend. They must be over 16 and can’t take any part in the test.
What happens once I pass the driving test?
When you pass your driving test, DVLA needs to be told before you get your full licence – your examiner will usually do this for you. If you’ve got a photocard driving licence and your name hasn’t changed, your practical test examiner will send your details to DVLA. You’ll be sent your full licence within 4 weeks.
Otherwise you’ll need to apply by post.
You must exchange your test pass certificate within 2 years of passing your test or you’ll have to retake your test.
What is Pass Plus?
Pass Plus is a practical training course that takes at least 6 hours and is for drivers to improve their skills and drive more safely. You’ll need a Pass Plus registered approved driving instructor (ADI) to teach you. You won’t take a test but you’ll be assessed throughout the course. To pass you’ll have to reach the required standard in all modules. It can be taken at any time although it should be most useful to new drivers in the year after passing their test.
It has 6 modules, covering driving:
- in town
- in all weathers
- on rural roads
- at night
- on dual carriageways
- on motorways
All modules should be practical sessions, although local conditions may mean some are theory based. You’ll normally spend at least 5.5 hours driving.
Pass Plus fees depend on where you live, the instructor or driving school and how long your training takes. Some local councils can offer discounts off the full Pass Plus training costs.
It may help you get a car insurance discount if you successfully complete the course .
The Pass Plus course with Dreamstart Driving is available to any driver for £150 and there are special discounts for students that have learned to drive with Dreamstart. Read more about Pass Plus and why you should consider it here.