Frequently Asked Questions

What should I look for in an Instructor?

Basically there are 2 types of instructor, who can be Identified by their badge. The first is a provisional driving instructor (PDI), they are fully trained but have not taken their final examination, they display a Pink licence. The second is an Approved Driving Instructor, they are fully qualified and carry a green badge. A driving instructor should always display either badge when giving lessons for money. If you do not see the badge, ask to see it. You should also check to see if your instructor has the correct insurance for you to drive, again ask to see this if you are unsure. Another good tip is to check to see if the car has dual controls. Most insurance companies will only insure an instructor if they have these fitted.

What about the cost of a lesson?

These will vary from school to school and many will give lots of free incentives or offers. Just be careful, if you see someone advertising for £9.99 a lesson, ask why. It may be because they are not qualified. The industry is very competitive, so instead of going by price alone, have a few lessons with an instructor and see if you are compatible. Learning to drive should be both rewarding and enjoying, so make sure you are happy. On the other hand, paying more does not necessarily mean better. Just be careful to read the small print, make sure you are happy with your instructor and enjoy your learning.

How long will it take me to pass my test?
This depends on the student, different people learn at different speeds. The current DSA figures say the average time taken is 45 hours tuition with a Driving Instructor, plus additional time spent practicing with a friend or relative.

When should I start studying for the Theory Test?

As soon as possible. It is advisable to have a read through The Highway Code before starting lessons as this will help with your knowledge and understanding of the laws that govern today's roads. There are several books and DVD's to help you with your study. Your instructor can give you help and guidance with these including the Hazard Perception Test. You should book your Theory test as early as possible but only when you are ready. The earlier you start studying and pass, the better understanding you will have of driving on the road.

How many lessons should I have a week?

This depends on how much time you have and how quickly you want to learn. Based on current averages, one hour a week will take you 45 weeks, including holidays, that is nearly a year! 2 hour lessons are cheaper, you have more instruction time and based on the average you can take your test a lot quicker.

What is the minimum age that I can start to learn to drive?

On public roads, you can start from your 17th Birthday.

What do I need to start taking lessons?

The most important thing is to have a valid Provisional Driving Licence. If you have one of the old paper-only licence's, you must bring along with you, some form of photographic identification. You will also need to pass a basic eye test. This will be carried out by your instructor before you start driving. The minimum requirement is to read a number plate from a distance of between 20 and 20.5 Metres depending on the style/age of the number plate. This will also need to be checked by the examiner on the day of the test. Glasses or contact lenses should be worn if needed.

How much is the current test fee?

The current fees as of 30/09/2010the cost is£62.00 for weekdays and £75.00 for weekday evenings or weekends.
(for full details click HERE)

What car will I use on the Test day?

You will use the same car you had your tuition in.

Can I Check, change or cancel my practical driving test online?

You can make up to 3 changes to your Practical Test once it is booked. This can be done online or by Telephone.To view, change or cancel your test booking online, you will need two of the following three details:
-your valid Great Britain or Northern Ireland provisional driving licence number
-your application reference number
-your theory test pass certificate number
You can change your test time or date, as long as your driving instructor is available on the new time/date. If you change the test booking within three clear working days of your original test date, you will have to pay an additional fee. You can change or cancel a test booking without losing your fee if it is more than three clear working days before the test date. If not, you will lose your test fee.

What do I do if I have any eyesight problems?
When applying for your driving licence from the DVLA you should let them know if you have:
any visual condition which affects both eyes (not including short or long sight or colour blindness)
any visual condition which affects your sight (not including short or long sight or colour blindness) e.g. if you have sight in one eye only.If you have had sight correction surgery you should declare this when you apply for your provisional licence.

What are the Eyesight requirements for the practical driving test?
Before the practical driving test, your driving examiner will ask you to read the number plate on a stationary vehicle.The distance requirement for the eyesight test using old style number plates is 20.5 metres or 20 metres if the new-style number plate is used. New-style number plates are easily identifiable starting with two letters e.g. AB 51 ABC. If you can't speak English or have difficulty reading, you may copy down what you see. If you can't read the first number plate correctly, you'll be asked to read a second number plate, if you can't read this number plate correctly, you'll be allowed to walk forward until you're just over the appropriate distance away. If you still can't read the number plate correctly, the examiner will ask you to read a third number plate and will measure the precise distance from this number plate. The distance will be 20.5 metres if you're asked to read an old-style number plate and 20 metres if you're asked to read a new-style number plate. If you can't read the third number plate correctly, and the examiner is satisfied that you don't meet the required eyesight standard, you'll fail the driving test, and the practical test will not continue. This test failure will be marked on the driving test report form (DL25) with a mark in the 'Item 1' box. Your interpretation of the number plate along with the correct one will be written on the back of the form along with the measured distance.

What if i wear glasses/corrective lenses?
If you can only read a number plate using glasses/corrective lenses for the eyesight test, the law requires you wear them whenever you are driving and throughout your test. You're not allowed to remove your glasses/corrective lenses when carrying out test manoeuvres (reversing etc). If you used your glasses/corrective lenses to read the number plate and take off/out your glasses/corrective lenses during the practical test, your examiner will remind you the law requires you to wear them; if you refuse to wear them, the test will not continue. If you have broken, forgotten or brought the wrong glasses, you should tell your examiner at the start of the test. If you don't tell the examiner and attempt and fail the eyesight test, your test will be recorded as a failure and the remainder of the test will not go ahead.
Should you fail the eyesight requirement; the examiner will ask you to sign a form DL.77 –which acknowledges you were unable to comply with the eyesight requirements. The examiner (using form DL.77 form) will notify the DVLA that you did not meet the eyesight requirements and your licence will be revoked. To reapply for your licence, send to DVLA an ‘Application for a Driving Licence’ (D1), available from the DVLA form ordering service or Post Office® branches. You can also download and complete the medical questionnaire V1 and return it with your D1 form. When your application arrives at DVLA they’ll ask the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) to conduct a separate eyesight test for you at a test centre. If you’re successful you’ll still have to pass the DSA standard eyesight test at your next practical driving test.

What if I have any Special needs, can I still take the practical driving test?
You should let the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) know when you book your practical test if you have any hearing problems, language difficulties, movement restrictions or adaptations fitted to your vehicle. It is advisable to book your test over the Telephone if you are unsure, a DSA officer will be able to guide and help you. When booking your practical test, please let the DSA know if you:
are deaf or have severe hearing difficulties or are in any way restricted in your movements
have any physical disabilityNo matter how serious your disability might be, you will still take the same driving test as every other test candidate. However, more time is allowed for the test. This is to allow the examiner to talk to you about your disability and any adaptations fitted to your vehicle.

Can I use an interpreter on my test?

You may bring your own interpreter for your practical test as long as they are over 16 years of age. Your approved driving instructor can be your interpreter.You will be responsible for arranging your interpreter and for any necessary fees.

I have a Medical condition that could affect my driving. What should I do?
Click HERE for a full list of Medical conditions that could affect your driving.

What are the Minimum test vehicle requirements for a car and can i use my own car?
A car presented for test must be:
a four wheeled vehicle of no more than 3,500 kilograms (kg) maximum authorised mass (MAM)
capable of a speed of at least 100 kilometres per hour (km/h) or 62.5 miles per hour (mph)The car or van must also be fitted with:
a seatbelt for the examiner
a passenger head restraint, which needn't be adjustable but must be fitted as an integral part of the seat - 'slip on' type head restraints aren't permitted
an interior mirror for the examiner's use
L-plates displayed on the front and rear of the vehicle but not interfering with the driver's or examiner's view
a speedometer that measures speed in mph and km/h
If the vehicle presented for test is fitted with an electronic handbrake it must be capable of being manually overridden and operated as a conventional handbrake. The vehicle must be legal and roadworthy and have no warning lights showing, e.g. the airbag warning light.

How about Convertible vehicles?
Some convertible vehicles are unsuitable for the driving test because of the lack of all-round vision for the examiner.
Unsuitable vehicles include:
Ford KA convertible
BMW Mini convertible
VW Beetle convertible

If you want to use a convertible vehicle for the driving test please check its suitability when you book.

How do I get my new Licence once I have passed?
Once you have passed your driving test (both theory and practical), the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) will need to be told. Whether it’s for a car, motorcycle, lorry or bus you must exchange your test pass certificate within two years of passing your test.

Applying at the test centre
If your photocard driving licence was issued after 1 March 2004, you’ll be given the option to have your full licence issued electronically. The examiner will take your licence off you, scan the details and send them electronically to DVLA. You’ll be given a pass certificate, as proof of passing, and DVLA will send your full licence to you within four weeks of you passing your practical test.

Applying by post
You'll need to:
complete the declaration on your test pass certificate
send it, together with both parts of your driving licence (photocard and counterpart), document to DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1BJ

If your name has changed since your last licence you'll also need to:
complete a D1 ‘application for a driving licence’, which is available from DVLA's form ordering service or Post Office® branches
provide original documentation confirming your new name.

What happens if the weather is bad on the day of my test?
The DSA does not conduct tests in bad light or in adverse weather conditions for the safety of the candidate and the examiner. The DSA will arrange another appointment at no further cost, but compensation is not payable. You should call the telephone number quoted on the appointment letter to check whether your test will go ahead.

What is The New Drivers Act?
Under the New Drivers Act your driving licence will be revoked if you build up six or more penalty points within two years of passing your first driving test. You’ll need to reapply for your driving licence as a learner driver and resit your driving test. Any penalty points you gain before passing your first driving test are taken into account. However, having six or more doesn’t mean your licence will be revoked straight after you pass your test. Gaining further points after passing your test, taking your total to six or more, will mean your licence will be revoked. The act applies to all drivers from, Great Britain, Northern Ireland, the European Community and European Economic Area, Isle of Man, Channel Islands and Gibraltar.

I have read that Examiners have a quota and they can only pass so many people a day?
All examiners are trained to carry out the test to the same standard, they do not have pass or fail quotas. So as long as you demonstrate the standard required you will pass your driving test. Test routes are designed to be as uniform as possible and will include a range of typical road and traffic conditions.

For all details relating to Learning to Drive, visit the Direct Gov Website (Click below)