First things first, before you can even get into a car and start learning to drive, you have to get hold of a provisional driving licence.
To apply for this, you must complete the application form D1 that's available from either the 'Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) form ordering service', or from your local Post Office. Alternatively you can now apply for a provisional licence online. Visit www.direct.gov.uk and follow the directions. It takes about 4 weeks for your application to be processed and for your licence to be sent to you - so if you want to start learning to drive as soon as you hit 17, make sure you apply early!
The Practical Driving Test
Before you do any driving you'll be asked to perform an eyesight check and then be asked some vehicle safety questions. You'll then be tested on your general driving ability, including two reversing exercises.
The 'Driving' part of your test will last about 40 minutes. Throughout the test your examiner will be looking for evidence you've reached an overall safe standard of driving, as you carry out both general and specific manoeuvres. You can make up to 15 minor driving faults and still pass the test, but 16 or more minor faults results in a fail. However, if you commit just one serious or dangerous fault, you'll fail the test automatically.
You must bring the following items with you to the test. If you don't, the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) may refuse to carry out the test and you may lose your fee
An appropriately insured and licensed vehicle, displaying L- Plates, that's suitable for the test - don't worry our Oxford Driving Academy cars are perfect for the job and readily available!- The appropriate theory test pass certificate.
- Your appointment letter confirming your test time and date
- Photo card licence. If you don't take licence, your test will not take place and you'll lose your fee
The theory test is made up of two parts; a multiple choice section and a Hazard Perception test. The multiple choice bit is delivered using a touch screen computer and mouse, while the hazard perception test records your responses through the use of a computer mouse button. You'll need to pass both parts to successfully complete your theory test. If you pass one part and fail the other, you'll fail the whole test, and will have to take both parts again. You can book your theory test through the DSA (Driving Standards Agency) website or your Instructor can arrange it for you.