Learning to Drive

Driving before you've got your full licence

You must have a provisional driving licence for Great Britain or Northern Ireland when you’re learning to drive or ride.

Accompanying drivers

You can practise your driving with an accompanying driver if they:

  • Are aged 21 or over
  • Have had (and still have) a full licence in the same category as the vehicle you’re driving, for 3 years

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The Driving Theory Test

Overview

If you want to drive a car you’ll need to pass the driving theory test before booking either the car practical driving test. You need to have a provisional driving licence to take your driving theory test. There are 2 parts to the theory test: the multiple choice part and the hazard perception part. Both parts of the test are taken on the same day. You must book your driving theory test in advance. The questions in the multiple-choice part and format of the hazard perception part depend on what kind of vehicle you want to drive.

You need to pass both to pass the theory test. You can take the shorter ‘abridged’ car theory test if you’ve got the Safe Road User Award.

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The Practical Driving Test

1) Overview

The practical driving test is designed to see if you:

  • Can drive safely in different road and traffic conditions
  • Know the Highway Code and can show this through your driving ability
As long as you show the standard required, you’ll pass your driving test. There’s no minimum number of lessons you must have or hours you must practice driving before you take your test. There are no pass or fail quotas.

You’ll need to have passed your driving theory test before taking your practical test.

The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) and Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) have merged to form the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).

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Traffic Signs

The Highway Code’s ‘Traffic signs’ is for all new drivers and riders who need to pass the driving theory test. It shows the most commonly used traffic signs on British roads and motorways.

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Know your traffic signs

‘Know your traffic signs’ is a guide for all road users, new and experienced. It illustrates and explains all the important traffic signs, signals and road markings for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.

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The Highway Code

The Highway Code applies to England, Scotland and Wales. The Highway Code is essential reading for everyone.

Introduction

The most vulnerable road users are pedestrians, particularly children, older or disabled people, cyclists, motorcyclists and horse riders. It is important that all road users are aware of The Highway Code and are considerate towards each other. This applies to pedestrians as much as to drivers and riders.

Many of the rules in The Highway Code are legal requirements, and if you disobey these rules you are committing a criminal offence. You may be fined, given penalty points on your licence or be disqualified from driving. In the most serious cases you may be sent to prison. Such rules are identified by the use of the words ‘MUST/MUST NOT’. In addition, the rule includes an abbreviated reference to the legislation which creates the offence. See an explanation of the abbreviations..

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