Before you get lessons

First, you need to check whether you are allowed to drive. Age, disability, health concerns, and certain convictions can limit your eligibility to drive. 

You will need to apply for your provisional driving licence before you can take lessons or practice. The provisional licence costs between £34 and £43. It can take up to 15 days to arrive. You can apply for your provisional licence when you are 15 years and 9 months old. However, you will need to wait until you are 17 to drive a car; mopeds can be driven at 16 years old, motorcycles at 17. 

Make sure you are insured. If you are learning in your own car, your insurance policy needs to cover you and your car. Learning in someone else’s car requires their insurance to cover this situation. They could be required to be over 25 to insure you on their car. Remember, driving without insurance is an offense. You can be banned from driving and get up to 8 points on your licence.

Learning to drive

You must be supervised when you are learning or practicing in a car. This can be with an instructor or with family or friends. Your instructor must be certified; your friend or family member must be over the age of 21, be fully qualified to drive the car you are going to learn in, and have had a full driving licence for 3 years. 

The penalties for driving without the correct supervision can be up to £1000 and 6 points on your provisional licence, which will carry over to your full licence. The person supervising you cannot use a mobile phone at the time. 

When you are practicing, you need to log your practice hours. You can find the form here or ask your instructor for one.

Who to book your driving lessons with?

How you get along with your driving instructor can make a big difference with how quickly you learn, how much confidence you gain, and your success in your test. It makes sense to find a good driving instructor who is suited to your style. 

Driving instructors need to be certified to be legally allowed to teach you to drive. Approved driving instructors (ADIs) are listed, but some choose not to be on the list. If the instructor you want to learn with is not on the list, you should contact the DVSA (Driving and Vehicles Standards Agency) to make sure they are legitimate. Do not get in the car with an instructor unless they show you their name and ADI number. Their car should have a green badge if they are qualified or a pink one if they are in training. Report anyone trying to pass themselves off as an ADI. 

You can find the local driving schools, instructors, or book lessons here. Alternatively, if you live in Northern Ireland, you can find more information here

Driving instructors can charge what they want to, there is no minimum or maximum price. Prices vary significantly, generally with the quality of the instruction. Check the reviews of your instructor before you book lessons with them, they could be suited to different types of learning or personality. Quality instructors will charge more than most but it can save you money in the long term because you have to take lessons.

How many lessons are required?

There is no maximum or minimum number of lessons you have to complete before you can take your test.

Practice before taking your lessons

Driving lessons are expensive, so it is a good idea to have practiced as much as you can before you get them. You cannot drive without your provisional and an instructor/qualified person in the car with you, but you can definitely practice the Highway Code and hazard perception. Taking tests for free online can help you have less to learn in your expensive lessons. Make sure you are fully prepared so you can concentrate on the practical skills you’ll need, not trying to remember what that sign means. 

Examiners will ask “show me, tell me” questions. It pays to be familiar with this form of question and be able to answer confidently.