A simples guide

Beginner's guide - learning to drive

If you’re about to learn to drive, you’re about to learn a lifelong skill, one you will never forget. It will bring you freedom to travel and enhance your mobility whether it’s for work or for fun.


So, what do you need to be able to learn to drive?

Before you jump in the car and go for it, there are a few rules involved:

  • You must be 17 to drive a car on the UK roads.
  • You must hold a provisional licence - you can apply for this any time after you’re 15 years and 9 months old.
  • You’ll need to be able to read a number plate from 20 metres away. If you wear contact lenses or glasses that’s fine, as long as you wear them while driving!
  • You must be insured to drive the car you are learning in.
  • The car you learn to drive in must have valid road tax and an MOT. It should also display L plates (or D plates are fine too in Wales).
  • You must be accompanied by a qualified driver who is over 21, and has had a full licence for at least three years. Beware of using your best mate though, you’re likely to pick up bad habits and come a cropper when you get to the test itself. It is better to use an approved driving school or instructor.
car and sunset

How long does it take to learn to drive?

Well that depends how many lessons you take. On average it takes around 30 to 40 hours of driving experience to reach test standard. Standard lessons are often around 90 minutes long. You do the maths but we reckon if you had one lesson a week that’s around 4-5 months.

There’s nothing stopping you taking your test before then if you’re ready. It’s a good idea to have a conversation with your instructor and get their opinion.


What skills and attitudes to do you need to pass your test?

Good driving isn’t simply about learning the rules of the road, it’s about your skills as a driver and your attitude towards other road users.

You’ll need:                       

  • To show responsibility, your and others' lives depend on it.
  • To be able to concentrate on what you’re doing and what’s around you.
  • To anticipate what might happen around you.
  • To show patience and courtesy to other road users.
  • To have confidence in your own abilities.
  • Yes sorry, you will need to learn the rules of the road too!

What happens in that first lesson?

It’s fine to be nervous, everyone is. You’ll soon get used to things. Usually the first lesson will be spent on very quiet roads learning the basics of the cars' operation and giving you a chance to get the feel for it. You’ll learn how to start the car, the operation of the gears and pedals and other important instruments. Obviously, if you already know the basics tell your instructor and they’ll assess where you’re already at and adjust the lesson accordingly.

Last but not least, good luck from us. It’s an exciting venture that you’re embarking on, one you won’t regret.

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