Getting Started

choosing a driving instructor

Recent surveys indicate that nine in ten learners who passed both theory and practical tests first time were taught by an instructor. A fully qualified ADI must display a green certificate on the windscreen of the car while teaching you. Some trainee driving instructors are granted a licence so they can gain experience before their qualifying examination. In this case, the trainee driving instructor must display a pink certificate on the windscreen.

DSA is responsible for maintaining and checking the standards of all ADIs, who to qualify must:

  • have held a full driving licence for at least four years
  • pass a much tougher theory test than the one learner drivers take
  • pass a strict driving test
  • reach and keep up a high standard of instruction - the standard of tuition given by the ADI is regularly checked by a supervising examiner from DSA
  • be registered with DSA
  • display an ADI identification certificate on the windscreen of the tuition vehicle

DSA, as a government agency, is not allowed to recommend an instructor. We suggest that you ask friends and relatives to recommend someone they know. You could also look in a local business directory for ADIs in your area and use the Directgov 'find your nearest driving instructor' service.

Try and choose an instructor who:

  • has a good reputation
  • is reliable and punctual
  • has a car that suits you

minimum age

You can take your theory test once your provisional licence becomes valid.

Normally, for car drivers, the earliest date your provisional licence can become valid is your 17th birthday, however you can apply for the licence up to three months before your 17th birthday.

So, if you apply for your provisional licence before you are 17 you will still have to wait until your birthday before you can take your theory test.

Three months before your 17th birthday you can apply for your provisional license – or as soon as you're 16, if you're disabled and receiving mobility allowance. Then once you're 17, you can legally drive a car on public roads in the UK. It's okay to start practising on private land, as long as the site is gated and far away from public highways. But remember, supermarket car parks are classed as public roads, so don't use theses

Check your eyes

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 eg AB 51 ABC. If you wear glasses or contacts, that's fine. Just make sure you always wear them when driving

Full detials can be found here:


You can apply for a provisional driving licence up to three months before your 17th birthday. So if you want to get out onto the roads the moment you come of age you need to plan ahead! You can apply for the licence by filling out the D1 application form from the post office or online here.Bear in mind it takes around three weeks for the DVLA to process your application so you want to be applying at least a month before your birthday. As a new driver you'll get a photocard-style licence and a paper counterpart - keep this safe because you'll need both parts when going for your theory and practical tests! 

Driving test fees

Driving test fees for the Theory and Practical psrts of your test can be found here



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