Learning to drive is a rite of passage for people across the UK, and if you’re desperate for the freedom afforded by having your own car, it makes sense that you’ll want to pass your test as soon as possible. Driving feels quite unnatural at first so you will plenty of practice before you are ready to take the test – but that doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be ready for months.
Here are the top tips for passing provided by Lloyd Wells’ – a driving specialist working Experience Day provider Into the Blue.
Apply for your provisional licence
The first thing to say is that before you can learn to drive, you need a provisional driving licence. You can have a provisional licence as early as three months before your 16th birthday. Your provisional licence is what you will need before you can do anything else. You need a provisional to book a theory test and subsequently take a practical test so this really is the key step in the process.
Practice on a moped
So you probably know that you can’t actually drive a car – even to take driving lessons – until you are over the age of 17. But you might not know that you can legally drive a moped when you are 16 years old. You’ll need to pass a theory pass and then pass compulsory basic training (CBT) and then you can get driving straight away. The mopeds that you’re allowed to drive have a limit of 45mph but they do give you the chance to gain valuable experience out on the road for when you come to take your driving test. Yes, driving a moped is very different to driving a car, but getting an idea of how vehicles use the road puts you in a very good position. This should mean that you take to driving much more quickly and can allow you to learn to drive very fast.
Get the theory done ASAP
Just like you can’t drive a car until your 17th birthday, you can’t book a car theory test until you’re 17. But you can study and learn at any age, so it’s well worth getting prepared and practising as soon as you can. Theoretically it is possible that you could pass your theory and driving test on your birthday, but it would take a lot of luck. You can’t book your theory test until you’re 17, so you would need to book the theory test in the morning (hoping that there is no waiting list) and then when you have passed, book your practical test for the afternoon. It is unlikely that you could do this, however, as practical tests can often having waiting lists of weeks or months.
The majority of learner drivers need between 30 and 40 hours of driving lessons before they are ready to take their practical test. But there is no specific amount that you need to have taken before you can take a test – everyone is different, and you can also combine your instructed driving lessons with time practising with family and friends. If you want to do this you will need to have learner insurance and you’ll need someone with a valid driving licence who is over the age of 21 to accompany you. If you want to pass as soon as possible then it’s worth scheduling regular sessions, taking at least 2 or 3 driving lessons each week.
Learn the test route
If you know where you are going to take the test then it’s best to do your driving lessons in this area. Work with a driving instructor who knows the area well and understands the likely routes that your driving test will go. It’s always valuable to be experienced driving in the area where you are taking the test so that you are familiar with the roads and surroundings. Just that extra piece of knowledge of what is coming up next
Intensive driving courses
One increasing popular option offered by a number of driving schools and tutors is an intensive driving course. This will generally involve around 30 hours of driving tuition across a single week which will be immediately followed by a driving test. For those people who want to get behind the wheel of a car as soon as they can, intensive courses can be very useful. Of course it does mean putting down a lot of money for one week of intense lessons.