Car learner driver

Can you learn to drive in your own car?

It is common to see numerous learner drivers and instructor vehicles on the road at any time of day, but are you allowed to learn and take the test in your own car? Technically, yes. You can use your own car for lessons, and even for the practical driving test, so long as it meets the correct requirements. However, it may not be the safest of options, especially at the start, for these three main reasons.


It is the duty of your instructor to ensure that their vehicle is operating as it should, consists of no faults and meets with the correct requirements and regulations for a learner vehicle. They will ensure that levels of oil, water and petrol are kept up at all times, as well as full function of the pedals, seatbelts, airbags and the car’s controls so that they don’t impact your driving abilities. This way, as you may be nervous when taking to the road for the first time, all you will need to worry about is how to operate and maneuver the vehicle. You can rest assured that everything else has been monitored and is in good condition for your safety.

Dual controls

When starting out with your driving lessons, it is only appropriate to take the lessons in your instructors’ car. You will be new to observing the ways of the road, as well as the challenge of multi-tasking and remaining in control of the car at all times. This is where dual controls become a necessity in keeping the both of you, and other road users, safe. It is normal to be daunted by these factors, and you may not pick it up first time round – or even second! – but after a few lessons, your instructor will ease off of the use of their pedal control and allow you to take to the roads while operating the car independently.

Clear signage

Once you take to the road, you may experience other drivers who appear impatient and, wrongly, take these moods out on you, often by the use of their horn or overtaking you. If you were in your own car, the rate in which you experienced these situations would rise due to other drivers being unaware of the fact that you are a vulnerable learner who is new to the roads. This would add unneeded pressure to your driving ability, possibly distracting you from the more important things that you need to focus on. This is where learning in your instructor’s car will come in handy for you. With the car clearly labelled at all times, this will allow other road users to become aware of the fact that you are learning to drive and the level of patience that they have with you will increase, because let’s face it – we’ve all been there!

If you do have your own car and your skills reach a certain point, your driver may ask if you would feel comfortable taking a lesson in your own vehicle, meaning that there would be no option of dual control and you will reduce the level of clear signage. If you agree, they will have to check that your car meets the following requirements:

  • The vehicle is taxed and insured correctly
  • Has a valid MOT (if eligible for one)
  • Has no warning lights showing, such as faulty airbags or brakes
  • The tyres comply with the legal tread depth and are inflated to the correct pressure
  • Has a working speedometer which allows you to reach a speed of up to 62mph
  • All pedals operate correctly

They will also need to ensure that the following is fitted:

  • An additional rear-view mirror (for the instructors use only)
  • At least two ‘L’ plates are fitted, one at the front and one at the rear
  • A working seatbelt, airbag and sturdy head restraint on the passengers’ side

Taking a few lessons in your own vehicle will ensure that, once you have passed the practical test, you will be confident in driving your own car. This is an essential skill to learn, but it can be picked up at any time. You will not need to do this before your test date if you are unhappy to do so. Your instructor is able to take you out on follow up lessons once you have passed which will allow you to feel comfortable in your own car whilst being without input from a passenger and also experience new roads, such as motorways.

Taking the test

You are bound to be nervous on the day of your test. You may feel the pressure of your friends and family awaiting that call, or perhaps you haven’t told anyone and wish to surprise them with your pass certificate afterwards. This is why we recommend taking the test in your instructor’s vehicle. With all the regulations we have mentioned above, we feel it may impact your nerves too heavily if you will have to worry about additional factors, such as insurance or warning lights failing. If this did occur, your car would be recalled for safety reasons, resulting in you having to re-book you test for another time. Within your instructor’s car, there is next to no chance of these things faulting due to in-depth checks at the end of each learners’ lesson. This will allow you to focus on the drive itself, rather than the car, improving your focus and chances of passing.

If you have any questions about your own vehicle or would like to speak with one of our experienced instructors about starting your driving lessons, contact us at Lanes School of Driving by calling 020 8166 5678, or email us at where we will be happy to help you on your journey to passing.

Flip flops car

Is it illegal to drive in flip flops?

With the sun appearing once again, your winter shoes are being placed into the depths of your wardrobe and the summer footwear is coming back out, as is that lingering rumour that your choice of footwear could be classed as an illegal offence. To avoid confusion, we explain the facts behind your choice of footwear so that you are able to drive safely whilst complying with the law.

What is the law?

Well, technically there is no law against wearing your summer sandals or flip flops whilst driving. Rule 97 of the Highway Code states that the driver should make sure that their choice of footwear doesn’t prevent them from using the cars controls in the right manner. If you are certain that your shoes do not interfere with the break, acceleration or clutch pedals at any point, you are considered safe to wear them. You could even drive barefooted if it remains safe to do so, however, we do not recommend this.

Despite the above, there is a time where this would be classed as an illegal offence and cause you a fine of up to £5,000. If your feet are wet or slippery, you will be unable to have authority over the car’s controls, resulting in you putting your passengers and other road users at risk. This would count in instances where you are driving with flip flops, sandals or barefooted.

Things to consider

If you believe that you can control your car perfectly in your summer shoes, there are still some things to test out before taking to the road.

  • Check your soles. You will want to find the balance between too thick and too thin. If the soles are too thick, you will be unable to feel the pedals, resulting in you losing control of the car. In addition, you don’t want them to be too thin or flimsy either, as the rigid grip on the pedals could cause pain or blisters to appear on the soles of your feet, generating unsafe driving.
  • Check the grip. Your shoes should have enough grip on the soles to work together with the grips on the surface of the pedals, allowing you to be in control of the car and preventing your feet from slipping off unwantedly.
  • Check the weight. If your shoes are too heavy or stop your ankles from moving freely, such as working boots or wellies, having the ability to quickly and lightly apply pressure to the correct pedal will be jeopardised. Your shoes will need to be light enough for you to be able to act fast but delicately.
  • Check the width. Some shoes, including flip flops, are wide enough to touch, press or catch on other pedals. This is a risk too big to take, so stick with a choice of footwear that moulds around your foot.

It is important to remember that, as a driver, you have a large responsibility to keep yourself, your passengers and other road users safe. If you are considering driving whilst wearing shoes which you believe would be considered as unsafe, no matter how short your journey, change them to something more suitable. For drivers, it’s a case of safety before fashion!

If you are looking for some expert advice, get in touch with our friendly team of Lanes School of Driving instructors by calling 020 8166 5678. With over 100 years of experience, we will be happy to advise you on the safest way to drive your car this spring.


How the new theory test will work

The way in which theory tests occur is changing again from April. However, there is no need to let it concern you. Today we will walk you through everything you need to know to ensure you feel on top of your game.

The DVSA have revised the exam to make it fairer for all learner drivers, including those with learning difficulties. The test has only minor changes so there is no need to feel daunted by the switch-up.

If your theory test is booked for a date before 14th April 2020, then you will not need to note these changes (unless you book to re-take your test for a later date). If your test is booked on or after 14th April 2020, then these changes will apply to you.

The current theory test involves two parts:

Part 1: You will be given a case study to read and will have to answer 5 multiple choice questions on it. You will be given 50 questions in total and have 57 minutes to answer.

Part 2: The hazard perception section. You will watch 14 video clips and earn points for spotting the developing hazards. You will be awarded a maximum of 5 points for each hazard you spot correctly. The earlier you spot the hazard, the higher your score will be.

However, the new theory test scraps the original ‘part 1’ and replaces it with a series of short, silent video clips.

The video clips will be based on the rules of the road and will show a realistic situation, such as driving through a town centre, a residential road or a country lane. You will then be asked to answer 3 questions on the video you have just watched by choosing one answer out of a selection of multiple-choice options.

Examples of the types of questions you should be prepared to answer are:

  • Why are motorcyclists considered vulnerable road users?
  • What do the double yellow lines mean?
  • In this clip, who can cross the chevrons to overtake other vehicles, when it is safe to do so?

The hazard perception section of the test will remain the same.

The test has been altered to allow fairness across all learner drivers taking the theory test. Observing a selection of videos on realistic scenarios proved to make the majority feel comfortable with the conditions of the test and the rules in which they need to follow.

At Lanes School of Driving we have dedicated over 100 years to helping learner drivers pass their driving tests. If you have any questions on the way that the theory test works, give us a call on 020 8166 5678 where we will be happy to help, or to arrange a driving lesson with one of your expert instructors.

Man revising on laptop

How to get ready for your theory test

There’s no need to stress about your theory test! It can seem daunting at first, and there’s lots to learn, but our handy tips will make sure you have all you need to pass first time. The secret is knowing what to expect and how to prepare.

What to expect in your driving theory test

The driving theory test is fully computerised. At the beginning of the test you are given instructions and a few practice examples to make sure you know how everything works.There are two parts to the theory test:

  • Multiple-choice questions: You’ll be given 50 questions to answer in 57 minutes. Some of the questions are presented as a case study, where you will be taken through a potential real-life situation and asked five questions about it. You need 43 correct answers to pass.
  • Hazard perception test: You’ll be asked to watch 14 one-minute videos which feature at least one developing hazard. One of the videos will feature two developing hazards, so watch out for it. You’ll be given a mouse to click whenever you see a hazard developing. You’re awarded up to five points every time you spot a hazard, with more points given the earlier you spot it. You need to score at least 44 points out of a possible 74 to pass.

How to revise for your driving theory test

We recommend you set aside at least 20 hours of revision to prepare for your driving theory test.

Multiple choice questions

The multiple-choice questions test material is covered in 3 books:

You can buy each book in your local bookshop or online.

You will be tested on the following topics:

  • alertness
  • attitude
  • essential documents
  • incidents, accidents and emergencies
  • hazard awareness
  • motorway driving
  • other types of vehicle
  • road and traffic signs
  • road conditions and vehicle handling
  • rules of the road
  • safety and your vehicle
  • safety margins
  • vehicle loading
  • vulnerable road users

There are lots of products available that offer practice questions, but it’s important that you don’t just learn the answers. Make sure you fully understand why each answer is correct because the questions you’ll receive during your test won’t be exactly the same as the practice questions.

The hazard perception test

To prepare for your hazard perception test, get a copy of The Official DVSA Guide to Hazard Perception, available as an interactive DVD-ROM or as an online subscription from the Official DVSA Learning Zone.

The test will present you with three kinds of hazards: potential, developing and actual.

For example, a child walking on the pavement is a potential hazard. The child does not become a developing or actual hazard unless the child walks into the road or in front of your vehicle. Make sure you understand the appropriate, preventative action to take – such as braking or changing course – to avoid an accident.

In addition to the study materials, make sure you book plenty of time with a driving instructor. They will help you improve your hazard perception as you’re on the road.

Want some help with preparing for your theory test? At Lanes School of Driving we’ve been helping drivers pass their tests for over 100 years. Call us on 020 8166 5678 with your questions, or to book one of our expert instructors.


How to get over failing your driving test

Failing your driving test can be crushing. All your dedication and hard work seemingly for nothing. But don’t despair. You’re not alone. In fact the data shows that over half of learners fail on their first attempt.

The most important thing is to dust yourself off and get back behind the wheel. Next time you’ll be much better prepared.

To give you the best chance of passing on your next attempt, we’re sharing our top tips with you:

Don’t be too hard on yourself

You probably feel terrible about failing, but don’t get angry with yourself. If you think about it, there’s nothing natural about driving a car. Like learning to type or mastering a musical instrument, learning to drive takes time and practice. In some cases your driving skills may have been good enough, it’s just that your nerves got the better of you on the day.

Listen to your examiner

If the examiner fails your driving test, you’ll probably only hear the word “failed” and everything else will be a blur. If you are told that you have failed, it’s important to concentrate on what your examiner is saying. Take a deep breath, relax, and try to listen calmly.

The examiner should also hand you your driving test report summarising their main points.

The key to future success is to understand the exact reasons why you failed and identify the areas you have to work on to pass the next time.

Talk about it

Don’t bottle up your feelings. There’s nothing to feel embarrassed about. Every one of us has experienced failure at some point in our lives. Whether it’s a driving test, a school exam or a job interview, people fail and that’s all part of life. You may find it helps to share your feelings with people you can trust to offer you support and encouragement.

Get back behind the wheel

Failing your driving test can make you never want to get into the driver’s seat again. Don’t let those thoughts get the better of you. You need to get back behind the wheel as soon as possible. Remember that if you spend time away from the car, your hard-earned skills will start to fade. Take a few days off, by all means, but after that you need to be arranging your next lesson.

Book another driving test

Discuss with your driving instructor when you should book your next test. Don’t worry, your instructor won’t push you to take your next test until they feel you’re ready. If your fail was down to a simple error that can be easily fixed, you may only need a few lessons before retaking your test.

Also bear in mind that the next time you’ll know what to expect, be better prepared and feel less nervous.

Get some more practice

Your examiner should have handed you your driving test report outlining the areas you need to work on. Common problem areas are not looking around enough at junctions and not using mirrors correctly when changing speed or direction. Your instructor will help you to make the necessary adjustments to your driving, and can give you tips on how to cope with any driving test nerves.

Looking for some expert help to make sure you pass your next driving test? At Lanes School of Driving we’ve been teaching locals to drive for over 100 years. Call us on 020 8166 5678 with your questions or to book a lesson with one of our instructors.


How to avoid being confused by British road signs

Are you confused by British road signs?

You’re not alone. UK roads feature a dizzying array of different road signs, and many motorists struggle to remember what they all mean.

According to a recent study by 1ST CENTRAL two-thirds of motorists admitted to being confused by basic road signs. And just over half of drivers either nearly crashed themselves or knew someone who had, due to misreading a road sign.

If you’ve passed your driving test, you should have demonstrated a good working knowledge of British road signs. But it might have been a while since then. So, here’s our quick refresher on how to recognise road signs:

Understand the three basic shapes

British road signs have three basic shapes. Make sure you know what each shape means.

Circular signs

Circular signs give orders, which you must follow by law.

Circular signs with red borders tell you what you must not do. For example, speed limit signs display a speed that you must not exceed. Signs with red circles can also tell you no left/right turns, no U-turns, and no entry.

Circular signs with blue borders give you instructions. For example, ahead only or turn left/right ahead.

Triangular signs

Triangular signs give warnings, usually about the road layout or hazardous road conditions ahead. These signs generally have red borders.

Common triangular signs include junction ahead, bend ahead, roundabout ahead, traffic lights ahead, and slippery road conditions.

Rectangular signs

Rectangular signs give information such as lane restrictions, no through roads, congestion charging zones, and bus lanes.

Blue rectangular signs give information on motorways to let drivers know about exits and distances to nearby towns and cities. Green rectangular signs perform the same function on primary roads, and white rectangular signs are used for minor roads.

Three signs that often cause confusion

These three signs often confuse drivers. Make sure you can recognise them:

‘No stopping’ sign

A red cross over a blue background tells you that you’re not allowed to stop, not even to drop off or pick up passengers. In some locations, such as on commuter roads or outside schools, these restrictions may only apply at certain times of the day. The details should be displayed on nearby rectangular signs.

This is one of the most confusing signs for motorists, and many drivers have broken the law by inadvertently parking on a clearway.

Don’t mix up the ‘no stopping’ sign with the ‘no waiting sign’, which features a single red diagonal stripe over a blue background.

‘No motor vehicles’ sign

This is a circular sign showing a motorcycle and a car on a white background with a red border.

It means you must not drive any vehicle down a road where this is shown.

It is sometimes misunderstood to mean only cars and motorcycles are permitted. Don’t make this mistake.

‘Priority over vehicles from opposite direction’ sign

If you see a rectangular blue sign with a large white arrow pointing up and a small red arrow pointing down, it means you have priority over vehicles travelling the other way.

Sometimes drivers get confused by this sign as they can’t figure out who has the right of way.

Learning to drive for the first time or looking for a refresher on your driving skills? At Lanes School of Driving we’ve been keeping drivers safe for over 100 years. Call us on 020 8166 5678 with your questions or to book in your next lesson.


What is the national speed limit?

Do you know the national speed limit?

Drivers are often complaining about speed limits, but knowing what they are and not exceeding them is a vital part of being a responsible driver. The confusing thing is that there are different speed limits depending on the type of your vehicle and the type of road you’re driving on.

If you don’t know the correct speed limit for a particular situation, you could put yourself and others at risk. You could be fined on the spot and given penalty points, or in extreme cases, have to go to court and face potential disqualification from driving.

Current speed limits by road and vehicle type

Cars, motorcycles, car-derived vans and dual-purpose vehicles:

  • Built up areas: 30mph
  • Single carriageways: 60mph
  • Dual carriageways: 70mph
  • Motorways: 70mph

Cars, motorcycles, car-derived vans and dual-purpose vehicles when towing caravans or trailers:

  • Built up areas: 30mph
  • Single carriageways: 50mph
  • Dual carriageways: 60mph
  • Motorways: 60mph

Motorhomes or motor caravans (not more than 3.05 tonnes maximum unladen weight):

  • Built up areas: 30mph
  • Single carriageways: 60mph
  • Dual carriageways: 70mph
  • Motorways: 70mph

Motorhomes or motor caravans (more than 3.05 tonnes maximum unladen weight):

  • Built up areas: 30mph
  • Single carriageways: 50mph
  • Dual carriageways: 60mph
  • Motorways: 70mph

Buses, coaches and minibuses (not more than 12 metres overall length):

  • Built up areas: 30mph
  • Single carriageways: 50mph
  • Dual carriageways: 60mph
  • Motorways: 70mph

Buses, coaches and minibuses (more than 12 metres overall length):

  • Built up areas: 30mph
  • Single carriageways: 50mph
  • Dual carriageways: 60mph
  • Motorways: 60mph

Goods vehicles (not more than 7.5 tonnes maximum laden weight):

  • Built up areas: 30mph
  • Single carriageways: 50mph
  • Dual carriageways: 60mph
  • Motorways: 70mph

Goods vehicles (more than 7.5 tonnes maximum laden weight) in England and Wales:

  • Built up areas: 30mph
  • Single carriageways: 50mph
  • Dual carriageways: 60mph
  • Motorways: 60mph

Goods vehicles (more than 7.5 tonnes maximum laden weight) in Scotland:

  • Built up areas: 30mph
  • Single carriageways: 40mph
  • Dual carriageways: 50mph
  • Motorways: 60mph

Variable speed limits

Variable speed limits are increasingly common on ‘smart motorways’ across the UK. They are used to improve traffic flow by reducing congestion. Look out for the variable speed limit displayed on gantries above the motorways.

Fixed speed limits

Fixed speed limits set by local authorities remain the most common type of speed limit. You can see them signposted with a number designating the speed limit inside a red circle when entering a speed limited zone. Depending on the zone the speed limit could be fixed at 20, 30, 40 or 50mph.

Outside these zones, the majority of UK roads are designated as ‘national speed limit’, which is indicated by a white, circular sign with a single black diagonal stripe running across it.

Fixed speed limits are typically enforced with Gatso speed cameras, and sometimes temporary camera vans parked at speeding hotspots.

Minimum speed limits

On rare occasions, minimum speed limits are imposed. They are marked with a round blue sign with a number designating the minimum speed. These are used in places like tunnels, where stationary or slow-moving traffic might cause a traffic risk or pollution hazard.

Speed limiters

Certain classes of vehicles are required by law to have a speed limiter which limits the maximum speed of a vehicle by restricting the fuel supply to the engine. These classes are:

  • Vehicles with more than 8 passenger seats, eg buses, minibuses, coaches, stretch limousines.
  • Goods vehicles with a maximum laden weight of more than 3.5 tonnes.

Learning to drive for the first time or looking to brush up your driving skills? At Lanes School of Driving we’ve been keeping drivers safe on the road for over 100 years. Call us on 020 8166 5678 with any questions or to book in your next lesson.

Driving instructor and student

What happens in a driving test?

It’s ok to be feeling nervous about your driving test. Of course, you really want to pass and be rewarded for your hard work. Try not to worry too much. The examiner is not there to trick you and they won’t ask you to do anything you haven’t practiced many times before during your lessons.

Having said that, it’s good to be prepared for the big day and to know what to expect.

What to bring for your driving test?

Make sure you bring the following essential items:

  • Your photocard provisional licence
  • Your theory test pass certificate
  • A car which is properly insured and licensed – you can use your driving instructor’s car or your own.

How long does the driving test last?

You’ll be driving for 40 minutes during the test.

What happens at the start of the driving test?

Before you start driving, you’ll be given an eyesight test. You’ll be asked to read a number plate from a distance of 20 metres. If you can’t, the test will end and you’ll have failed

Show me, tell me questions

Before and during the test, you’ll be asked two vehicle safety questions known as the ‘show me, tell me’ questions:

  • Tell me question: Explain how you’d carry out a safety task. This question is asked before you start driving.
  • Show me question: Show how you’d carry out a safety task. You will be asked to demonstrate this while driving.

What happens during the driving part of the test?

Your driving test will be conducted on a test route designed to be as consistent as possible and take you through a range of typical road and traffic conditions. During the driving test, your driving examiner will give you directions for you to follow and ask you to carry out set exercises.

General driving skill

Your examiner will assess your general driving skill. They will also ask you to perform one reversing exercise.

The reversing exercise will be one of the following:

  • Parallel park at the side of the road
  • Park in a parking bay – either by driving in and reversing out, or reversing in and driving out
  • Pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for around two car lengths, and rejoin the traffic

You’ll also be asked to perform an emergency stop.

Independent driving

There will be a part of your test where you’ll be asked to drive independently by following:

  • Traffic signs
  • A series of directions
  • A combination of both

What happens after your driving test

If you haven’t committed any serious faults, and you haven’t made more than 15 minor faults, you will pass your test.

If you’ve passed, well done! Your examiner will:

  • Tell you about any faults you made
  • Give you a pass certificate
  • Ask if you want your full licence to be sent to you automatically (within 3 weeks) – if so you’ll need to give the examiner your provisional licence

If you haven’t passed, your examiner will discuss your faults. Try not to feel too bad about it. Learn from your mistakes, and you can book another test 10 working days away.

To help you pass your driving test the first time, get in touch with our team of instructors at Lanes School of Driving. We’ve been helping people pass their driving tests for over 100 years. Just give us a call on 020 8166 5678 and you can be our next success story.

Car on european map

Having a UK licence after Brexit – is it valid?

With Brexit on everyone’s lips and the topic of conversation almost anywhere you turn, it’s hard not to get caught up in the uncertainty of it. As a nation, we love to holiday abroad and often that involves driving to somewhere in Europe for our summer hols or half-term. How will that be affected by Brexit and what can you do to prepare?

UK driving licences

First things, first. Your UK driving licence will still be valid in the UK. That will not change. The process of applying for and taking your tests will not be affected.

Driving overseas

This may change. At the moment there is still uncertainty over whether we will leave the European Union with an agreed deal or not – in other words, the potential for a no-deal Brexit. If a deal is to be struck, then details on the reciprocal driving licensing arrangements will be made public – at present it is unknown what form those may take.

If there is to be no deal, then going to a European Union country either with your vehicle or looking to hire one when you get there may require a little more forward planning. The system that will apply is the same as that which applies if you are looking to drive in a country that is outside the European Union – that of the International Driving Permit, or IDP. However, not all countries require one, and it will depend on what type of licence you have and how long you are going for.

For example, if you have a photocard licence and want to drive in Germany for a period of six months of less, then you don’t need an IDP. However, for longer periods of time or if you have an old paper licence, you will require one. To drive in France you will need an IDP regardless of the length of time that you are there or what kind of licence you have. For full details on what you need and for which country, visit the government’s dedicated website page.

Please be aware that if you are going to Ireland you don’t need an IDP, your UK driving licence will be enough.

International Driving Permits

There are three types of IDP with each one allowing you to drive in different countries, so you will need to check which one you need. It’s possible that you need more than one IDP if you are going to countries that are covered by different ones.

Getting an IDP is straightforward. All you need is your licence and passport-size photo for an IDP to be issued by the Post Office. It costs £5.50 for each type of IDP and they are valid for 12 months from the date of issue.

Remember to take both your licence and IDP(s) with you when you travel, one is not valid without the other!

Need a refresher course before you head off? Just get in touch with our Lanes School of Driving instructors. We have been keeping drivers safe on the road for the over 100 years and you could be our next graduate. Call us on 020 8166 5678 with any questions or to book in your first lesson.

Parent Teaching Teen to Drive

Provisional licences and how they work

If you or your children are at the age when they are ready to start driving then you are probably wondering what the process is and how you go about it. Learning to drive and applying for your licence are fairly straightforward processes, and we’re here to help by setting them out for you in a simple and easy-to-understand way to help you get on your way.

Provisional licences

The first step in the process is applying for a provisional licence. To do this, simply apply to the DVLA online, providing the following:

  • A form of identification, if you don’t have a UK biometric passport
  • Your home address(es) for the previous 3 years
  • Your National Insurance number

It costs £34 to apply online and you should receive your provisional licence within a week or so. You can also apply by post if you prefer. For this, the cost is £43, and you will need to enclose an original identity document (if you don’t have a UK biometric passport) and a colour photograph, together with payment by cheque or postal order. Your licence will take up to 3 weeks to arrive.

When can you apply?

You can apply for your provisional licence when you are aged 15 years old and 9 months. However, you can’t start driving a car until the age of 17, although you can drive a moped once you are 16 years of age. The exception to this is if you are getting the higher rate of the mobility component of the Disability Living Allowance, in which case you can drive a car from the age of 16.

Can you drive with a provisional licence?

In short, yes. But there are rules that you must stick to and restrictions that you must adhere to. They include the following:

  • You must be accompanied by someone who holds a full driving licence and is over the age of 21. They must also have held their licence for a minimum of 3 years. This could be a driving instructor, parent or other eligible person.
  • The person accompanying you must be in the front passenger seat.
  • They must also be fit to drive. This means that they must be within the legal limits when it comes to alcohol consumption.
  • If you are in England you must display L plates on the front and rear of your vehicle. If you are in Wales, you must use D plates.
  • You cannot drive on the motorway unless you are under the supervision of an approved driving instructor and the vehicle must be fitted with dual controls.
  • In cars you can carry passengers – as long as your supervising adult fits the criteria above of being over 21, fit to drive and has held their licence for more than 3 years.
  • You are not allowed to have passengers on a moped on a provisional licence.

As soon as you pass your driving test these restrictions will no longer apply, even before you receive your full licence in the post.

For more details or for an approved instructor to get you from provisional to full driving licence get in touch with us at Lanes School of Driving. Give us a call on 020 8166 5678 when you are ready, and we’ll get you on the road!

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