Applying for your provisional licence
First things first… before you can even get into a car and start learning to drive, you have to obtain a provisional driving licence. To apply for this, you must complete the application form D1 that’s available from either your local Post Office or the: ‘Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) form ordering service’ or by applying on-line via the DVLA web-site: DVLA
It can take about 4 weeks for your application to be processed and for your licence to be sent to you – so if you want to start learning by a set date, for example on your seventeenth birthday, make sure you apply early!
Your Driving Theory Test
The theory test is made up of two parts; a Multiple Choice section and a Hazard Perception test. The multiple choice part is delivered using a touch screen computer and mouse, while the hazard perception test records your responses through the use of a computer mouse button.
You have to pass both parts to successfully complete your theory test. If you pass one part and fail the other, you will fail the whole test, and will have to take both parts again. You can book your Theory test through the DSA (Driving Standards Agency) website.
The Practical Driving Test
The practical driving test is a 40 minute examination of your driving skills. You will be tested in various areas of competency, including set manoeuvres such as reverse parking, turning in the road, hill starts, emergency stops, observation and other aspects of day to day driving. In each area of competency you will be graded accordingly. The result of these grades will determine whether you have passed your driving test or not.
One of the most important aspects of your driving test is that of hazard perception. This is the ability to spot a situation which may require you to take a form of action to avoid the potential hazard. Techniques such as using the appropriate speed, awareness and anticipation, and planning ahead, will ultimately give you the time to make the correct decision when on your test. Research shows that hazard perception increases from experience gained whilst receiving professional in-car tuition.
Do not let the driving test intimidate you. Most, (if not all) pupils are nervous during the first few minutes of the test, and this is taken into account by the examiner. You will usually find that after 2 or 3 minutes, you will slip into your standard driving mode and think of the examiner as if he was your usual driving instructor. This will help to ease the pressure and allow you to give your best performance behind the wheel.
Once you have completed your driving test, the examiner will inform you whether you have passed or failed your driving test. The examiner will offer to de-brief you. If you are unfortunate enough to have failed your driving test, you must wait 10 working days before you can sit another.
Show and Tell
As part of your practical test, you will be asked to 'show and tell' how you would carry out safety and maintenance checks on your car. You‘will need to answer two questions correctly. Answering one or both of your questions incorrectly will count as a driving fault in your test, but if you study the questions and answers sheet that I provide, you will be fully prepared.
Applying for your Full Licence
Congratulations you passed! You can now get out on the road. Don’t forget that you now need to notify the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) and exchange your test pass certificate and provisional driving licence for a new ‘Full’ driving licence as soon as possible.