Once you have decided to learn to drive you must obtain a driving licence from the Driving Standards Agency. You can pick up the required form from most post offices or apply online. Be careful of rogue sites that will charge you more and may not provide a legal licence. You may apply for your driving licence 3 months before you turn 17 years old. It costs £34. (It was £50 before 31st Oct '14)
The driving licence comes as a plastic ID card with your photo and relevent information such as address, expiry dates and the categories you are allowed to drive. There is no counterpart any more as of 8th June '15.
To ensure the licence is valid, a quick online check may be done. The card holder must input their driver licence number, National Insurance number and postcode. They may then choose to share the licence details with a third party. A code will be generated which would be sent to the third party, eg driving instructor or car hire company, who uses it and the last 8 digits of your licence to see if the licence covers the vehicle you'd like to drive or for any points or endorsments. The code is only 72hrs and is for one use only.
This is the website to view your licence and generate the code.
This is the website I will use to see your licence is valid.
An eye sight check is necessary before going out for the first time.
You are required by law to be able to read a number plate from a distance of 20.5m in good light.
If you have to wear glasses to achieve this, then they must be worn for each drive you undertake.
It is best to learn to drive at the beginning in comfortable shoes that have a reasonable grip. This will help with getting used to the feel of the car through the pedals. Shoes without a heel strap may fall off and get lodged under a pedal. High heels may put your feet at a more uncomfortable angle. Large trainers may get caught between the pedals. After the basics have been mastered it is a good idea to experiment with different shoes as this is what is most likely to occur after the driving test has been passed.
If you have another car to practise in, this is very useful for gaining more road experience. Try to keep a record of where you went and what you did. List any questions that may crop up to ask your instructor on the next lesson.
Remember you must be insured on the car you drive and you must have another person with you who has held a UK licence for at least 3 years and over 21yrs old.
As a pupil of The Driving Instructor Lady you are entitled to a discount for learner insurance from certain companies. Ask Máiréad for a unique discount code!
If you do not have an alternative car to practise in, don't despair. The average amount of hours of practise is roughly the same. You are also less likely to develop bad habits with an instructor present.
You are not allowed on motorways until you have gained a full licence.
I was very nervous before my first driving lesson, but I felt at ease as soon as I met Máiréad