Are you thinking about learning to drive? There are a few things you need to consider before you get on the road.

An overview:

  • In the UK you have to be 17 years old to learn how to drive
  • You must have a provisional driving license
  • You must have insurance when learning to drive with friends and family
  • You must display L Plates when you’re learning
  • You must be accompanied when driving on a provisional license


The Licence:

learners licence

The first thing you are going to need is a provisional driving licence. You can apply for this before you are 17 so it is possible to have a driving lesson on your 17th birthday. You can either go to The Post Office or get it online from GOV.UK.

So you know: If you are driving on an overseas licence you have one year from your time of entry into the UK.

Because of the various checks that go into a driving licence, it becomes a very valid identity document. In addition, there is an online checking service where people can check your license is legitimate. As a driving instructor, I am normally too lazy to use this. But give me the slightest hint something is not right and I will be checking.


Car Insurance

Go with a professional instructor and your insurance worries are over.

If you are using a family or friends car you must check. The person sat next to you must be over 21 and have had a licence for 3 years. Some companies say that the supervising driver must be over 25. Not having the right supervisor can get you fined £1,000 and 6 penalty points.

The average motor insurance claim is around the £3,000 mark. Some claims are an awful lot higher. Having no insurance or invalid insurance could mean an unlimited fine and 8 points on your licence.

You must tell your insurance company everything. If you don’t and things go wrong, you’ll be in trouble

Being sat next to me is the safest you’re going to ever feel I have been a driving instructor for a long time. This is reflected in my insurance which is fully comprehensive with hire and reward and I pay under £500 a year,


learners car

If you are a learner you must display ‘L’ plates on the front and back of my car. They should be placed on the driver’s side of the car to make them more easily seen by the other drivers.

Buy them, don’t make them as they must be a certain size and shape so everyone can recognise them. They should be removed when not being used. Professional driving instructors are allowed to keep them on.

You can buy ‘L’ plates from places such as big supermarkets and petrol stations. My car is covered in ‘L’ plates, forward, behind, both sides and on top. No one has the excuse of not knowing mine is a learner car. I am very careful about what I do.


driving-pro instructor and pupil

Anyone can teach you to drive, but only a professional driving instructor can take money from you for doing that. The school of mum and dad can be great for practising outside of lessons, just make sure you have the correct insurance, your ‘L’ plates and your provisional license. Like a lot of my instructor friends, it’s frustrating when we hear of non-professionals charging students. We worked hard to get where we are and we make sure that everything is safe: proper insurance and duel controls. We train to instruct and if we are any good, keep training. The government also carries out regular checks to make sure you, as a learner are safe.”