Are you ready to drive
Being able to drive is a fantastic skill: it can give you the freedom to go where you want, when you want.
Learning to drive checklist
To learn to drive a car, you must:
- be 17 years old.*
- hold a provisional licence for Great Britain or Northern Ireland.
- be able to read a number plate from 20 metres away (with glasses or contact lenses if you need them, as long as you always wear them when you’re driving).
- make sure any vehicle you drive is roadworthy and properly taxed and insured.
- display L plates on the front and rear of your vehicle (L or D plates in Wales)..
- be accompanied by a qualified driver who is over 21 and has held a full British car driving licence for at least 3 years.
- Remember: the rules of the road apply to learners as well as fully-qualified drivers. Provisional licence holders can still be fined and given penalty points for breaking the law.
*16 years old if you get, or have applied for, the enhanced rate of the mobility component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
Learning to be a safe and confident driver
Good driving is not just about learning the rules of the road: your skill and attitude are important too.
A good driver:
- is responsible
- shows excellent concentration
- anticipates and responds to hazards
- is patient and considerate with other road users
- is confident, but not over confident
- keeps improving by learning from experience
GOV.UK top links
- Apply for your first provisional driving licence
- Driving eyesight rules
- Driving lessons and learning to drive
- Practising with family or friends
- Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
So you’ve got your provisional driving licence.
Here are the recommended steps you’ll need to take to start learning to drive.
About the questions
You’ll be asked 2 vehicle safety questions during your car driving test.
The examiner will ask you one:
- ‘tell me’ question (where you explain how you’d carry out a safety task) at the start of your test, before you start driving
- ‘show me’ question (where you show how you’d carry out a safety task) while you’re driving
You’ll get one driving fault (sometimes called a ‘minor’) if you get one or both questions wrong.
You’ll fail your driving test if your driving is dangerous or potentially dangerous while you answer the ‘show me’ question.
Get ready for your driving test
Get ready to pass your driving test, find out why people fail, learn how to deal with nerves and find out more about how the test works.
‘Tell me’ questions
1. Tell me how you’d check that the brakes are working before starting a journey.
Brakes should not feel spongy or slack. Brakes should be tested as you set off. Vehicle should not pull to one side.
2. Tell me where you’d find the information for the recommended tyre pressures for this car and how tyre pressures should be checked.
Manufacturer’s guide, use a reliable pressure gauge, check and adjust pressures when tyres are cold, don’t forget spare tyre, remember to refit valve caps.
3. Tell me how you make sure your head restraint is correctly adjusted so it provides the best protection in the event of a crash.
The head restraint should be adjusted so the rigid part of the head restraint is at least as high as the eye or top of the ears, and as close to the back of the head as is comfortable. Note: Some restraints might not be adjustable.
4. Tell me how you’d check the tyres to ensure that they have sufficient tread depth and that their general condition is safe to use on the road.
No cuts and bulges, 1.6mm of tread depth across the central three-quarters of the breadth of the tyre, and around the entire outer circumference of the tyre.
5. Tell me how you’d check that the headlights and tail lights are working. You don’t need to exit the vehicle.
Explain you’d operate the switch (turn on ignition if necessary), then walk round vehicle (as this is a ‘tell me’ question, you don’t need to physically check the lights).
6. Tell me how you’d know if there was a problem with your anti-lock braking system.
Warning light should illuminate if there is a fault with the anti-lock braking system.
7. Tell me how you’d check the direction indicators are working. You don’t need to exit the vehicle.
Explain you’d operate the switch (turn on ignition if necessary), and then walk round vehicle (as this is a ‘tell me’ question, you don’t need to physically check the lights).
8. Tell me how you’d check the brake lights are working on this car.
Explain you’d operate the brake pedal, make use of reflections in windows or doors, or ask someone to help.
9. Tell me how you’d check the power-assisted steering is working before starting a journey.
If the steering becomes heavy, the system may not be working properly. Before starting a journey, 2 simple checks can be made.
Gentle pressure on the steering wheel, maintained while the engine is started, should result in a slight but noticeable movement as the system begins to operate. Alternatively turning the steering wheel just after moving off will give an immediate indication that the power assistance is functioning.
10. Tell me how you’d switch on the rear fog light(s) and explain when you’d use it/them. You don’t need to exit the vehicle.
Operate switch (turn on dipped headlights and ignition if necessary). Check warning light is on. Explain use.
11. Tell me how you switch your headlight from dipped to main beam and explain how you’d know the main beam is on.
Operate switch (with ignition or engine on if necessary), check with main beam warning light.
12. Open the bonnet and tell me how you’d check that the engine has sufficient oil.
Identify dipstick/oil level indicator, describe check of oil level against the minimum and maximum markers.
13. Open the bonnet and tell me how you’d check that the engine has sufficient engine coolant.
Identify high and low level markings on header tank where fitted or radiator filler cap, and describe how to top up to correct level.
14. Open the bonnet and tell me how you’d check that you have a safe level of hydraulic brake fluid.
Identify reservoir, check level against high and low markings.
You need to open the bonnet and tell the examiner how you’d do the check if you’re asked question 12, 13 or 14.
‘Show me’ questions
- When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you wash and clean the rear windscreen?
- When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you wash and clean the front windscreen?
- When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d switch on your dipped headlights?
- When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d set the rear demister?
- When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d operate the horn?
- When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d demist the front windscreen?
- When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d open and close the side window?