Learning To Drive: From Start to Finish

Passing your driving test is a rite of passage for any young adult, and it's an incredibly useful skill to have. Being mobile gives you far more independence, no more asking for lifts or waiting for unreliable public transport- whenever you want to go somewhere you can simply hop in your car and go with no hassle. If you're hoping to get onto the roads and reap the rewards of what driving can bring, here are a few things to bear in mind. 

Getting Your Provisional 
Before you can take lessons you need to first apply for a provisional driver's license. You can get this three months before you turn seventeen, although you won't be able to take lessons until your seventeeth birthday. You can apply using a form through the post office, although these days it's easier to do it all online. It costs £34 and can take a few weeks to arrive, so these are both things to bear in mind. 

Professional or Personal Driving Lessons 
When you're a brand new driver who has never controlled a car, your best bet would be to have lessons with a professional instructor. They will be able to teach you the correct techniques and procedures for controlling the car and ensure everything is done in a safe way. Once you know the basics of driving, having lessons from family and friends can be useful. The person you're driving with must be over twenty one years old and have had their licence for three years. They can't be under the influence or using a mobile phone while they are teaching you. And you of course need the right learner driver insurance to legally go out. Since you can't pay anyone who isn't a professional driving instructor for lessons, it's a great free way to improve your driving experience. My first port of call was finding a professional driving school in Coventry, and once I was more confident I went out for a few hours with friends and family. 

The theory is designed to test you on your knowledge of the roads, so you will need to learn everything from road signs to braking distances and much more. To pass the test you have to score at least forty three out of fifty points and it's not something you can just guess at. There is also a 'hazard perception' section which tests you on your ability to spot developing hazards. Buy the most recent theory test DVD online and practice using that, it will teach you everything you need to know. Be sure to put in the hours for revision, if you fail it will be disheartening and cost you more money. It might take you a few weeks to be able to book a spot to take your test depending on how busy your local town or city is, so it's best to book it first and then use the time leading up to it to revise. 

Most people need around forty professional driving lessons along with additional private practice before they're ready to take their driving test. However it's a very personal thing, you can mention to your instructor once you feel ready and get their feedback on it. Stats show that most people also fail their first test, so an additional test (or further tests) needs to be budgeted for just in case- I passed on the fourth attempt! At the start of the test you will be given a brief eyesight test- just to see if you can see a number plate from twenty metres away. You will be asked two 'show me tell me' questions regarding the safety and workings of the car, so be sure to revise these in advance of your test. The test itself lasts for around forty five minutes, during which you will be tested on your general driving, following road signs, following instructions, stopping and pulling away, reversing and more.

Getting onto the roads
Finally, once you're a qualified driver you can purchase yourself a car and get onto the roads. Buying a car is never going to be cheap, but you have the option of taking out finance to spread the cost. You could save while you were taking your driving lessons so you have a chunk of money to put towards a deposit, or you could search used car deals from sites like London Motor Company.

It's a long process but it's so worth doing, if you're on the fence then definitely consider calling up an instructor and getting started.

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