The legal age limit in the UK for becoming a learner driver is 17 years of age; however, this age is 16 if you are classed differently abled. To be compliant with the law of the UK it is imperative that you understand the law and legislation of learning to drive. All learner drivers and full licence holders should be up-to-date with all legislations and laws to maintain a safe and legal life on the road.
The following guide will help ensure you get of to a good start.
When learning to drive in the UK, it is important to adhere to the following:
- You must be at least17 years of age
- You must hold a provisional driving licence for the vehicle you will be driving (manual or automatic)
- You must be insured to drive the vehicle. If you are learning to drive in your own vehicle, or another person’s, it is important that you have the correct cover.
- The vehicle must be in a road worthy condition. You must maintain regular checks of the vehicle to ensure the vehicle is road safe and legal.
- It is vital that you are able to read the required distance needed of 20 metres with/without glasses. If glasses are needed these should be worn at all times whilst driving.
- Only learn to drive with a person over the age of 21 years, who is a full UK licence holder and who has held their licence for more than three years.
- You must display ‘L’ plates at the front and rear of the car. If you are in Wales then ‘D’ plates should be used.
- It is important that you are in good health and fit to drive.
Applying for a provisional licence
Disabled drivers: If you are in receipt of Disability Living Allowance you may apply for your provisional licence three months before your sixteenth birthday. For all other drivers you are able to apply for your licence three months prior to your seventeenth birthday. You can obtain a D1 form from participating Post Offices or you can apply online here. It is also important to ensure you have the correct licence for the vehicle you are learning in.
Learner Car Insurance
When learning to drive it is important that the vehicle you drive is fully insured for you to do so. All Approved Driving Instructors (ADI) will have specialist insurance specifically for learner drivers. If you are planning to practice privately make sure that the car you are learning in has a minimum of third party insurance. If in doubt, ask the owner of the vehicle for proof of their insurance that covers you to drive their vehicle as a learner driver. If you are the owner of the vehicle, make sure that you clarify that you are learning to drive. Remember- you need to be insured not only the owner of the vehicle. You can find some reputable insurance companies online, or if in doubt, ask your friends who they insure their car with.
Driving School Car
It is important to ensure that the car you drive is safe and legal to be out on the road. Here are some of the things that you should ensure are legal and safe prior to commencing your driving lesson.
- The tyres should have an overall tread depth of 1.6 mm. This is the minimum amount required by the law. A good tyre will have a lot more tread of the tyre. You should also check the tyres for any signs of damage, wear and tear.
- The vehicle should have sufficient fluid levels. These are to include: engine oil, brake fluid, windscreen wash, power steering fluid (if applicable) engine coolant.
- The car should have a valid MOT certificate and a valid road tax disc.
- It is important to check that all the lights and the horn on the vehicle are in good working order.
As a new driver, it is important that you regularly check the car for basic maintenance. The practical test requires all learner drivers to be compliant with basic maintenance checks of the vehicle. This part of the practical driving test is known as the ‘show me tell me’ questions. You can view a copy of them here
It is important that you are able to read a new style number plate from 20.5 metres away, or an old style number plate of 20.5 metres. If you are not able to read from the required distance, then it is advised that you do not drive and seek advice from a qualified optician.
It is important that the person you learn to drive with is over the age of 21 and has held their full UK licence for more than three years. It is also important to note, that they must hold the same licence category that you are learning towards. An automatic licence holder is not permitted to legally sit with/teach a learner of a manual transition car. If in doubt it is advisable to ask to look at their licence. It is also illegal to pay a trainer who isn’t a qualified instructor for tuition.
You must display L-plates that are visible from both the front and rear of the car. In Wales you are permitted to display D-plates. You can purchase these in our shop here at the Learner POD or any reputable shop online. If you were stopped by the police/or involved in an accident and you ahd no L-plates displayed; your insurance may be invalid and you may face prosecution, penalties and a fine.
It is important to maintain good health whilst learning to drive and subsequently when you continue to become a full licence holder. Failure to disclose any information to the DVSA on any changes in your health could result in a £1000 fine. If in doubt you can check for any medical conditions here.