If you're keen to get behind the wheel then check out this section for information on learning to drive and what you need to do to pass your driving test.
Most people can't wait to be old enough to drive. But before you start planning the road trip you'll need to sort out a provisional licence, driving lessons and pass your test.
When can I start learning to drive?
Before you can start learning to drive you must be aged 17 or over and have a provisional driving licence.
Provisional driving licence
You can apply for a provisional licence up to three months before your 17th birthday. If you do apply for your provisional licence before you're 17 then you will still have to wait until your birthday before you can take your theory test.
You can apply for a provisional licence online at the Gov UK website. You’ll need a credit or debit card (ask your parents/guardian if you don't have one) as a provisional licence costs £50.
If you prefer you can pick up an application form from your local Post Office.
Learning to drive
Until you pass your test you must:
- display ‘L’ plates whenever you drive.
- have someone with a full driving EC licence to supervise you. They will need to be over the age of 21 and have three years of driving experience.
Learning to drive can be expensive but it’s well worthwhile to invest in some driving lessons. Shop around and ask friends about the costs of different driving schools.
You can sometimes get discounts on your driving lessons with your Young Scot card, see the Discount section for more information.
Once you’ve had enough lessons and your instructor thinks you’re good enough to take your driving test, you can sit your theory test. It’s made up of two parts:
- a multiple choice part
- a hazard perception part.
Next comes the practical part of the test, which starts with an eyesight check and some vehicle safety questions. Then the driving test will last about 40 minutes.
One exercise will be chosen from: reversing around a corner, turning in the road and reverse parking. You may also be asked to carry out an emergency stop exercise.
Your practical will contain 10 minutes of ‘independent driving’. At anytime in your test your driving instructor will ask you to drive independently to a particular location. You will be asked to follow either traffic signs, a set of verbal directions and diagrams, or a combination of both. Independent driving is not a test of your orientation and navigation skills but your ability to make decisions when driving. This includes deciding when it’s safe and appropriate to ask for confirmation about where you’re going.
Throughout your practical test your examiner will be looking to see that you can drive, position and signal well and that you have an overall safe standard of driving.You can make up to 15 driving faults and still pass but if you commit one serious or dangerous fault you will fail the test.
Book your test
You can book both your theory and practical test online. Just go to the Gov UK - Driving website.