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The first steps in learning to drive

Like any journey, learning to drive begins with the first steps. FirstCar is here to guide you through the learning process, from applying for your provisional licence, to choosing an instructor, to preparing for your first driving lesson.

Under-17 driving lessons

You can’t drive on the public road until you are 17, but you can drive on private land. There are lots of companies all over the country offering under-17 driving experiences for young drivers. These can help you get to grips with the basics of controlling a car, and improve your understanding of road safety.

Applying for your provisional licence

One of the first steps in learning to drive is applying for your provisional licence. In theory you can do this when you are 15 years and nine months old, but this is really for someone who wants to ride a scooter at 16. Applying three months before your 17th birthday gives more than enough time for your licence to arrive.

The quickest (and cheapest!) way is to apply online through the gov.uk website. It costs £34.

You’ll need…

  • proof of ID unless you have a valid UK biometric passport
  • addresses where you’ve lived over the last 3 years
  • your National Insurance number if you know it

It should take a week or so to arrive.

If you’d rather make life complicated you can queue for a D1 application form at the Post Office, but as this costs an extra £9 and it will take up to three weeks for your licence to arrive, so there’s not a lot of point.

Choosing a driving instructor

Another of the first steps in learning to drive is choosing a driving instructor. It’s really important that you click with your instructor, as you’re going to need to work together for weeks or months as you build towards your practical driving test.

Ask older friends for recommendations. Phone two or three instructors for a chat, to get a feel for who you are going to get on with. Then book a lesson or two to see if you gel in person. Once you are sure the instructor is right for you then take advantage of any discount for making a block booking.

Your first driving lesson

The most exciting (or maybe nerve-racking!) of the first steps in learning to drive is your first driving lesson.

Before you get behind the wheel…

  • Get a good night’s rest.
  • Wear comfortable clothes and shoes that will make it easy to operate the pedals.
  • Have something to eat and drink to boost your energy.

Enjoy it! This is when the fun really starts!

Find a RED Driving Instructor near you

Find a RED Driving Instructor near you

RED’s experienced instructors operate nationwide. So whether you’re learning in Newcastle or Norwich or Plymouth or Preston, they’ll find the perfect instructor to help you on your journey to passing.

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