The rules for learner drivers

Before you start to drive, you must:

  • Hold a valid, provisional driving licence for Great Britain or Northern Ireland
  • Make sure that any vehicle you drive is roadworthy and properly taxed and insured

It is important to learn safe driving practice from the beginning of your driving career because bad habits are hard to break.

It is unlikely that anyone except an approved driving instructor (ADI) would have the experience, knowledge and training to teach you properly. Learning safe driving habits from the start will improve the safety of yourself and other road users.If you want to practise your driving with an accompanying driver, the accompanying driver must be over the age of 21 and must have held (and still hold) a full licence for three years.

As a learner driver you must display 'L' plates in a conspicuous position on the front and rear of the vehicle you are driving.


Minimum age you can take a test

You can take your theory test once your provisional licence becomes valid.

Normally, for car drivers, the earliest date your provisional licence can become valid is your 17th birthday, however you can apply for the licence up to three months before your 17th birthday.

So, if you apply for your provisional licence before you are 17 you will still have to wait until your birthday before you can take your theory test.

For more information about applying for a provisional licence, click here.


Disability living allowance

If you are receiving disability living allowance at the higher rate your provisional licence will come into effect when you are 16, but you can apply for it within three months of your 16th birthday.