Learning to drive
Before learning to drive a vehicle on a road you must obtain a provisional licence for the class of vehicle you intend to drive.
Special note for motor bicycle learners
A person wishing to learn to ride a motor bicycle, a scooter or a 2 wheeled moped will be issued with a provisional licence that is valid only for driving such a vehicle whilst undergoing a course of Compulsory Basic Training (CBT). That restriction will no longer apply to the provisional licence once the learner rider has obtained a certificate of successful completion of the CBT course.
Before taking a practical test either on a motorbike or in a vehicle with 3 or more wheels, you must pass a theory test whilst you are learning to drive.
There is a standard theory test for driving a car and a separate theory test for riding a motorcycle, scooter or a moped. If you wish to take practical tests to drive both a motorcycle (including a scooter or moped) and another vehicle you must pass 2 separate theory tests.
For driving on a road only an agricultural tractor, road roller, engineering plant vehicle, steam vehicle, works truck, pedestrian-controlled vehicle or a motor mowing machine the learner driver may, if he/she wishes, take the practical test without providing a theory test pass certificate, but in that case the driving examiner will ask questions to satisfy himself that the candidate has appropriate knowledge of the Highway Code.
Preparing for the practical test
Make sure you have good instruction and enough of it. You can pass the test first time if you are properly prepared. Unless you are learning to drive a motor bicycle (or another vehicle that is not designed for a passenger to be seated alongside the driver) you are only allowed to drive with a qualified driver accompanying you. The qualified driver must be at least 21 years of age and have held a full licence for at least 3 years. You must display L plates on the vehicle, and you may not drive the vehicle at more than 50mph.
You should practice over different roads and get as much experience in traffic as you possibly can. Choose suitable places to try the exercises you will have to do in the test, but please make sure that you do not cause danger or obstruction to other road users, or annoy people living nearby by prolonged or noisy practising of the exercises.
You must study the Highway Code. You will also find 'DRIVING' (the official driving manual published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office) a great help. The manual describes the safest driving techniques and procedures for all drivers. It is particularly important that, as a new driver, you should learn and practice them from the beginning. Bad driving habits are dangerous and once learnt they are difficult to cure. So put the lessons of the Highway Code and 'DRIVING' into practice from the beginning of your training.
Once your instructor considers you are ready to take the driving test, you will need to complete the Application to Take a Driving Test form (see downloadable documents) or apply online.
Documents required when taking your practical driving test
You will need your Theory Test Pass Certificate, your Provisional Driving Licence and your insurance certificate with you when you take your practical driving test. The Theory Pass Certificate must not be more than 2 years old when you take a practical driving test.
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