The Learning Experience
To be able to drive confidently and safely you need to have learned how to control the vehicle, to understand the rules of the road (Highway Code and Theory tuition) and to be able to use them. Just to know a thing does not mean that you can use the knowledge competently. This takes practice and a lot of planning. You need to be able to make decisions at speeds varying from 0 – 70 miles per hour and these decisions will affect not only yourself but other road users too.
It is essential that you take the time to become proficient in all aspects of driving on our roads to the standard expected of you on your driving tests and only take your practical test when you are ready. Following a successful practical test the Pass Plus course will give you extra practice in areas you may not have had the chance to study and will often lead to a discount on your insurance premiums.
Licence and Test Information
In the UK, driving tests are conducted by the Driving & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). Check out the website at www.gov.uk , then click on the link for Driving and Transport. This contains all the information that learners and new drivers need to know.
Before you can learn to drive a car, moped or motorcycle you must apply for a provisional driving licence. If you already hold a valid full driving licence and want to learn to drive larger vehicles, minibuses or buses you will need to apply for provisional entitlement for these vehicles. You have to be 17 years of age to obtain a provisional licence, but you can apply up to three months before your 17th birthday.
You can apply for your first provisional driving licence for a car, moped or motorcycle using the government’s secure and easy to use online service at: gov.uk/apply-first-
The Theory Test
Before you apply for your theory test you will need a provisional licence. The website gov.uk will give you all the information you need to know. May I suggest that you only book your Theory Test through this website, as there are rogue traders out there offering to book for you at inflated prices (the current fee is £23).
Since January 2012 the test questions have been sourced from the information provided in the DSA theory books and DVD sets . This means that you will need to understand the rules, the logic behind them and be able to apply them in different circumstances, not just to remember the answers. The video clips for the hazard perception section of the test are different from those published.
The easiest way to see why the rules exist is to take driving lessons whilst you are studying for your theory exam, this will enable you to see first hand how they work, which often makes it easier to remember too.
The Practical Test
The practical test will last approximately 40 minutes beginning and ending at your local Test Centre. Throughout the drive, you are permitted a maximum of 15 driver faults. A serious or dangerous fault would result in a fail. I will work with you to agree on a test date, making sure you feel ready and ultimately confident to drive alone. We will do practice mock-tests so we can focus on any areas that need brushing up before test day. I am happy to book a driving test on your behalf, but if you would like more information go to: gov.uk. The current test fee is £62.00.
The Pass Plus Course
Pass Plus is an established training course aimed at new drivers. It was designed by the Driving & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) with the help of insurers and the driving instruction industry. Statistics show that new drivers are more likely to have an accident in the first two years after passing their test. This is because of their lack of driving experience.
Pass Plus builds on your skills and knowledge. It will teach you how to anticipate, plan for and deal with all kinds of hazards, to help you become a more confident driver. You can take a Pass Plus course at any time. However, it’s mainly aimed at new drivers in the first year after passing their test. Some insurance companies may offer a discount on successful completion of the course. Check out gov.uk/pass-plus if you would like more information.
Pass Plus takes at least 6 hours and consists of six modules about driving in different conditions:
• in town
• in all weathers
• on rural roads
• at night
• on dual carriageways
• on motorways
These are similar to Pass Plus lessons return and driving will not seem such a terrifying ordeal. After a few lessons getting the hang of things again your confidence will return. Then you choose which areas you wish to cover following a discussion about the kind of driving you intend to do. Usually people want to try all of the sections as their confidence returns.