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Before you’re allowed to drive on the roads, you will need to get a provisional licence so you can get driving lessons from a professional driving instructor or your slightly terrified parent. You’ll also need one before you can take your driving theory test. Once you have your provisional licence, you need to make sure you know all the restrictions and rules that come with it to ensure you successfully pass your tests and can get your full licence.

When can I apply for a provisional driving licence?

If you want a provisional to learn how to drive a car, you can apply for it up to three months before your 17th birthday – perfect if you want to start driving as soon as possible. However, if you receive the Personal Independence Payment’s enhanced mobility component, you can learn how to drive at 16.

How do I apply for a provisional driving licence?

You can apply for your provisional driving licence either online or by post by filling in a D1 application form. You will find D1 forms at the Post Office or on the government website. As well as making sure you meet the minimum age restriction, you will need to have the following information to hand:

  • Proof of identification (e.g. Passport)
  • All the addresses you’ve lived at for the past three years
  • Your National Insurance number
  • A colour, passport-style photograph

The cost of your provisional driving licence is £34 if you apply online, which can be paid by debit or credit card. Your provisional licence will cost you £43 if you’re applying by post, and you’ll need to send a cheque or postal order; not cash.

You will also need to be able to read the number plate of a car made after September 2001 from 20 metres, which you can do with the assistance of glasses or contact lenses.

Restrictions on your provisional licence

There are a number of restrictions on your provisional licence to drive a car that you need to be aware of:

  • When you’re driving, you will need to be accompanied in the front passenger seat by an adult over 21 years old, who has held a full licence for three years or more.
  • This person needs to be fit to drive when accompanying you, which doesn’t include giving your older friend or sibling a lift home from the pub at the end of the night.
  • They need to hold a full licence to drive the type of vehicle you’re learning to drive, so if you want to learn to drive a manual car, they need to have held a full licence for manual vehicles for at least three years.
  • You can’t drive on the motorway with a provisional licence.
  • Both the front and back of your vehicle must display L plates when you’re driving.

The good news is that these restrictions are lifted as soon as you pass your practical driving test, even if you haven’t received your full licence in the post yet.

For more information on our driving crash courses to get your full driving licences as soon as possible, call us on 07788 973 538 or send us a message online.

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