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Learn to drive a car: step by step


You can apply for a provisional driving licence when you’re 15 years and 9 months old.

You can start driving a car when you’re 17.

You can drive a car when you are 16 if you get, or have applied for, the enhanced rate of the mobility component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

You can check which vehicles you can learn to drive.

Rules for learning to drive

You must have a provisional driving licence for Great Britain or Northern Ireland when you’re learning to drive or ride.

When you have your provisional licence you can drive on all roads except for motorways.

You must be supervised when you’re learning to drive a car. This can be by a driving instructor or someone else who meets the rules, eg family or friends.

The car you learn in must display ‘L’ plates.

Taking driving lessons

Anyone you pay to teach you to drive must be either:

  • a qualified and approved driving instructor (ADI)
  • a trainee driving instructor

You can find your nearest driving instructors.

Instructors set their own prices for driving lessons – there’s no minimum or maximum cost.

Check your instructor’s badge

Instructors have to display a badge in their windscreen to prove they’re registered with the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). They display:

  • a green badge if they’re a qualified driving instructor
  • a pink badge if they’re a trainee

You can report someone to DVSA if they charge for driving lessons and aren’t a qualified driving instructor or trainee.

Driving lessons

There’s no minimum number of lessons you must have or hours you must practise driving.

How many lessons you need will depend on how quickly you learn. You can download a form to record your progress with your instructor.

You can complain about a driving instructor if you’re not happy with their service or behaviour.

Practising with family or friends

Anyone you practise your driving with (without paying them) must:

  • be over 21
  • be qualified to drive the type of vehicle you want to learn in, eg they must have a manual car licence if they’re supervising you in a manual car
  • have had their full driving licence for 3 years (from countries in the European Union or European Economic Area)

You can be fined up to £1,000 and get up to 6 penalty points on your provisional licence if you drive without the right supervision.

You can drive with as many passengers as the vehicle can legally hold.

It’s illegal for your friend or family member to use a mobile phone while supervising you.


You need your own insurance as a learner driver if you’re practising in a car you own. Your family member or friend will usually be covered on this.

If you’re practising in someone else’s car, you need to make sure their insurance policy covers you as a learner driver.

Some insurance companies require the person supervising you to be over 25 years old.

You can get an unlimited fine, be banned from driving and get up to 8 penalty points for driving without insurance.

Recording your practice

You can download a form to record any practice you do without your driving instructor.

Using ‘L’ and ‘P’ plates

You must put an L plate on the front and back of your vehicle so they can be seen easily.

In Wales, you can use a D plate instead.

An L plate or D plate must:

  • have a red L or D on a white background
  • be the right size

You can get up to 6 penalty points if you don’t display an L plate or if it isn’t the right size.

You should take L plates off your vehicle when it’s not being used by a learner.

P plates

You can display green ‘probationary’ P plates to show that you’ve just passed your driving test. You don’t have to display them. You can leave them on your vehicle for as long as you like.

Source : Gov.UK