Getting Started

Now that you’re behind the steering wheel, let's set out how you’re going to get your full driving licence. You will be taken through a properly structured course of tuition and will not be expected to move through the course at a faster rate than what you are comfortable with. 

 

A taste of some of the things you will learn to do is given below:

 

  •   Moving off, stopping and steering an accurate course

  •   Using clutch control

  •   Driving on dual carriageways at speeds of up to 70mph

  •   Reversing

  •   Emergency stop

  •   Using a sat nav and navigating by road signs

  •   Anticipating the action of others, forward planning and hazard awareness

  •   Basic car maintenance

 

This list is by no means exhaustive and the full list is long and varied, but you are learning a life skill and something as vital as driving safely is not something to skimp on. What you learn could one day save your life so please don’t skimp on your learning.

 

Finally please remember that, as the driver, YOU are legally responsible for your vehicle, whether that is speeding or driving dangerously/recklessly, It is YOU and NOT your instructor who will face prosecution should anything go wrong. Obviously, your instructor will try to ensure that you don’t do anything to put you in such a situation, but please remember that ultimately, YOU are responsible.

So what's next......?

There are two stages you must go through before you get your fully licence, and you’re bound to have some questions. Here are a few of the most common ones together with the answers, but if you have any more questions please ask your instructor.

 

 

 

 

Start studying for your Theory & Hazard Perception Test. Thinking logically, if you bought a new PC game, the first thing you would do is read the rules on how to play it. Learning to drive is no different. Read the Highway Code, study for your theory and start learning about hazard perception. This will all speed up the learning process.

 

 

In the Theory exam. You will be faced with 50 questions of which you must get at least 43 correct in order to pass. You cannot learn the theory just from an app and so it is essential to do some background reading, especially the Highway Code. Remember, if you fail by 1 mark, you haven’t just failed by 1 mark, you’ve actually got 8 questions, or 1 in every 6, wrong.

 

On the Hazard Perception part, you will watch 14 videos and have to identify 15 developing hazards (one video will have two hazards in it). The sooner you see the hazard, the higher the mark you will receive, and in order to pass, you must get at least 44 out of the 75 available marks.

 

Both parts must be passed at the same time; if you pass one and fail the other you will still need to retake both tests.  If you pass both parts, you will be given a certificate which you should look after as you will need the certificate number when it becomes time to book your practical test. Your practical test cannot be booked until you have passed your theory/hazard perception test.  

Please also note that passing your theory test does not automatically mean that you are ready to take your practical test.

Click here to access our bookshop where you will find all the resources you will need.

What should I do first once I've started my lessons?

How many hours will I need?

One of the most common questions we get asked is: How many driving lessons do I need? The honest answer is that until we see you drive for a few lessons, we have absolutely no idea as people pick things up in different ways and at different rates.

 

Have a look at the following table that was compiled by using information from the DVSA from data they collected and which will give you a rough idea.

The DVSA have gone on record to say that the average teenager takes 45 hours with an instructor and undertakes 22 hours of private practice in addition.

 

It is tricky for anyone to give you an exact answer but assuming you turn up for your lessons consistently, in good health (not tired, drained or otherwise unwell), follow any after-lesson advice (reading up on things etc) you will probably find the above figures fairly accurate. 

However, this figure may change if you miss lessons regularly, or turn up tired and therefore unable to concentrate fully.  Learning to drive is a two-way relationship; if the instructor and pupil are working at 80-100% together, that will mean better progress than the instructor working at 80-100% and the pupil working at 40% due to tiredness or illness.

It can be quite difficult to judge when you’re ready for your practical driving test, even for your driving instructor sometimes. Some learners think that they’re ready from the moment they hop into the car for the first time, and others don’t have the confidence to take the leap from learning to full licence holder. So, whether you’re an eager beaver or a nervous nelly, have a look at the following list and decide where you are:

But remember - failure isn’t the end of the world. Sometimes the best drivers need a few attempts to get it right - so don’t take a fail to heart.

One final word of warning here though:

We can’t stop you taking your test before your instructor thinks you’re ready; however we will have no hesitation in withholding the use of the driving school car if we don’t think you’re ready. This will mean that you will need to take the test in your/your parents’ car if you still wish to go ahead. We really don’t want to do this, although we are entitled to do so if, in our professional opinion, you are not ready; we have also have a duty to DVSA examiners to only present pupils who we believe are safe and ready to go it alone.

 

 

 

You can do as many hours as you like, providing your instructor has diary space. It’s fair to say that when you first start, little and often is better, while longer lessons can be beneficial as you approach your driving test. We recommend doing one-and-a-half hour lessons as this means less travelling time and more practice time.

Providing you give adequate notice, we will do our best to be flexible with you. Remember however, that you instructor organises his/her diary around usual pick up and drop off points, so if you leave it until you get into the car at the start of your lesson to ask if you can be dropped off somewhere different, be prepared for the answer to be ‘no’, as your instructor will already have made plans for getting to the next lesson and your request may make him/her late for the that lesson.

You can pay for lessons by cash or bank transfer and if your instructor allows, by PayPal 

Please note we no longer accept cheques.

You must pay either in advance or at the time of your lesson.  If you need to go to a cash machine, please inform your instructor at the start of the lesson.

We do not allow credit for lessons but if, in exceptional circumstances, your instructor is happy for you to pay on your next lesson a surcharge of £5 may apply

Basically, a safe confident drive. Don’t put on an act for your test or drive any differently to how you've driven on your lessons, just drive normally as the examiner will see through any act fairly quickly. Your instructor will give you more detailed information as you approach your test but these are the areas that will be assessed:

 

  •   Eyesight check - fail this and you won’t even get in the car

  •   Starting precautions

  •   Use of the controls of the car

  •   Moving away safely & positioning for normal stops at the roadside

  •   Use of mirrors

  •   Emergency stop

  •   A reversing manoeuvre

  •   Signalling

  •   Response to road signs and markings, traffic signals and other road users

  •   Use of speed

  •   Maintaining progress

  •   Following distance

  •   Dealing with junctions and roundabouts

  •   Judgement when dealing with other traffic

  •   Driving positioning

  •   Clearance to obstructions

  •   Driving independently - either by use of a satellite navigation system or following road signs

  •   Awareness of what is going on and forward planning.

IWe've got a deal with DriverActive which means you can get 3 months free access to some of the best resources available by using the voucher that was attached to the welcome email you were sent when you first booked your lessons.  If you can't find it now, please let your instructor know.

How will I know when I'm ready for my practical driving test?

Signs you're ready

  • Your instructor has given you the go-ahead to book a test

  • You can cope with unfamiliar areas and ANY situation you come across without input from your instructor

  • You don’t dread ANY aspect of driving, including your manoeuvres

  • You are consistently passing mock tests (if appropriate)

Signs you’re not ready

  • You are still asking, or your instructor is still having to tell you, what to do, however infrequently

  • You have to keep asking what the speed limit is or what that road sign means

  • You’re still not fully at ease behind the wheel

  • Your instructor (the expert!) doesn’t think you’re ready

  • You’re still getting the different controls mixed up

Do they only pass so many people per week?

Can I do more than one lesson a week?

Can I be picked up/dropped off anywhere?

How do I pay for lessons?

There is absolutely no truth in the rumours that examiners are only allowed to pass a certain number of candidates each week. There are always enough certificates to last the whole week, and you will be judged objectively on your performance whether it be first thing on a Monday or last thing on a Friday.

What is the examiner looking for during the driving test?

How will faults be marked?

There are four types of faults:

  • Not worthy - a very very minor fault that the examiner feels did not affect anyone in any way and nothing will be marked in this respect

  • Driving fault - what used to be called a ‘minor’ fault. Any deviation from the expected outcome but having a low risk. You can get up to 15 of these (usually, unless they are all in the same area, which in itself shows a deficiency in your driving). Get to 16 and you will fail.    

  • Serious fault - Any deviation from the expected outcome but having high risk. Get just one of these and you WILL fail.

  • Dangerous fault - Any deviation from the expected outcome but involving actual danger, which includes the examiner having to take action to avoid an accident. Get just one of these and you will fail. Depending on the severity of the fault, you also risk having the test abandoned.

What happens on test day?

You will be picked up an hour before your test time in order to get you to the test centre on time and also to give you one last chance to calm down and practice your manoeuvres.

 

Your driving test will last for approximately 40 minutes, during which you will do one reversing manoeuvre, possibly an emergency stop, and spend approximately 20 minutes following a sat nav.

 

At the end of the test you will be given your result immediately and a report detailing your faults (if any) will be emailed to you.

 

Now, driving isn’t just a practical skill; the best drivers drive in their heads and deal with things before they happen and it will take you longer to pass your driving test without doing some ‘homework’. Reading about a subject will save time on your driving lessons as you won’t have as many questions and you quite simply won’t be able to get through your Theory & Hazard Perception Test without doing some work outside of your lessons.

More detailed information here

 

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying - FAIL TO PREPARE, PREPARE TO FAIL!

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