Learning to drive is one of the most rewarding experiences that you will undertake as a young adult, it gives you the freedom to go wherever you want. Even if you only want to go to Toby Carvery for lunch it is still freedom and nothing compares to it. You may have already started to learn in another country, or you may even have a full license in your name, but there are strict rules regarding driving in the UK so it is best to prepare before you arrive.
Before we begin it is important to note a few things. If you have a provisional license held in another country it is not valid. If hold a full driving license you must transfer your license to a UK license within 3 years of moving.
You can find out more information about transferring your license here. If you have a provisional you must apply for a new provisional issued within the United Kingdom.
The first step towards driving in the UK is understanding the procedure for getting a driving license. It is a simple affair, usually an online form. You can access the form here and find out if you qualify to apply online. It will cost you £34. Once you apply online you will issued with a paper form where you complete some paperwork, signature, picture for the license and the like, and finally you return it to DVLA , Swansea, SA99 1AD. After a few weeks, if successful, you will be returned with a shiny new green license!
Its time to move own now to your first lessons and your theory test. You can use the official government instructor search here. I found one relatively close to me with good reviews called Owen, and messaged him. He got back to me and we organized to go on our first lesson.
The Theory Test is next. Your instructor will guide you further on this and ensure that you are ready when you travel to the nearest center (Southport) to take this 50 question test along side the hazard perception element. My instructor gave me access to some software to help me revise but you might want to consider the official review material that can be found here. Once you are ready you can book it here for £23 and our nearest test center to Edge Hill is located in Southport. You can catch a bus right from Ormskirk there and back. The UK theory takes about half an hour, although some longer or shorter, and contains 50 multiple choice questions as well as a selection of ‘Hazard Perception’ videos that require you to click when there is a hazard. Its good to ask your instructor questions about these if you are unsure about any section.
Finally it is on to your driving test. Once you have completed your theory test you will receive your theory test certificate. Hold onto this, you will need to bring it with you to the test. Most instructors in Ormskirk recommend the Southport driving test center. Your instructor will let you know when you are ready to book your test, and also how much he will charge for the use of his car for the test. You can book your test when ready here.Make sure to ask your instructor to go through a mock test if he has not shown you the format already. Once you are prepped and ready, head out and best of luck.
You should now have all the knowledge you need to get out there and get your license, learning to drive in the UK. However, there are a few tips that you might find useful along side all this.
- If you drive in N. Ireland on a provisional the limit is 45 mph
- You must be insured to drive. This can be expensive if you under 25.
- You cant drive on motorways with a provisional license.
- The speed is in miles per hour, not kilometers. Remember that 100 kph is 62 mph not 60.
- You can use your provisional to apply for a bike theory test and drive low power bikes without a full license.
- Unlike N. Ireland ‘R’ plates do not exist. There are optional ‘P’ plates however.
- Don’t forget to apply for a parking permit to park on campus also! (It adds 20 horsepower to your car)
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