You and Your Licence.
Driving is a valuable life skill that can open up new opportunities in both work and leisure to provide a new level of freedom.
To start driving for the first time, you must apply for and hold a valid provisional driving licence for Great Britain or Northern Ireland. To do this please contact the DVLA in Swansea, you may apply online, in person or by post. This can be done up to 3 months prior to your 17th birthday or at any time thereafter.
Apply for a provisional driving licence here
It is also important to ensure that you have reasonable eyesight before you drive. Whilst there is no formal test required, it may be useful to see an optometrist if you are in any doubt, although a simple check will be sufficient for most. The legal requirement is that you are able to read a new style number plate from a distance of 20 metres, or an old style number plate from a distance of 20.5 metres.
The Training Vehicle and Your Instructor.
You must also make sure that any vehicle you drive is roadworthy and properly taxed and insured, as well as displaying 'L' plates in a clear position at the front and rear of the vehicle. Choosing an instructor can be difficult, with many available and with endless offers and guarantees you will have plenty of choice. But how do you find the right one for you? You could use an internet directory to find an instructor, however the most popular way of choosing an instructor is referral by a friend or relative, but it might be worthwhile doing some of your own research. Here are some things you may wish to consider before deciding.
• What kind of licence is held by the instructor?
• How long, and how much, are lessons?
• What kind of discounts are available for block bookings?
• Do you wish to learn in an automatic or manual vehicle?
• Does the tuition vehicle have dual controls?
• How old is the tuition vehicle?
• Where is your instructor willing to collect you from and drop you off?
If you are able to drive outside your lessons while accompanied by friends or relatives, this can be a good way to increase your road experience before sitting your test. You should make sure that any person who sits with you is at least 21 years of age and has held a full driving licence for at least 3 years. In order to make good use of this additional practise time, ask your driving instructor what you should practise and where. It may also be useful to get anyone who accompanies you to read the Official Guide to Accompanying L-Drivers.