Learner Drivers

Your provisional license
Get ahead of the game by applying for your provisional license up to three months before your 17th birthday - or as soon as you're 16, if you're disabled and receiving mobility allowance you can do this online or with the D1 form that is available from post office.

Eyes sight requirement
The DSA requirement for learner driver is to be able to read number plates in good daylight from 20.5 metres away-that's about five cars length. For new style number plates (that were introduced on September 2001), the distance is 20 metres. If you are short or long sited and need glasses for driving make sure you always wear them whilst driving.

Get behind the wheel
Here are some tips before you get behind the wheel.

Driving Lessons
As much as driving lessons can be a daunting experience, they can be special too. From the moment you first get in to a car and discover newfound confidence, you can almost taste the freedom and opportunities ahead of you.
To ensure that all of our learner drivers find the process fun and memorable,our driving instructors offers a refreshing approach to driving tuition that will make you feel relaxed and eager to get on the road!

Theory test
Once you have obtained your provisional license, you will need to start thinking about taking your driving theory test. The DSA theory test consists of a multiple choice section and a hazard perception test.

You will need to be successful in both parts in order to pass overall, so we suggest getting the recommended reading under your belt and attempting as many mock theory tests as possible to familiarise yourself with the structure of the programme.

The multiple choice section is presented with a touch screen computer. You will be expected to answer a total of 50 questions; answering at least 43 correct in order to pass. With the hazard perception test, your responses are recorded through the use of a computer mouse. You must click as early as possible when you see a developing hazard with a maximum score of 5 per hazard. There are a total of 15 developing hazards giving a possible total of 75. You must score at least 44 in order to pass this part of the test.

If you fail one part of the test, you will have to retake both

To ensure you fine-tune your knowledge and cram in as much practice as possible, Direct Gov provides a great online service where you can undergo practice driving theory tests to assess your knowledge and build up your understanding of the three key elements.

You can also preview the Highway Code on the Direct Gov website and order the recommended reading materials including 'Know Your Traffic Signs' and the 'Essential Skills' series of books. This information and experience will prove invaluable leading up to your practical driving test.

In your practical test, you have 40 minutes to demonstrate everything you have learned in your driving lessons. You need to show you can drive competently and safely in all kinds of driving situations. You will be asked to do one of the manoeuvres you would have practised with your instructor, and possibly make an emergency stop.

Independent driving
For about 10 minutes of the test you will be asked to drive on your own without any help from the examiner whilst the car is moving. The examiner will ask you to park the car and then will give you up to 3 directions to follow such as "Take the next left, 2nd right then 3rd left." They may alternatively just ask you to drive to sign posted to( XYZ town ).You do not need to know the area. Any locations you are asked to drive to will be clearly sign posted. This has been designed with dyslexia and other conditions in mind do not worry if you have to ask for more help.

Another way it will be done is a mixture of directions and instructions such as "turn right at the end of the road and first road on the left and follow the sign for (XYZ town) For some of these directions you will be given a very basic diagram to help recognize the layout of the roads you will come across. The examiner can write down the place name so you know how it's spelt on signs, if you want them to do this then just ask.

After each set of directions you will be asked to pull over and given another set.

You will also answer two vehicle safety check questions, one 'show me' and one 'tell me'.

To pass, you will have to complete the test with no serious faults, and you must have 15 or fewer minor errors.

The current national average practical pass rate is 43% so it makes sense to be properly prepared possible. Your instructor will advise you when you are ready for the practical test.

Test costs
The combined theory and hazard perception test currently costs £31.

A weekday practical test costs £62. Evening or weekend tests cost £75.

Show Me Tell Me
The DSA Show me, tell me questions test your knowledge on basic car maintenance and safety. At the start of the practical driving test the show me, tell me questions will begin. The driving test examiner will ask you two questions, one show me and one tell me. Answer any of these two questions incorrectly and you will gain one driving test fault. There are 13 different questions which can be asked in 12 different combinations. Below are the show me, tell me questions and answers.

  1. Q1. Open the bonnet, identify where you would check the engine coolant level and tell me how you would check the engine has the correct level.
    Identify the coolant tank and check the min/max markings. If the coolant is below the min mark then more coolant will need to be added. To do this, unscrew the cap and pour in coolant until the max mark is reached.
  2. Q2. Open the bonnet, identify where the brake fluid reservoir is and tell me how you would check that you have a safe level of hydraulic brake fluid.
    Identify the brake fluid reservoir and check the fluid level against the min/max levels.
  3. Q3. Show me/explain how you would check that the power assisted steering is working before starting a journey.
    If the steering becomes heavy the steering may be faulty. Before starting a journey two simple checks can be made.
    1. Gentle pressure on the steering wheel, maintained whilst the engine is started, should result in slight but noticeable movement as the system begins to operate.
    2. Turning the steering wheel after just moving off will give an immediate indication that the power assisted steering is functioning correctly.
  4. Q4. Open the bonnet, identify where you would check the engine oil level and tell me how you would check that the engine has enough oil.
    Identify the dipstick, pull it out and check the oil level against the min/max markings.
  5. Q5. Open the bonnet, identify where the Windscreen Washer reservoir is and tell me how you check the level?
    Identify reservoir, lift off cap and make a visual check of level as there are no external markings on reservoir.
  6. Q6. Show me how you would check that the horn is working (off road only).
    Press the horn and listen (turn on ignition if necessary).
  7. Q7. Show me how you would check that the brake lights are working on this car. (I can assist you, if you need to switch the ignition on, please don't start the engine).
    Operate brake pedal, make use of reflections in windows, garage doors, etc, or ask someone to help. (you may need to switch ignition on, prompt not to start engine).
  8. Q8. Tell me how you would check that the brakes are working before starting a journey.
    As you move off check the brakes. They should not feel spongy and the car should not pull to one side.
  9. Q9. Tell me how you would check that the headlights and tail lights are working.
    Turn on lights (turn ignition if necessary), walk around car and check that the lights are on.
  10. Q10. Show me how you would check that the direction indicators are working correctly.
    Activate the indicators or hazard warning lights and walk around the car to see if all the indicators are working correctly.
  11. Q11. Tell me where you would find the information for the recommended tyre pressures for this car and how tyre pressures should be checked.
    Information will be found using the car manufacturer's manual. Check the tyre pressures by using a reliable pressure gauge when the tyres are cold. Don't forget the spare and remember to refit the valve caps.
  12. Q12. Show me how you would check the parking brake for excessive wear.
    Apply the parking brake. When it is fully applied it should secure itself.
  13. Q13. Tell me how you make sure your head restraint is correctly adjusted so it provides the best protection in the event of a crash.
    The head restraint should be adjusted so the rigid part of the head restraint is at least as high as the eye or top of the ears, and as close to the back of the head as is comfortable. N.B. Some restraints might not be adjustable.
  14. Q14. Tell me how you would check the tyres to show that they have sufficient tread depth and that their general condition is safe to use on the road.
    A safe tyre will have no cuts or bulges. The tread depth should be at least 1.6mm across the central 3/4s of the breadth of the tyre and around the entire outer circumference.
  15. Q15. Show me how you would clean the windscreen using the windscreen washer and wipers.
    Operate control to wash and wipe windscreen (turn ignition on if necessary).
  16. Q16. Show me how you would set the demister controls to clear all the windows effectively, this should include both front and rear screens
    Set all relevant controls including; fan, temperature, air direction / source and heated screen to clear windscreen and windows. Engine does not have to be started for this demonstration.
  17. Q17. Tell me how you would know if there was a problem with your anti lock braking system.
    Warning light should illuminate if there is a fault with the anti lock braking system.
  18. Q18. Show me how you switch your headlight from dipped to main beam and explain how you would know the main beam is on whilst inside the car.
    Operate switch (with ignition or engine on if necessary), check with main beam warning light.
  19. Q19. Show me how you would switch on the rear fog light(s) and explain when you would use it/them. (No need to exit vehicle).
    Operate switch (turn on dipped headlights and ignition if necessary). Check warning light is on. Explain use.

Note: Failure on one or both of the show me tell me questions will result in one minor fault.


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