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what age can you learn to drive
Simon Jones white clock learner driver5 minute read Learner Drivers Lifestyle

What age can you learn to drive in the UK?

So what age can you learn to drive? Super sweet sixteens may be the big coming of age celebration, but we think your 17th birthday is the biggest and best year. Why? Because it’s the year you can officially start learning to…

Simon Jones

So what age can you learn to drive? Super sweet sixteens may be the big coming of age celebration, but we think your 17th birthday is the biggest and best year. Why? Because it’s the year you can officially start learning to drive. There are a couple of exceptions to this rule and things you need to keep in mind. Keep reading to find out more. 

What age can you learn to drive? 

You can drive on a public road in the UK once you’re 17 years old. You’ll need a provisional license before you start driving. You can apply for a provisional license on the DVLA website once you’re 15 years and 9 months old

While this may sound like an oddly specific age, it’s for a good reason. You can learn to drive a moped with a provisional license at 16, so it allows a few months for the license to arrive. But, if you just want to learn to drive a car, don’t worry about applying until a few months before your 17th birthday. 

Want to know what all the rules are around supervising a learner driver? Check out our full article here

Can you drive a car at 16 in the UK?

There are a couple of exceptions when it comes to driving a car before your 17th birthday. If you have the enhanced rate of the mobility component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP), then you can start learning to drive when you’re 16. If this applies to you, we have a whole article about learning to drive with ASD that may be helpful for you. 

You can also drive a car before you turn 17 on private land that doesn’t have public access. You’ll need to own the land or have permission from the land owner. While technically this means you could drive a car under the age of 17 in your mum’s garden, we wouldn’t recommend it. 

You won’t be covered by insurance if anything goes wrong. Plus, how many of us really know anyone who has enough private land for us to drive on? And even if you do have a mate who happens to own acres of land, it’s probably not a good idea. 

But don’t get too down about it. If you’re really keen to practice driving before you turn 17, you can do so safely at private driving centres. There are loads of private tracks in the UK where you can get under 17 driving lessons. 

Are under 17 driving schools worth it? 

If you want to pass your driving test ASAP, or you’re a bit nervous about learning to drive, it could be worth your while getting in some practice before you’re actually allowed out on the road. 

There are some great under 17 driving schools in the UK that have full road layouts with junctions, roundabouts and all sorts. You’ll be with a qualified instructor who has dual control of the car; and you’ll be driving in a safe, quiet and monitored environment. 

Getting in some practice before you’re 17 can help you get to grips with the basics and feel a bit more confident. But it’s not essential. You’ll be absolutely fine picking all this stuff up on your first real driving lesson once you turn 17. 

When should you start learning to drive? 

Here at Veygo we love driving and all the freedom it brings. So naturally, we’d love to say you should get cracking with learning to drive as soon as you turn 17. But before we get too carried away and go on about all the amazing things about passing your driving test, we’ll put our sensible caps on for a sec. There are a few things you need to consider before you decide to start learning to drive:

  • Can you afford it? Paying for your license, insurance, driving lessons and tests…these things all add up. Use our cost calculator to make sure you can afford everything before diving into learning to drive. 
  • Have you got enough free time? We’d argue that one of the benefits of learning to drive as soon as you hit 17, is that you tend to have more free time when you’re younger. But make sure you consider your personal situation. According to DVSA, it takes most people 45 hours of lessons, plus 22 hours of practice to pass their driving test. And it’s best to drive regularly and avoid big gaps between lessons. 

Okay, now that’s over. Just in case you need some extra motivation to start learning to drive, let’s talk about the best things about passing your driving test. 

What are the best things about passing your driving test? 

  • New places you can explore 

Sure, public transport is great. But some places are just difficult to get to without a car, particularly if you’re outside of the city. Your new pink driving license is the all access VIP ticket you need to see some of the most beautiful places in the UK. Or, even just to get to that one friend’s house who lives a bit out the way. 

  • Job opportunities 

Passing your driving test can open doors for you when it comes to your job prospects. Lots of job postings will either require a driving license, or say that it’s beneficial to hold a driving license. And no, we’re not just talking about jobs that have ‘driver’ in the title.  Being able to drive can be useful for anything from sales, care work, engineering or management jobs. It’s a great thing to be able to add to your CV, whatever your industry.   

  • Flexibility & freedom

Passing your driving test means you can go where you want, when you want. That’s right. No more waiting around in the cold at the train station, or running in a panic for the bus. You’ve got complete control of your timetable. And it feels good.  

  • The later you leave it the harder it gets

Learning to drive is much easier in your teens. Although you have more money to pay for your own lessons as an adult, you also have less time to spend practicing. As you get older, your chance of passing your driving test goes down significantly. So we’d suggest getting it done as soon as possible.

  • Save money on insurance in the long term 

Eventually you’ll probably want to buy your own car. When that time comes, you’ll need to insure it which can be pretty pricey. Generally, the longer you’ve held your license, the cheaper your insurance could be. So it’s worth passing your test sooner rather than later, even if you’re not planning on buying a car just yet. 

But what’s the point in having a driving license and no car? Once you’ve got your license you can drive a friend or family member’s car…with their permission of course. Oh, and you’ll also need insurance.  

Our temporary car insurance is completely flexible and can get you on the road in minutes. And if your friend or family member needs some convincing to let you drive their car, you can let them know that their no claims bonus won’t be affected if you need to make a claim.  Plus, you can get 10% off when you’ve used our learner driver insurance. 

How do I start learning to drive?

So it looks like L plates and driving lessons will be on your birthday wish list. If the idea of driving gets your engine going, you’re probably raring to pass your driving test. That’s why we’ve written a complete guide to getting started with learning to drive to help you on your way. Good luck!

Simon Jones

Worked for short-term car insurance provider Veygo for over 3 years. Been involved in building insurance products for learner drivers and people looking for temporary cover on cars, then telling the world about them through marketing campaigns. Also drive a bit myself, mainly my son around where ever he needs to go.

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