Provisional Licence and Driving Test

The New driving test

The driving test in the United Kingdom is an assessment of competence that UK

residents take in order to obtain a full driving licence. The minimum age at which

someone can take the driving test is 17 for car drivers. Over the years the DVSA has looked

at ways to change the test to bring in line with other countries and also to make driving

safer as technology improves. Although there are lots of ideas that are still being

discussed such as changing the minimum age for learning and allowing learners to drive

on motorways, the driving test has recently been updated.

From the 4th of December 2017, Satellite Navigation systems were introduced to the test

and some of the maneuvers were changed. Until the date of the changes, a candidate

was required to complete ten minutes of independent driving where they were given road

signs to follow and they had to do one of the following reversing maneuvers.

  • The turn in the road.
  • The left reverse.
  • The reverse park.
  • The bay park.

In the new test the candidate must now complete twenty minutes of independent driving

which is either with a Sat Nav or by following road signs and then must complete one of

the following maneuvers

  • Pull up on the righthand side of the road and reverse back two car lengths.
  • Drive forward into a parking bay then reverse safely out.
  • Reverse into a parking bay.
  • Reverse park (parallel park).

During the twenty minutes of independent driving the examiner may ask the candidate to

pull up on the side of the road numerous times to make sure they are signaling correctly

to other road users and able to pull away safely.

The minimum age for driving has been under discussion for several years with some

driving organisations campaigning for it to be changed from 17 to 18 and this is currently

under review by the government. Currently though you are able to start driving legally on

public roads at the age of 17.

Before you can begin driving, you must obtain a provisional driving licence. You can apply

for this at, or pick up an application form (D1) from your local Post

Office. You can apply for your provisional licence up to three months before your

seventeenth birthday. As it can take up to four weeks for your licence to arrive you should

ensure that you apply well in advance if you want your driving lessons to commence on

your birthday.


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