Learning to Drive

We've rounded up some helpful advice for learner drivers

The Government has put together an A-Z for learner drivers, this includes information on booking your theory and practical test as well as how to find a good driving instructor.

When can I apply for a driving licence and start driving lessons?

You can apply for a provisional driving licence when you are 15 and 9 months old. You can start learning to drive when you are 17 years old.

Practicing with Family or Friends

If you are planning to practice with family members or friends it is important that they understand the law.

Anyone you practise your driving with must:

  • be over 21
  • be qualified to drive the type of vehicle you want to learn in
  • have had their full driving licence for 3 years 

It is illegal to use a mobile phone while supervising a learner driver.

If you need help practicing for your theory test, you could ask a parent, carer, friend or your support worker.  Your driving instructor will also be able to give you advice on how to practice for your test. You can try a practice theory test 

How can I find out if I'm able to drive?

If you have SEN and,or a disability, there is a range of support and equipment available to help you:

  • learn to drive
  • drive independently

Your ability to drive could depend on the type and extent of your needs. The  Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) will decide whether you can learn to drive. 

You MUST give details of your SEN and, or disability to the DVLA:

  • when you apply for your driving licence
  • if you develop SEN or a disability and already have a driving licence

The DVLA will then decide if you:

  • need to get a new driving licence
  • can have a shorter licence which is reviewed at the end of the licence period
  • can drive but using a specialist vehicle or with adaptations to your car
  • are unable to drive/must give up your licence

You may have to have an examination or take an assessment before they make the final decision.

Find out more about the conditions for  driving with SEN and, or a disability.

What support is there to help me learn to drive?

Disability Driving Instructors give advice about driving to people with SEN or a disability. They can help: 

  • first time drivers
  • people who are returning to drive after developing a disability or SEN

Driving Mobility help people who struggle with mobility gain independence through driving. This includes people with SEN and, or disabilities.

They offer assessment and advice on:

  • adaptations to your vehicle
  • your ability to drive in a safe way 
  • wheelchair or scooter loading and transportation

To visit one of their centres, get a referral from your doctor or a healthcare professional. 

Disabled Motoring UK provide information on mobility and signpost to relevant services. This includes information on:

  • driving
  • car insurance
  • where to find an accessible vehicle

They also have an advice and guidance helpline.

Mobility vehicles, car adaptations and equipment

If you are unable to use a standard car due to your needs, you could get a specialist vehicle or have a car adapted. 

Motability vehicles

If your needs make it hard for you to get about, and you receive a benefit for this, you can get a vehicle from Driving Mobility. You can use your benefit to lease a vehicle such as a car, mobility scooter or powered wheelchair.

You will pay for the lease of the vehicle, but it will not belong to you. If you stop receiving your benefit for any reason, you will have to return the vehicle.

See if you can join the Motability scheme ​ 

Can I get help with the cost of driving?

If you have SEN, or a disability you may be able to get help with the cost of driving lessons and running a car.

To help with the costs, you may be able to get: ​