Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common questions asked by people about learning to drive. If you have any further queries please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Here is a link to the online version of the Highway Code: essential reading for everybody.


1. At what age can I start to learn to drive?

You can apply for your provisional driving licence up to three months before your 17th birthday, and for car drivers the licence is usually valid from your 17th birthday. If you are receiving disability living allowance at the higher rate, your provisional licence will come into effect on your 16th birthday, but you can apply for it within three months of your 16th birthday. More details about driving licences can be obtained from the DVLA

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2. How many lessons will I need before I am ready to take the Driving Test?

This is really an impossible question to answer precisely because it very much depends on you, the individual. Human beings are not robots: we all learn at our own pace and come up against different hurdles. As a driving instructor, it is part of my job to work with you to find methods of teaching to suit your individual learning style and overcome those hurdles.

As an extremely rough guide you should budget for around 40 - 45 hours of professional tuition. You may need more; you may need less. This may seem a lot, but learning to drive is a big commitment, it would be dishonest of me to tell you otherwise. It is a fact that the roads are a lot busier than they were 20 years ago - standards need to be high in order to maintain safety. Ultimately there are no short cuts: look at it as being an important investment in your future and your safety.

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3. When can I take my theory test?

You are able to take your theory test at any time from the date your provisional licence becomes valid. Remember, you are not able to book your practical driving test until you have passed your theory test. More details about the theory test can be found here

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4. How long is the Practical Driving Test?

You will be out on the road for about 40 minutes.

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5. What will I be asked to do during my driving test?

It is a test designed to see if you can drive safely and demonstrate knowledge of the Highway Code through your driving. Before you drive, you will be asked to complete an eyesight test, and you will be asked two “show me, tell me” vehicle safety questions, details of which can be found here (this will open as a PDF document in a new browser window).

You will then be examined on your general driving and on one reversing exercise manoeuvre. This will be chosen at random out of the following:

  • Turning in the road

  • Reversing around a corner

  • Reverse parking, either behind another vehicle, or in to a parking bay (certain test centres only).

You may also be asked to carry out an emergency stop exercise. The examiner will give you directions in good time throughout the test.

The Driving Test includes an exercise involving independent driving. Instead of being given directions by the examiner in a step-by step manner, you will be asked to follow a series of directions (usually given in two stages) or you will be asked to follow traffic signs to a particular destination, or a combination of both. To assist you, the examiner may show you a diagram (not to scale) detailing the route.

It is designed to replicate the kind of driving you will do after you have passed your test, where you will not necessarily have somebody sat beside you giving you step-by-step directions.

It is not a memory-test. If you forget the directions on the way, the examiner will be happy to repeat them.

The independent driving section of the test lasts for about ten minutes, and is marked in exactly the same way as the remainder of the test.

More detailed information on the Driving Test may be found here

Please click on the following link to view an official video published by the DVSA about independent driving. Please click here to view video.

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6. Can I take somebody with me in the car for my practical driving test?

Yes, you can, as long as they are over 16 years of age. They must take no part in the test whatsoever and will simply observe from the back seat. From 6th April 2010, the examiner will always ask you before your test if you want your instructor, or another person, to go with you on your driving test and sit in the back of the car, and whether you want that person to be there at the end of the test to listen to their feedback. This is entirely your choice. Please do not hesitate to discuss the pros and cons of this with your instructor before your test.

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7. What does it take to pass the Driving Test?

You may commit a maximum of 15 driving faults (commonly referred to as “minors”) and still pass the test. Committing 16 or more driving faults results in failure. You may not commit any serious or dangerous faults, just one of either of these will result in instant failure. A driving fault is essentially a low-risk fault which doesn’t compromise safety. The grading of faults rests with the examiner and depends on the circumstances surrounding that fault at the time.

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8. What does it cost to take the Driving Test?

The current fee payable to the DVSA for the Practical Driving Test (car) is £62.00 if taken during a weekday, and £75.00 if taken at the weekend, during weekday evenings or on a Bank Holiday.

The fee for the Theory Test is currently £23.00.

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9. Can I take the test in my own car?

It is possible, but I do not personally encourage it. If you do, it is your responsibility to ensure that your vehicle is insured for the purposes of the driving test, that it is in a roadworthy condition and that it meets all of the other necessary criteria for the test. The benefits of using the Instructor’s car are that it is comprehensively insured for your use during the test, and it meets all of the relevant criteria for the test. You will have completed all of your training in it: it therefore makes total sense to take your test in it!

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10. Does Ridgway Driver Training offer lessons in a vehicle with automatic transmission?

I only offer tuition in a manual car. If you are interested in learning to drive in an automatic car, I can put you in contact with an instructor who offers lessons in an automatic car. It is worth remembering that if you pass your driving test in a car with automatic transmission, you will only be entitled to drive automatic vehicles unless you take a further driving test in a manual vehicle.

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11. Do you teach the Pass Plus course and how will it benefit me?

Yes, I am registered with the DVSA to teach Pass Plus. More details can be found here

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Please Note: The information contained within this page is up-to-date and correct to the best of my knowledge. No liability is accepted for errors, omissions, or for the content of any linked websites.

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