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Diane Lambert ADI
Three months before your 17th birthday you can apply for your provisional licence – or as soon as you're 16, if you're disabled and receiving mobility allowance. Then once you're 17, you can legally drive a car on public roads in the UK. It's okay to start practising on private land, as long as the site is gated and far away from public highways. But remember, supermarket car parks are classed as public roads, so don't use these. A provisional licence is a prerequisite for every wannabe learner driver
To apply for a provisional licence, complete forms DL1 and DL750 available from any Post Office
Learning to drive as a British national, you will need to enclose two passport-size colour photographs, proof of your identity and a fee of £50 when you submit the forms. The DVLA aims to deliver your licence in about 3 weeks. If you are an EU citizen or have come from outside the EU. Check with DVLA for details.
Before you start learning, make sure you can read a number plate in good daylight from 20.5 metres away – that's about five car lengths. For the new-style number plates (that were introduced on September 2001), the distance is 20 metres. If you wear glasses or contacts, that's fine. Just make sure you always wear them when driving. When applying for your provisional driving licence-before you start learning to drive-from the DVLA you should let them know if you have:
Any visual condition which affects both eyes (not including short or long sight or colour blindness
Any visual condition which affects sight (not including short or long sight or colour blindness), for example, if you have sight in one eye only.
If you have had sight correction surgery you should declare this when you apply for your provisional licence. This will not stop you from learning to drive, but it is necessary information.
Get your 'L' plates
When you're learning, you'll need to put 'L' plates on the front and back of your car – somewhere they can be seen easily. And you're only allowed to drive with someone who's passed their test, is over 21 and has been driving for three years or more.
Your 'L' plates also have to meet legal specification - so buy them rather trying to knock some up yourself. Whenever the car is driven by someone who’s passed, the plates need to come off or be covered up.