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Getting Started

Getting Started

The essentials

The guide is all you need to know to start learning.

Under 17

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.

Check your eyes

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.

Get your 'L' plates

When you're learning, you'll need to put 'L' plates (or 'D' plates in Wales) 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.

Helpful tools

Boost your skills and chances of passing with a PC programme, video or books. Check out the BSM Shop for products that make learning easy.

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