Learning to Drive in the UK

By: Russ

Learning to drive today, you are learning a skill for life. As a learner you will be taught to a very high standard, as the practical test leaves very little room for error. Whilst many people prefer a manual geared car, many are now also experiencing automatics.

People with learning difficulties (special needs) might not manage a manual geared car; however, an automatic car, and the right instructor, could enable the person to pass the driving test.

Today's two-part test will require the learner to pass a PC based theory test (the learner must get at least 85% correct answers). This then leads into a Hazard Perception test, again on the PC. This is a series of video clips, 13 in total, 12 of which have one hazard, and one clip with two hazards. The person must identify the hazard developing, and score points, 5 points correct then dropping down to 0. The pass mark for this test is 42/75. In the practical test the learner will only be able to make 15 minor errors: a serious or dangerous fault will result in a fail.

With many hours on the road, learning, the instructor will use verbal, pictorial, practical demonstrations, and possibly video to help the learner gain the required understanding of each lesson. A driving lesson will generally run for a minimum of 60 minutes or, more common today, 120 minutes. Statistics show an average person having a 60-minute lesson once a week will take a year to learn, whilst a person taking 120 mins a week will learn in 4-5 months.

Once the test is passed, newly qualified drivers can add additional categories to their licence, although some not until they are 21. They can also take the Institute of Advanced Motorists exam. They can learn trailer towing, Mini Bus, PSV, and HGV driving: different restrictions apply according to age and experience.

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