Life skills

Learning to drive

Most people can start to learn at 17. You can drive a car when you are 16 if you get the enhanced mobility component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP). 

If you have special educational needs or a disability, there are disability specialist driving instructors.   

Get a provisional licence  

You can apply for a provisional licence online or through the post.  

You must provide your:

  • identification  
  • addresses of where you have been living over the past three years  
  • National Insurance number  

Driving lessons  

When learning to drive, you must be supervised in the car at all times. You can be with a driving instructor, family or friends providing they meet the laws.  

If you are paying for someone to teach you, they must be a qualified and approved driving instructor or trainee driving instructor.  

If you have special educational needs or a disability  

When finding a driving instructor, you may want to have a conversation and ask them some questions beforehand. Things you might need to know include:  

  • if the instructor can teach someone with your needs or disability  
  • if the driving instructor is registered on the approved driving instructor register  
  • what tests you will need to do  
  • how much it will cost  
  • how long it will take  

You will still have to drive to the same standard to pass your test. Examiners can make adjustments for the following conditions:  

  • physical disability  
  • deafness or hearing impairment  
  • reading difficulties (for example, dyslexia)
  • learning difficulties  

You must tell the DVLA about a health or medical condition that could affect your driving. If you don't, you could face a face of up to £1,000.  

Disability specialist driving instructors  

Some driving instructors can provide support specifically for people with disabilities. 

To find a local specialist driving instructor, you can visit disability driving instructors.  

Theory test  

Once you are 17, you can take your theory test at any point. If you receive the enhanced rate of the mobility component of PIP, you can take your theory when you are 16.  

Some books and apps can help you practise for your two-part theory test, which includes:

  • multiple-choice questions based on the books  
  • the Highway Code  
  • know your traffic signs  
  • driving – the essential skills  
  • hazard perception to test your ability to spot hazards on the road  

If you have passed your theory, you can book your driving test. If you fail, you can rebook after three working days.  

If you have a reading difficulty, disability or health condition  

When booking your theory test, you should inform them if you have a disability, reading difficulty or health condition.  

Support available includes:  

  • listening to the test through headphones  
  • extra time to take the test  
  • someone to read what is on the screen and write down your answers  
  • someone to reword the questions for you  
  • taking the test in British sign language, with an interpreter, lip speaker or hearing loop  

If you need support, contact the DVLA before your test on 0300 200 1122.