WELL DONE on deciding you want to learn to drive. You now have the opportunity to
learn a new skill, one that will open up a whole new world of independence. It is
important that you know how to drive safely and responsibly and that you learn the
skills that your instructor will teach you. These new skills and practise will help
you become a safe driver for life.
All learners want to know “how many lessons will it take for me to pass my test,”
the reality is that everyone learns at a different rate. By using an Approved Driving
Instructor who will teach you by using professional, structured tuition you will
enhance your learning significantly, and increase your chances of passing the driving
test first time. This will reduce the amount of lessons you need to pass and ultimately
save you money.
You need to hold a valid provisional licence while learning to drive. You are entitled
to drive a car from your 17th birthday if you hold a provisional licence and you
are under instruction. You may apply for your provisional car licence 2 months before
your 17th birthday, but you must not drive until it comes into effect.
You can find an application form (DL1 NI) for a driving licence at main Post Offices
or at a Driver & Vehicle Agency test centre. The form has full instructions and guidance
notes on how to complete your application.
If you hold a licence that was issued to you from another country, then check its
validity in Northern Ireland before starting to drive. You can also check the DVLNI
Website for full details of all licensing and legal requirements or ask your instructor.
You can’t drive on the road unless your eyesight meets certain requirements. You
must be able to read a standard number plate, in good daylight, at a distance of
20.5 metres (about 67 feet). If you need glasses or contact lenses to read the number
plate, you must wear them when you are driving. You will be asked to take an eyesight
test at the start of your practical driving test.
ABOUT THE LESSONS
Your instructor will provide 1 to 1 tuition and coach you through the complex skills
required to drive on today’s busy roads. These skills will not only prepare you to
pass your test, but will also ensure that you are well on the road to driving safely
with confidence for the rest of your driving life.
Lessons normally last for 1 hour, however, it is recommended that your first lesson
be for 2 hours. This will allow your instructor to assess your ability then introduce
you to the car and its controls before you start learning to drive. It is also recommended
that you take two 1 hour lessons per week as this will increase your rate of learning
and help prevent skill fade.
As well as acquiring practical driving skills during the learning process, you will
also be required to learn the theory side of driving; this is known as the Highway
Code. The Highway Code contains essential advice for all road users. Its purpose
is to prevent accidents by ensuring that we all adopt the same rules when we use
the road. You will need to have a good knowledge of the highway code in order to
pass your theory test, which you must pass before applying for your practical driving
test. All the knowledge you require can be found in books, CD’s or DVD’s. They can
be found at most good book stores or by ordering from the DSA WEBSITE.