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Driving Licence Basics

Knowing and understanding driving licence basics helps you follow rules and procedures involved in driving legally in the United Kingdom. When you qualify for your testing and where you go to complete your application are the first knowledge steps to obtaining your licence. Driving any motored vehicle is a large responsibility. As soon as you pass your exams and have the issued documents in hand, you can drive legally within your provisional restrictions.

How to Obtain a Provisional Licence

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) issues driving licences and maintains records of all drivers in the UK. Its main offices are in Swansea, Wales, and local branches are located throughout the UK. Your local office can provide a wealth of information and assistance as you prepare for your tests.Your first step in driving legally is to apply for a provisional licence. You can apply up to two months before your 17th birthday, but you cannot actually drive on that licence until you actually reach 17 years of age. Your provisional licence allows you to operate a car when accompanied by a licensed driver who is at least 21 years old and has been fully licensed for a minimum of three years. Once you master the driving basics and passed both the theory and practical driving tests, you will earn your full licence which, barring unforeseen circumstances, you will maintain until you reach age 70.

Obtaining a Full Driving Licence

There is no time restriction between obtaining your provisional licence and applying for your full licence. Logic and safety dictate gaining supervised driving experience, but theoretically, you can take your theory and practical driving tests quickly. However, that supervised experience can be invaluable in passing your testing phase, and you gain a fair degree of comfort and confidence by waiting a reasonable time before attempting to gain a full licence.To qualify for a full licence, you must pass two tests – a written exam on the theory of driving and a hands-on driving test. The theory test comprises multiple-choice questions and a video-based hazards perception test. If you fail the theory test, you must wait three days before retaking it. If you fail the driving test, you must wait 10 days to retake it. There is no limit to how many times you can attempt to pass either basic skills tests.

Basics for New Drivers

Once you gain your full licence, you can drive independent of the supervisory driver. Your first two years of independent driving is a probationary period. While within this probation period, if you gain six penalty points on your licence, it will be disqualified. You will have to restart the provisional licence process and apply and pass the theory and practical tests. If you pass, you will pay an additional fee to have your full licence reinstated. Penalty points are assigned for every motoring offence, including disobeying traffic laws, reckless driving or driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, to name a few.New drivers can improve their driving skills and their traffic law knowledge by attending and completing the Pass Plus programme, a training course developed by the Driving Standards Agency (DSA). The Pass Plus course includes modules on urban and rural driving, driving in poor weather conditions, night driving and driving on dual carriageways or motorways. Successful completion of the Pass Plus programme will often earn you a discount on your car insurance, saving you a considerable amount of money, especially if you are under age 25.

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