The countdown to your 17th birthday may seem like it lasts forever when you’re eager to start learning to drive, however, there are things you can do in advance of your 17th to prepare for you to get behind the wheel as soon as possible.
I recently turned 16 and I can’t wait for my 17th to come around so I can start taking driving lessons. I have driven several times on private tracks and I have had a driving experience lesson at the Rockingham race course, so I am gradually becoming more familiar with driving. For the last 8 months I have been so caught up with revision for the dreaded GCSEs that driving has not been on the top of my list for things to think about, however with the long summer ahead I will have lots of time to start to think of what I can do in preparation of my 17th birthday, and maybe even get some things ticked off of the to-do list!
3 things you can do before you turn 17 to prepare for the open road
1. Apply for a provisional driving license
You don’t need to wait until your 17th birthday, if you’re keen you can apply when you’re 15 years and 9 months old.
2. Start revising for the Theory Test
It’s never too early to start to get familiar with the rules of the road, especially if you’re planning on taking to the road as soon as your birthday arrives!
3. Take a driving lesson
You can’t take to public roads until you are 17. However, there are a number of pre-17 driving courses running countrywide to enable you to get driving practice under your belt.
Driving lessons before you’re 17
They’re great for helping the young drivers gain confidence in driving before they start having lessons, which is exactly what I did. I had a lesson at Rockingham race track and it helped me in gaining a lot of confidence behind the wheel. There were also other cars around me that I had to look out for which helped me become more familiar with how driving would be. This was easy to book, and the instructors were very helpful and friendly. I highly recommend doing this just to help you gain confidence behind the wheel before you begin your driving lessons. Remember – it is recommended to have lessons no longer than two hours at a time, otherwise, you may get tired and not take in much information.
It’s fair to say, you can get in a lot of practice behind the wheel very early on – however, there are a few things you need to wait for.
What you’ve got to wait until you’re 17 for:
1. Take your theory test
You can only take the theory test once your provisional license has become valid – the earliest this can be is your 17th birthday.
2. Driving lessons on public roads
You have to be 17 before you can have driving lessons out on public roads, either with an instructor or private driving practice with an allowed person.
3. Take your test
The theory test certificate is valid for two years, if you don’t pass your practical driving test within this time you’ll have to retake the theory test.
I hope this advice is useful to you as you begin to prepare your driving journey. Let us know your experiences and how you got on. Good luck everybody and fingers crossed this helps us all pass first time!