Advice for learner drivers
Learning to drive comes with mixed emotions; for some it is an exciting prospect that means they are halfway to freedom and independence whereas for others it is a fearsome task that sets their nerves extremely close to the edge. It can also cost a considerable amount of money especially if you have lessons with a qualified instructor (which we fully recommend) and you opt to take extra driving training through schemes such as Pass Plus (which we also recommend). Read more about Pass Plus.
But it is important to remember that there are many hazards associated with learning to drive. You are not protected by a huge learner driver bubble and while many other road users will exercise caution when they see that you are a learner others may become impatient, making you extremely vulnerable to having a car accident.
The Claim Solicitors are not only compensation claim experts be we are also here to offer advice to all you road users so that you minimise car accident risks. We have put together the following information for learner drivers:
Before you start
- There are a few rules and regulations that you should be aware of before you even consider getting into a car:
- The minimum age that you can start learning to drive a car is 17-years-old.
- You will need a provisional licence, which you can apply for when you are 16-years-old, before you can start taking driving lessons.
- If you receive a Disability Living Allowance at the higher rate your provisional licence can come into effect when you are 16-years-old.
- It is your responsibility to make sure that the vehicle that you are learning to drive in is taxed, insured for you to drive on a provisional licence and that L plates are displayed. If you were involved in a car accident without any of these things you could lose your licence before you even have it!
- If you have the opportunity to get some off road practice on some private land before you start learning on the public road with an instructor you may find this advantageous.
Choosing a driving instructor
You have a few options when you learn to drive. You can opt to be taught by an approved instructor through a specialist driving school such as BSM (www.bsm.co.uk) or a local independent company. On the other hand, you could learn to drive with the help of a family member of friend who is over the age of 21 and has held a driving licence for three years or more.
The first option may be more expensive and many learners spend between £200 and £1,000 on lessons, but you should benefit from the experience of a qualified professional. The second option may be cheaper but you may find it difficult to accept criticism or advice from someone that you know and the last thing you want to do is start arguing and cause a car accident. Most learners choose to use both a qualified instructor and a personal instructor, getting the best of both worlds.
But remember that is against the law for anyone who isn't an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) or licensed instructor to charge a fee for driving tuition. ADIs will have passed an exam in order to show that they are a skilled driver and tutor and will be checked and graded regularly. All ADIs will display a green badge in the tuition vehicle's front windscreen whereas a licensed instructor, who has not yet passed the final qualifying exam and have less than six months experience in the job, will display a pink badge.
The theory test
The standard price for a car, motorcycle, lorry and bus theory test is £23. This comprises two parts which are computer-based:
One - 50 randomly selected multiple choice questions across a wide range of driving and road safety issues, designed to test your understanding of the theory behind driving.
Two - a hazard perception test, designed to test your awareness of potential hazards while driving and reduce car accident rates. Read more about car accident incident rates.
Preparation is the key to passing and there are plenty of books, CDs, online games and timed tests that can help you get in plenty of practice before the day of your examination. For more details please visit www.drivingtheory.net.
The practical test
This will cost £62 on a weekday or £75 on a weekday evening or weekend. The practical test cannot be carried out if you do not have a provisional driving licence or a pass certificate for your theory test.
The idea behind the test, designed by the Driving Standards Agency (DSA), is to see if you know The Highway Code and can demonstrate this through safe driving. The test will take around 40 minutes to complete and you can make no more than 15 minor faults. If you make one serious error then you will automatically fail.
The exact content of the test varies from area to area but it will always include:
- An eyesight check - you must read the number plate of a car parked a certain distance away.
- Two vehicle safety questions - one 'show me' question opening the bonnet to identify where certain parts are and one 'tell me' question, such as what the correct tyre pressure should be.
- Examination of your general driving - the driver will give you directions which you should follow; the test route will include a range of typical road and traffic conditions.
- Examination of two reversing exercises - including reversing around a corner, turning in the road and reverse parking.
For more details please see www.direct.gov.uk.
Making a car accident claim today
Whether you are a learner driver or highly experienced driver, if you have been involved in a non-fault car accident then we are here to help.
We can help you to claim car accident compensation for any personal injuries you sustained in the accident and may even be able to arrange for you to receive top medical treatment in your local area.
The Claim Solicitors work with an expert panel of personal injury solicitors who have an excellent success rate. They work on a no win no fee basis and you won't pay a penny in up front costs.
For free legal advice of to make a car accident claim today, just call 0800 197 32 32.