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Learning to drive

Most people can start learning to drive at 17. If you have special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), there are organisations that can help you learn, as well as disability specialist driving instructors. 

Get a provisional licence  

Before you take lessons or practise driving, you need to 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 taking driving lessons, you must always be supervised in the car. You can learn to drive with a driving instructor, family or friends providing they meet the laws.  

If you are paying someone to teach you to drive, they must be registered with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). Only Approved Driving Instructors (ADI) can charge money for teaching you to drive.

Before starting your driving lessons, you may want to have a conversation with the driving instructor and ask them about: 

  • costs of lessons 
  • the tests you will need to do 
  • if the instructor is registered as an ADI 
  • if the instructor can teach someone with your needs and/or disability 

There are driving instructors who offer support specifically for people with additional needs or disabilities. You can visit the Disability Driving Instructors website to find a specialist instructor in your area. 

Theory test

You can book your theory test at 17. There are several apps, guidance and books that can help you prepare. You can practise on the following topics: 

When booking your theory test, say that you have a disability or health condition. The test centre will be able to provide support such as:

  • extra time
  • someone to read what is on the screen
  • an interpreter, lip speaker or hearing loop to take the test in British sign language
  • rewording the question

If you need support before your test, contact the DVLA on 0300 200 1122 or email: [email protected]

Driving test

You can book your driving test on the government website. You will have to drive to the same standard to pass your test but examiners can make adjustments for: 

  • physical disabilities
  • deafness or hearing impairment  
  • reading difficulties
  • learning difficulties  

You need to tell the DVLA about some medical conditions as they can affect your driving.

The following organisations help people with disabilities learn to drive: