MiniWe all know that having a love of cars isn't just for men, but unless you get your driver's licence, you're stuck admiring them from afar.

Many women learn to drive when they turn 17 or 18, when they can legally apply for their permit. But not everyone has the time or money to do it at such a young age, and many people end up learning later in life. Whether you learn as soon as possible, or you put it off, the process of learning to drive and passing your test can be daunting. It's both exciting and nerve-wracking getting behind the wheel of a car and knowing the level of responsibility it gives you. To help you feel better about this momentous task, you first need to understand what you need to do, and in what order.

Apply for a Provisional Licence

Before you're allowed in the driver's seat, you must first have a provisional driving licence. It's easy to apply for and costs £50. You can send in an application three months before your 17th birthday, or when you turn 16 if you receive the higher level of Disability Living Allowance. You can get an application form from the Post Office or find one online on the DVLA website. Your licence will require a passport-sized photo of yourself and ID.

Book Practical Lessons

Looking for the right driving instructor can be difficult. There's more to think about than just the price, although that will be one of your concerns. Not every instructor is the same, so you may find that some people's teaching styles don't suit you. If you're unsure, it can be better to try out just one lesson before you buy a set of them in bulk. You should also decide if you want to learn in a manual or automatic car. Remember that if you learn in an automatic, you will only receive a licence to drive automatic cars. Don't forget to make sure you find an approved driving instructor, who will all have green badges in their windscreen.

Study for and Pass the Theory Test

Before you can pass your practical test, you need to take the theory test. At the same time as taking your driving lessons, you should also be studying for the other part of getting your licence. Once you're ready to take the test or a few weeks before, you can use a site like Book Theory Test Today to get your test booked online. There are lots of resources you can use in the run up to the day, including your theory handbook, DVDs and mock tests.

Practising and Taking the Practical Test

You should have a recommended 45 hours of tuition with your driving instructor. They can also take you through what to expect from your practical test. On the day of the test, bring your theory test certificate and both parts of your driving licence. You will need to do an eyesight test, answer two questions about the vehicle, and either show or tell the examiner how to carry out a safety check. Then you will take a 40-minute practical test, including 10 minutes of independent driving.

Learning to drive can be frightening, even for the most enthusiastic learner. But once you have your licence you'll love being able to go wherever you want to.

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