What do I need to start driving?

Initially you must apply for a provisional driving licence before you can start to drive.

You can apply for your provisional driving licence on line by clicking on this link https://www.gov.uk/apply-first-provisional-driving-licence#before-you-start and paying a fee of £34 or by completing the D1 application form that is available from the DVLA form ordering service or Post Office® branches. You will also need to enclose original documentation confirming your identity, a passport style colour photograph and the fee of £43.00 or a fee of £34 if applying on-line.

You can apply in person or by post. Send your completed application and payment to DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1AD or you may be able to use the premium checking service at a Post Office.

Normally, for car drivers, the earliest date your provisional licence can become valid is your 17th birthday, however you can apply for the licence up to three months before your 17th birthday.

If you get, or have applied for, the enhanced rate of the mobility component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) your provisional licence will come into effect when you are 16, but you can apply for it within three months of your 16th birthday.

Will I have to take an eyesight test?

You should make sure your eyesight is good before starting to learn to drive. Before taking your practical driving test the examiner will check your eyesight and before starting a course of driving lessons your instructor will check your eyesight, so make sure it is OK from the start. You will be asked to read a number plate to confirm your eyesight.

The distance requirement for the old-style number plate is 20.5 metres. The distance requirement for the eyesight test with the new-style number plate is 20 metres. New-style number plates were introduced on 1 September 2001 and are easily identifiable because they start with two letters i.e. AB51 ABC.

How many driving lessons will I need?

Everybody is different so it is not possible to give a definite answer. The guideline from the DVSA is a minimum of 40-45 hours tuition, ideally with the opportunity for additional practice, before you are at the required standard for test. However, the exact amount will vary from person to person.

At MSM Driving Academy your progress will be monitored using a Driver Record, covering the whole syllabus, so in conjunction with the instructor you will be able to monitor your progress regularly and see when you are reaching test standard.

How often should I have lessons?

Again, this will vary from person to person, depending on availability. However, to maintain progress you should plan to have at least one hour per week, or a two hour lesson either weekly of every fortnight.

At MSM Driving Academy you can also undertake a Fast Pass or intensive course, if you wish to learn in a shorter space of time. This will depend on your availability and require forward planning together with the instructor, and will be based on two hour lessons within an agreed schedule.

Do I need to pass my Theory Test before starting lessons?

No. You can start lessons before taking your theory test. Ideally you will learn for your theory test as you learn to drive, and as you practice your hazard perception skills, this should help your driving. The theory test consists of 50 multiple choice questions and 14 hazard perception video clips. You must pass both parts at the same test to gain a pass certificate. You must have a theory Test Certificate before you can apply for your practical driving test. The nearest theory test centres for the area covered by MSM Driving Academy is St Helens. Just ask us at MSM Driving Academyif you need any further information.

What are "Show Me/Tell Me" Questions?

Since the introduction of the theory test there are no additional questions any more after completing your driving test. However, you will be asked two questions, one just before your test and one during your test in which you will be asked to “show” or to “tell” your knowledge of basic maintenance such as where to check fluid levels under the bonnet or operation of auxiliary controls such as windscreen and rear window wash, opening window, demister etc.. This may require you to open the bonnet and point out basic features such as engine coolant level etc.

Your instructor at MSM Driving Academy will explain these questions and give you answers in good time before your test and, of course, during your lessons. If you have any questions or concerns, just ask!

What is Pass Plus?

MSM Driving Academy recommends that you seriously consider completing a Pass Plus course once you have passed your driving test. It is statistically proven to reduce the risk of accidents and a large part of the course fee can be off-set against a reduction in insurance premium offered by many leading insurance companies to drivers with a Pass Plus certificate.

PASS PLUS is a training scheme for new drivers. It's much more than just a few extra lessons. This specially designed course by the Driving Standards Agency (DSA), with the help of insurers and the driving instruction industry, helps you:

Gain valuable driving experience safely

You will be taught how to deal with a wide range of road and traffic situations, many of which you probably won't have faced before

Build on your existing skills and knowledge

It can take years to become a skilled driver. PASS PLUS helps get you there by speeding up the learning process under expert tuition

Reduce your risk of being in a road crash

The course will help boost your awareness of all kinds of hazards and help you learn how to anticipate, plan for and deal with them safely

Save money on car insurance premiums

Naturally, you will have to pay for the course. Fees for the PASS PLUS course will vary depending on where you live and the instructor or driving school you choose. Bear in mind too that it will take a minimum of six hours, all of which need to be taken after passing your test. If more sessions are needed for you to successfully complete the course, this may add to the cost. When you have successfully completed the course, you are advised to check available discounts offered by the insurance companies taking part in the scheme. The amount you save will depend on the company you choose, you may even save more than you paid for the course.

Boost your confidence

If you feel nervous driving on your own, the PASS PLUS training can help you become more confident on the roads

Give peace of mind to your loved ones

PASS PLUS consists of six practical modules which cover driving in town, in all weathers, on rural roads, at night, on dual carriageways and on motorways. You can take it at any time within the first 12 months of passing your test.

There is no test at the end of it – your driving will be continually assessed and you must successfully complete all the modules in the course to an achieved or exceeded standard:

achieved – successfully reached the standard required for each of the competencies

exceeded – exceeded the required standard for each of the competencies

In exceptional circumstances, if a module can't be done on the road it will be covered in a theory session. The highest level you can reach is 'achieved' as you've not been able to demonstrate the relevant practical skills.

Don't worry if you haven't got a car at the moment, you may be able to defer the discount for up to two years!!. Again, check with your insurance company.

If you passed your test more than a year ago you should check that you'll be eligible for the discounts on offer from your insurance company before you take the course.

More information can be found by visiting https://www.gov.uk/pass-plus/overview or just ask us at MSM Driving Academy for more information about cost.