Learning to drive can be an exciting and overwhelming process. Not only are you learning how to operate an entire vehicle with no previous experience, but you are also responsible for keeping yourself and other drivers safe on the road. That being said, you’re also investing in your own independence, which is a great feeling.

But before you can even get on the road, there are a few rules you should familiarise yourself with first. Here are some of the most important things learner drivers need to be aware of from a legal perspective.

Make sure you’re allowed to drive

All learner drivers must be at least 17 years old and have a valid provisional licence. This provisional license proves that you meet all the requirements to be able to drive. To get the license, you have to meet certain health and eyesight requirements, and this can be done in a matter of weeks.

Once your green card arrives, you are then able to book a theory test, which has to be passed before you can take your driving test. You don’t have to have passed your theory test before taking lessons, however; if you prefer to do the two things in tandem, that is absolutely fine.

Check what you can do outside of lessons

Most learner drivers will want to practice outside of lessons as most lessons only last an hour or so. The good news is that you can practice in your own time, but it comes with a few prerequisites. You have to be supervised by someone over 21 years of age, and they have to have held a driving license for at least three years.

Choose your supervisor carefully. Whether it’s a parent, a sibling or a friend, make sure that they are a safe driver and won’t teach you irresponsible practices and manoeuvres. It’s also crucial that you have an L plate visible on your car so that other drivers know to give you time and space on the road. You might want to consider obtaining a comprehensive learner insurance policy too for added peace of mind.

Driving on the motorway

One of the scariest steps of learning how to drive is driving on the motorway. As of June 2018, learner drivers can now practice on the motorway with their driving instructor before passing their test. It requires a bit of courage and self-belief to take the plunge, but it will make you a better driver in the long run.

For this, you also have to fulfil certain requirements. You must be accompanied by a fully qualified driving instructor and you must be driving a car with dual controls so that your instructor can navigate any tricky situations for you.