What do I need to do before taking lessons?
You must be at a legal age to drive and hold a valid Provisional icence. The minimum age that you can legally drive on a public road is 17. If you receive higher rate mobility allowance you can drive
from the age of 16.
Information on applying for a Provisional Licence is available here. You must also be able to read an old style number plate at 20.5 metres or a new style plate at 20 metres.
Do I have to pass my theory before starting lessons?
No. But you must pass your theory to be able to take your practical test. It is best to study for your theory and take it as soon as possible, then you can put into practice what you have learned when taking your lessons.
How long will it take, and how many lessons will I need?
That will depend on a number of things, such as the frequency of lessons, your age and if you have had any road experience on bicycle or motorbikes for example. Everyone learns differently and it's important not to compare yourself too much with others. On average complete beginners can take between 30 and 40 hours to get to test standard, some take less and others more.
Can I practice with family while also taking lessons?
Yes. In fact it can help you learn much quicker as long as you practice just as you have been taught by your instructor. You must be insured to drive the car you are practicing in and the supervising driver must be over 21 and have held a full licence for at least 3 years.
What do I need to take with me to my lessons?
Have both parts of your licence and be wearing any contact lenses or glasses if required. Wear a comfortable pair of shoes, no high heals and shoes with thick soles should be avoided.
Can you collect me from work or home?
Yes, you can be collected at work or home or any pre-arranged location if it is agreed before the lesson. The finish point of the lesson need not be the same as the pickup provided it is agreed at the beginning of the lesson.
How long will the lesson last?
Lessons can be 1 hour, 1.5 hours or 2 hours.
Will it be just me or do I share with an other pupil?
You will never share with anyone on a lesson. Piggy backing as it is sometimes referred to is where one pupil is asked to collect the next pupil, who then drives the first pupil home. Some driving schools use this practice to save time and money. At DKL you will have the full lesson time to yourself.
How much of the lesson is driving?
I believe in devoting as much time as possible to actual driving, it is after all a Driving Lesson. Depending on the topic being taught there will be some time required for briefing when introducing a new topic or to explain something in more detail, but time by the side of the road is kept to a minimum.
When can I take my test?
When you are confident to drive in all traffic conditions without being told what to do by your instructor, then you should be ready to do the test.
Where will I take the practical?
Normally you will take it at a test centre nearest to you. In Belfast there are two, Balmoral of the Boucher Road and Dill Road in East Belfast. At DKL we operate mainly from Balmoral, Dill Road, Lisburn and Newtownards centres.
What car will I use for the test?
You can use our car which you will have been learning in, it is also possible to take the test in a private car as long as it is properly insured for the test and has been fitted with an extra interior mirror for the examiner and of course L plates.
What do I need to have with me for practical?
You must bring both parts of your Provisional Licence, theory certificate and registration document for the car. If using our school car, the registration document will be supplied by your instructor.
How long does the practical last?
The L test lasts about 40 minutes and includes one manoeuvres and an emergency stop. It will also include about 10 minutes of independent driving. The extended test will last about twice as long but otherwise is similar to the L test.
Is it true the examiners are only allowed to pass so many candidates and if you take your test near the end of the week you are more likely to fail if they have filled their quota?
No. There are no test quotas. You will be assessed on your ability to drive safely and to the required standard. The examiner cannot make up faults if they do not exist.