APPLYING for your provisional licence, taking driving lessons and passing your test are major milestones for many.
But how old do you have to be before you can get behind the wheel? Here's everything you need to know.
How old do you have to be to drive in Britain?
You can apply for a provisional licence from the age of 15 years and nine months.
But you have to wait until you turn 16 before riding a moped or light quad bike and 17 before driving a car on a public road in Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
However, you can drive a car when you are 16 if you get, or have applied for, the enhanced rate of the mobility component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
You also have to wait until 17 years old before booking a theory test and practical driving test for cars.
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When you have a provisional licence and meet the minimum age you can drive with L-plates on all roads except motorways.
However, you must be supervised when you’re learning to drive a car – this can be by a driving instructor or someone else, for example family or friends.
They must be at least 21 and have held a full licence for at least three years.
Since 2018, learners have been able to have lessons on motorways but they must be in a dual control car.
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You must also have insurance cover if practising in your own car or with a family member or friend.
When can you get a full driving licence?
You must do several things before you drive a car or ride a motorcycle.
Learners have to pass a theory test on their knowledge of the Highway Code before booking a practical driving test.
Then an examiner will put the rookie through a series of manoeuvres such as reversing into a parking bay and ask the learner to negotiate traffic independently.
If they pass, they are allowed to drive on their own even before the full licence arrives in the post – but must have an insurance policy that allows the motorist to drive without supervision.
As long as your car is taxed and insured, you’re good to go.
From December 2016, the driving tests changed to make it more "realistic" in the biggest shake-up since the theory test was introduced in 1996.
Reversing round corners was axed in favour of reversing out of a parking bay.
Learners are also asked to follow directions from a satnav rather than road signs, although now you cannot use a touchscreen while driving.
Even before passing your test, you can receive points on your license.
Learners can accumulate up to 11 penalty points and still take their driving test.
These are carried over and if you get more than 12 points within the first three years of passing the test, the license will be revoked.
How old do you have to be to hire a car in the UK?
Rental firms have their own rules on minimum age and experience.
Most companies will not hire a car or van to anyone under the age of 21, and drivers usually also need to have held a full licence for at least one year.
Higher fees apply to drivers aged under 25 as they are seen as more risky.
Young drivers may also find they are limited to a selection of hire cars and vans and may be required to pay a young driver's surcharge.
Some insurers will not provide a policy for those under 25, so be certain you are insured to prevent fines and points.
Can you be too old to drive in the UK?
You can continue to drive into your later years as long as you can do so safely and don’t have any medical conditions that affect your driving
If you’re over 70 or will be 70 in the next 90 days and want to keep on driving the DVLA requires you to renew your driving licence for free – but you do not have to re-take your test.
Once you reach 70, you must renew every 3 years – you can change the licence photo at the same time as renewing your licence.
Sometimes insurers will not pay out for drivers over 75-years-old.
If your licence expires and you don't apply for a new one, you won't legally be allowed to drive, could face a fine of up to £1,000 and even have your vehicle taken away.
The process is very simple – the DVLA will send you a D46P application form 90 days before your 70th birthday.
To renew, fill in the form and return it to the DVLA with your current driving licence photocard.
You may also need to include a new passport-type photo – the form will tell you if you need to do this.
You can also renew your licence using the GOV.UK website which will give a step-by-step guide.
The online process is straight forward and the replacement should arrive in just a week.
To apply, you need a valid email address, your National Insurance Number, addresses of where you've lived for the last three years and a valid UK passport number.
If the DVLA doesn’t send you an application form call them on 0300 790 6801 or alternatively, you can also pick one up at your local post office.
You can drive while your licence is being renewed as long as your license has not been revoked for medical reasons – or that you have been disqualified.
Drivers will need to have the permission of their doctor, have a previous valid licence, drive under the conditions of the previous licence, and their application has to be less than a year old.
If you've developed a medical condition or disability that could affect your driving, you must tell the DVLA.
Conditions could include dementia, diabetes, Parkinson’s, epilepsy, any chronic neurological condition and any condition that affects both eyes.
Unfortunately, the DVLA can tell you to stop driving if they deem you're not fit to be behind the wheel.
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