Getting Driving Licence In Britain

I have been driving in India since I was 18 and must have done at least 100,000 kms over 20 years. But when it came to applying and getting a British Licence I was skeptical about my chances. I found the government website quite useful in understanding the procedure. I spoke to several folks to understand challenges in each stage and i mitigated them when it came to my application. I wanted to share them with you hoping you would benefit from them:

Provisional Licence: Indians can driving in UK for 12 months with their Indian Licence however they need to apply and undergo the regular process to get a British Licence. essentially, we don’t have the privilege of submitting out Indian Licence to get British just as many other countries including Zimbabwe do. They key challenge here is that your BRP needs to be sent to DVLA for background check. it would take about 2 weeks for DVLA to return it so if you are expecting any travel abroad… beware! Also when you are submitting the documents, you can sent it as a registered post so that you would get an acknowledgement. Don’t use the envelope that DVLA would sent you in response to your application.

Theory Test: Once you get your provisional licence, you can apply for theory test. Don’t hurry onto it. It takes some reading to be able to pass comfortably. I will recommend an App ‘Theory 4 in 1’ app. this is about £5 but invest in the mobile app.

Theory Test: For the multiple choice questions, just keep taking the questions and the ones you get wrong – mark them for revision later. Once you finish taking all questions then you would be left with questions that you got wrong the first time. You could easily revise it one more time since you marked it the first time.

Hazard Perception Test: This is tricky and its good to watch a few YouTube tutorials before you start taking the tests.

Practical Test: Once you clear the theory test, you could go for practical test.

You will need an instructor and I will highly recommend AA since they have good cars and well experienced instructors. You will minimum need 10 hours of instruction so go for it in one go and you could save money.

Selecting right test center is key. Central london has very low pass rates while some of the others outside have better pass rates. you could check the pass rates near your home before applying. for instance the centre I selected was Isleworth which has 42.4% of tests resulted in a pass between 2017 and 2018. While that’s below the UK average of 46.3%, it’s not bad considering it’s busy urban location.

Once you get your instructor and center; you have clear plan for getting trained. while you learn from the instructor, here are a few videos that i found very good

Navigating a roundabout
Driving with road sign
Nearside to nearside turning
Video on correct signalling
Show me , tell me question
Top mistakes in driving test

Some of the areas I was going wrong were:

  1. We are expected to see Mirror first and then signal. However I was putting signal and then seeing mirror
  2. In India, we typically use breaks quite harshly. perhaps this is to ensure no one takes the space between us and the car ahead of us… whatever be the reason, this is not appreciated here
  3. As learner in UK, we tend to slowdown and give way even in places where we have priority. This is not good and can fail us. so if you have right of way, you must take it
  4. When entering main road, I used to jump in if I saw a large gap but you don’t do that. Especially if you see a cyclist – just stop!
  5. If you are taking reverse, and you see pedestrians or other cars – just stop and observe. even if they are safely far, don’t take chance during test.

All the best for your Licence!

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