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What Age Can You Learn To Drive?

The use of cars has surged substantially over the last few decades, playing a key role in global transformation. This is why, learning to drive vehicles is considered crucial in the modern world.


People now understand that the ability to drive provides independence and freedom. However, the age at which one can learn to drive varies significantly depending on your country of residence. 

In this article, we answer the important question of when can you learn to drive in the UK and also examine whether you can learn to drive at 16.

When Can You Learn To Drive In The UK?

In the United Kingdom, the legal age for driving an automatic or manual automobile is 17 years. So, regardless of how good a driver they are, the law requires them to wait until they reach this age before driving on public roads.

Can You Learn To Drive At 16?

Yes, several exceptions enable individuals under the age of 17 to drive their cars. One noteworthy exception is that if you want to drive a car in the UK at the age of 16, you must have applied for the enhanced rate of the mobility component of the Personal Independence Payment (PIP). 

How Is It Beneficial For New Drivers?

The best part of this provision is that it enables young drivers to start their driving lessons and get training from qualified instructors. It is pertinent to mention here that even such individuals have to wait till the age of 17 to take their practical driving test and get a full driving license. 

To legally drive a car on a public road, a person must be at least 17 years old. However, some schools provide off-road driving opportunities as early as age 12. 

The primary advantage of these driving activities is that they allow young people to gain priceless experience in controlled settings. As a result, they can become more accustomed to the fundamental driving skills. 

Whether or not these driving lessons help drivers pass a driving test is debatable. When it comes to driving in general, they do, however, provide drivers more confidence because they are acclimated to their cars by the time they are allowed to operate them on public roads.

Why Has 17 Years Been Set As The Legal Age?

The decision to establish 17 as the standard age was made after considering several factors, including but not limited to:

  • Safety of drivers and that of others on the roads;
  • Driver maturity;
  • Cognitive development.

Studies suggest that individuals who are 17 years of age or older illustrate a higher level of maturity and responsibility when it comes to following traffic safety laws and guidelines.

Graduated Driving License Scheme

The graduated driving license program was introduced by the UK government to improve new drivers' road safety. Under this arrangement, drivers who pass their test at the age of 17 are subject to various limitations in the early stages of their driving careers. Among these limitations are:

  • Limit on the total number of passengers that such drivers can carry;
  • Driving at night.

The purpose of doing this is to accustom these new drivers to the rules of road safety so that they can drive their vehicles more responsibly.

Final Verdict

Although a large number of individuals wish to begin driving their vehicles at the age of 16, the legal limit in the UK at which drivers can start learning to drive their vehicles on public roads is 17.

There are, however, certain disability benefits that give some individuals the ability to obtain their provisional driving license at the age of 16.

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