GETTING behind the wheel is a passport to freedom for many teens, and a rental service can make vacation or business travel easier.
Here’s everything you need to know to get behind the wheel for the first time …
How old do you have to be to drive in Great Britain?
You can apply for a provisional license from the age of 15 years and nine months.
But you have to wait until you are 16 before driving a moped or light quad and 17 before driving a car on public roads in Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
You must also wait up to 17 years before booking a knowledge test and a practical driving test.
When you have a provisional license and are of minimum age, you can drive with L-plates on all roads except highways.
Learners should be supervised by an instructor or other qualified driver (eg a family member or friend), who should be at least 21 years old and have held a full license for at least three years.
You should also have insurance coverage whether you are practicing in your own car or with a family member or friend.
Adolescents with disabilities can start driving at age 16 if they receive or have applied for the increased rate of the mobility component of the Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
When can I get a full driver’s license?
Learners must pass a theory test on their knowledge of the highway code before booking a practical driving test.
Next, an examiner will subject the recruit to a series of maneuvers such as reversing into a parking lot and instructing the learner to negotiate traffic independently.
If they are successful, they are allowed to drive on their own even before the full license arrives in the mail.
From December the driving test will change to make it more “realistic” in the biggest upheaval since the introduction of the theory test in 1996.
The reversal of turns should be removed and, for the first time, learners will be instructed to follow directions from a GPS rather than road signs.
Transport Minister Andrew Jones said the measures would help save lives.
He said: âEnsuring that driving test is relevant in the 21st century, for example the introduction of GPS, will go a long way in achieving this. “
How old do you have to be to hire a car in the UK?
Rental companies have their own rules on minimum age and experience.
Most companies do not rent a car or van to people under the age of 21, and drivers usually also need to have been fully licensed for at least a year.
Higher fees apply to drivers under 25 as they are considered more risky.
For example, Sixt charges a young driver supplement of Â£ 36 per day.
Zipcar allows people to enroll at age 19 if they join an affiliated business or university, but they must have been fully licensed for two years without a conviction or accident.
Can you be too old to drive in the UK?
If you are over 70 and want to continue driving, you need to renew your driver’s license but you do not have to retake your exam.
Your license expires at age 70 and you must renew it every three years thereafter to stay on the road.
If your license expires and you don’t apply for a new one, you won’t be legally allowed to drive.
The DVLA will send you a D46P application form 90 days before your 70th birthday.
To renew, complete the form and return it to the DVLA with your current driver’s license card.
You may also need to include a new passport-like photo – the form will tell you if you need to. If you apply by mail, it can take up to three weeks.
You can also renew your license using the GOV.UK website which will give you a step by step guide.
If the DVLA does not send you an application form, call them on 0300 790 6801.
You can drive while your license is being renewed as long as your license has not been medically revoked – or you have been disqualified.
If you have developed a medical condition or disability that could affect your driving, you must notify the DVLA.
Conditions can include dementia, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, any chronic neurological condition, and any condition that affects both eyes.
Unfortunately, the DVLA can also tell you to stop driving if you are not fit to drive.