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First time drivers

Information about getting started with driving and answers to common questions.

First time drivers

Will I be able to drive?

Can I cope with the controls in a manual car or would an automatic be better?

If I need an automatic car because of my physical disability, can I manage standard controls or would adaptations be needed?

If I have a learning disability would an automatic help or will I be able to manage to drive a manual car?

If I can’t hear the engine how do I know when to change gear, would an automatic be an advantage or is there anything else that would help me drive a manual car and know when to change gear?

Where can I get advice, where can I find out if I can drive? So many questions………………

What will I be able to drive?

Many people with physical disability, with special educational needs and those with hearing difficulties are driving cars every day of the year, it may be possible to drive a standard manual car but may be necessary, or easier, to drive an automatic. Sometimes adapted or modified controls are required and for some people with more severe disability the adaptations may need to be more complex.

Who can give me advice?

You need a licence to start driving and to hold a licence you must comply with the medical standards of fitness to drive. If you think you have a medical condition that could affect your fitness to drive seek advice from your GP or optician or visit the DVLA website:

If you need further advice before applying for your first provisional driving licence contact your nearest Driving Mobility driving assessment centre, go to or ring 0800 559 3636. If you need confirmation of your potential to hold a licence a pre-driving assessment could be carried out before applying; you would need to have received your licence before doing the in-car driving assessment – unless the assessment centre has off road facilities.