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Getting Practice & Accompanied Driving

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Step 1. Pass the Theory Test 

The theory test examines your knowledge and understanding of the rules of the road, good driving behaviour, risk perception and hazard perception. You must pass this test before applying for a first learner permit.  
The test involves answering questions on a touch screen computer in a test centre. It is run by the Driver Theory Testing Service. To apply for a theory test, contact the Driver Theory Testing Service or apply online at www.dtts.ie.



Step 2. Get your Learner Permit 

To apply for a first Learner Permit you will need: Completed application form (D.201)
Valid Theory Test Certificate
Birth Certificate/Baptismal Certificate/Valid Passport/Certificate of Registration Card
Marriage Certificate required if name differs to that on Birth Certificate/Passport
Medical report (D501), completed by a Registered Medical Practitioner, if required
An eyesight report (D.502) for classes A, A1, B, EB and W - eyesight report valid for one month from issue. Two recent identical passport-type photographs (signed on the back)

Drop all this into your local County Council office and they will issue you with your valid Learner Permit. Learner Permits are valid for two years. You cannot take a driving test for at least six months after getting your first learner permit.  



Step 3. Take Driving Lessons 

When you get your Learner Permit you should book driving lessons with an RSA approved driving instructor to learn how to drive safely and competently. You can find a range of approved driving instructors in your area on the RoadReady.ie website.

As a rule of thumb you will need 11/2 to 2 hours of lessons for each year of your life. So, if you are a 17 year old you would need 25 lessons. That would be a minimum, no two pupils learn at the same rate. Remember, you must have your Learner Permit in your possession while driving.



Step 4. Get your L-Plates  

When you feel comfortable enough to drive without your instructor and you’re  insured on a car, it’s recommended you get valuable experience driving the car that you’re going to take your driving test in. Remember that you must be accompanied by a person that holds a full driving licence for at least two years. Confidence and experience are everything! 



Step 5. Take Your Test   

Once you have met all the conditions for learner permit holders and you have taken instruction, the next step is to apply for your driving test. You can apply online here:  www.drivingtest.ie

On the day of your test, Make sure your vehicle displays: 

- a current valid motor tax disc, 
- an NCT disc for vehicles obliged to pass the National Car Test 
- proper "L" plates at the front and back, 
- a current valid insurance disc

Make sure your vehicle is roadworthy. Be in the test centre at least 10 minutes before your test appointment time. Give the driver tester your current Irish provisional licence. The tester will check the licence to confirm that it relates to you, is current and is for the correct category of vehicle.

The driving test will determine if you have the skills necessary to progress to being a full driving licence holder. It includes questions on the Rules of the Road and how your vehicle works and then assesses your driving skills while you drive in different road and traffic conditions.

It is recommended that learner drivers gain approximately 120 hours of driving experience, lessons and practice before taking your Driving Test. A fully licensed driver should accompany you at all times prior to receiving your full license.


Talk to your instructor about bringing your selected accompanying driver during your driving lessons in order to have a team of experience available to you while you are learning the Rules of the Road. Your selected driver may wish to refresh their own driving skills prior to commencement of your own lesson in order reaffirm their own knowledge of the current road safety laws.


The selected driver can be an invaluable resource for the learner driver providing experience, practical guidance while on the roads and provide a relaxing environment for a learner driver to develop excellent road handling skills. Keeping a driving record also enable learner to look back on their progress and set goals to help achieve a pass the first time.


Accompanying driver:


  1. Giving the gift of time to accompany a learner is the best safety gift anyone can give to someone they care about!
  2. Meet the instructor and do take a lesson and ensure your skills are correct. Be patient while the Learner gets used to a different vehicle. Avoid conflict during the drive, if there is an area of disagreement do check it or ask the instructor.
  3. Start with basic steps on wide quiet roads and work on to more demanding areas when the early steps have been mastered.
  4. A little and often is less stressful for both the Learner and the accompanying driver.
  5. Plan the route and discuss beforehand and avoid giving late directions.
  6. Help the Learner by making notes of questions so they can be checked with the instructor.


When you start practice do continue to take regular lessons with your instructor so that you can get advice on how to deal with problems you may experience and to learn further skills and of course to ensure you are developing correct driving habits.