Drive as a College Student
5 minutes

College is a period marked by significant academic and personal growth. Students may want to live out and express their newfound independence and freedom. For you, this may include obtaining a driver’s licence or purchasing a car.

Getting to drive yourself around is very exciting. However, being a driver brings responsibilities like budgeting for car-related expenses, navigating road regulations, and understanding car maintenance. 

If you spend most of your free time lining all your ducks up before you start driving, your schoolwork doesn’t have to suffer. Getting help from professional term paper writing services remains a viable option for support with your academic endeavours. You can purchase a cheap Studybay’s term paper prepared by expert writers or choose another trustworthy term paper writing service and not worry about your grade. 

Additionally, you can use the information herein as a guide. It will equip you with the necessary knowledge and resources to embark on your journey safely.

Getting started

Obtaining a driver’s licence is the first step towards driving in the UK as a student. So, what are the legal requirements for obtaining a valid driving licence in the UK?

The first requirement is that you have to be over 17, able to read a car licence plate from a distance of 20 meters, and possess proof of residency for 185 days (6 months) in the country during the last 12 months.

It is easy to apply for a provisional licence. All you have to do is go online to the DVLA website and provide the following information:

  • Your contact information and basic identification.
  • All your addresses for the last 3 years.
  • Your NIN (National Insurance Number); it helps with ID verification, but is optional.

After that, you must send your original identification documents to the DVLA office in your city, unless you have a British passport, a passport-style personal photo, and a return envelope. It will cost around £34 that you can pay via card once the process is complete.

If you can’t apply online for a licence, don’t worry; you can still use the post option. Just fill in the D1 form that you’ll find in specific post office branches, and post it to their address together with your original identity documents, a passport photo, and a postal order or £43 cheque.

While working hard to comply with all the licensing regulations in the UK, you mustn’t neglect your school work. You should ensure that you’re putting in your all and utilising all the tools to get the best grades. One such tool is artificial intelligence (AI). As an example, find out the best way you can make use of AI to write excellent lab reports.

After acquiring a provisional licence, you can now start learning how to drive. While some college students may not be able to afford to hire a professional instructor, investing in one can be very beneficial for you as they will significantly increase your chances of success, help you pass your driving test, and help you develop safe driving habits.

International students

If you’re an international student studying in the UK with a driver’s licence, you might need to renew it or change it to a UK licence altogether. However, if you come from a European Economic Area (EEA) country and have a full driving licence, then you’re good to go, provided that it remains valid. 

What should you do if you’re an international student from outside the EEA? Well, within the first year of staying in the UK, you’re allowed to drive with an International Driving Permit or a driving licence issued from your own country, but thereafter, you must put ‘L’ plates on your car and take out a Provisional UK Licence.

Afterwards, you must arrange to sit for a full UK Driving Test. During the entire duration of your test and until you pass it, a person over the age of 21 years and who holds a full EEA, NI, or UK Driving Licence for at least 3 years must sit at your side every time you drive, and remember, you’re not allowed on a motorway (M1, M2, M3, M4, etc.).

Preparing for the theory test

Before booking a practical test, you first have to pass the theory test. Having an active and valid provisional driving licence is the only legal requirement for taking a theory test in the UK. The test assesses your knowledge of the Highway Code, road signs, and driving theory.

You can revise for the test using software and books, and also by taking practice tests. The theory test consists of the following two parts:

  • Multiple-choice questions

To pass the multiple-choice section, you’ll need to understand the rules of the road and traffic signs. The theory test questions are based on the following 3 books:

  •         The Highway Code
  •         Driving – the essential skills
  •         Know your traffic signs

The three books contain all the skills and rules that you’ll be tested on. You can buy them from online bookshops and most high streets.

  • Hazard perception test

This portion assesses your ability to identify potential hazards while driving. You should note that hazard perception is not only about spotting hazards but also demonstrating an appropriate response, such as slowing down or changing lanes to avoid potential dangers. You can prepare for this test using the official guide to hazard perception.

Booking and taking the practical test

After passing your theory test, you’ll receive a certificate number valid for 2 years, meaning that you’ll have to pass your practical test within this period.

While the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) doesn’t require a certain number of lessons before you can book a practical driving test, as a guide, it’s recommended that you do an average of 45 hours of driving lessons with an extra 22 hours for practice as well.

Visit GOV.UK to book your practical driving test.

Insurance and vehicle ownership

After getting a full driving license, you’ll need to arrange insurance before driving your first car on the road. It is mandatory to have insurance, and it will financially protect you in case of an accident. Consider comparing quotes from different providers to find the best coverage at an affordable rate.

If you plan to purchase a car as a college student, consider factors such as affordability, fuel efficiency, and insurance costs. Used cars are usually a more budget-friendly option for students, but be sure to have any potential purchase thoroughly inspected by a mechanic to ensure it’s roadworthy.

Additionally, factor in ongoing expenses such as fuel, maintenance, and road tax when budgeting for vehicle ownership.

Driving safely as a college student

There are innumerable perks to having a car. However, driving brings with it inherent risks. As a new driver, especially, you need to prioritize safety and responsibility on the road. Adopt safe driving practices to navigate the road to safety.

Practice defensive driving by going the speed limit, keeping a safe distance from other road users, and anticipating the actions of other drivers.

You should avoid distractions such as eating, drinking, or using your phone. Lastly, you should watch out for the weather, if you’re expecting rain or snow, consider getting your tires checked or potentially removed.


Having a car in college can prove an invaluable asset, but it comes with responsibilities. Use the instructions outlined here to realize your desire of becoming a driver. As you embark on your exciting journey, follow the tips provided, and you’ll become a confident and responsible driver.

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