Archive September 2014

Just Because You Have a Disability It Doesn’t Mean You Can’t Learn to Drive

As you know, we often give advice on how to go about learning to drive. This might include how to look for a driving school, what’s required of you at your theory and practical tests, and of course, how to deal with those nerves! We’ve even given you advice on many of the driver learning resources there are out there.

If you’re someone who suffers from a disability (mental or physical), it might seem that gaining a full driving licence is a very small light at the end of a tunnel let alone being able to get a provisional licence so you can learn!

However, it’s not as difficult as you might think although there are certain rules and regulations that need to followed. If you try to apply for a provisional licence and don’t declare a disability (no matter how slight) the DVLA will want to look at more closely, it could mean a fine of £1,000 and you may have more difficulty being accepted in the future.

So, with that aside what types of disability should you declare?

What the DVLA Say

There are a plethora of medical conditions mentioned by the DVLA (too many to mention here) however, to give you an idea below are some of the more common:

  • Epilepsy or any other illness that can cause blackouts or fits.
  • Diabetes which has to be controlled with medication.
  • Various heart conditions that could affect your ability to drive safely.
  • Parkinson’s disease.
  • Any form of sleep apnoea or narcolepsy.

As mentioned, there are other conditions you’re required to report but we’ve decided to list the most obvious for you. As you can see from the list, the DVLA are quite fair about this. Basically, any illness that may cause an interruption in concentration or the ability to control a vehicle should be registered.

You Can Still Learn to Drive

Just because you might be diagnosed with a condition the DVLA needs to know about, it doesn’t mean you can’t still learn to drive. In fact, there are many driving schools that specialise in helping people with all sorts of conditions gain their full licence.

Some schools are equipped with specially designed cars for those of you who have a physical problem. There are also expert driving instructors who have gone the extra mile whilst training, so they can help people with mental issues finally gain the freedom that driving a car can bring.

If you think you’re going to be singled out when it comes to expense and driving lessons think again! You’ll be treated just like anyone-else, and in fact there are many deals on “block” driving lessons to be had simply because lots of driving schools realise it may take you a little longer to learn.


As long as you’re honest and follow the proper channels required by law, there is absolutely no reason why you can’t join many other thousands of people who are in the same situation.  Before you know it, you’ll have the “road” freedom you’ve always wanted!

It’s True People Do Make Excuses for Not Paying Car Tax!

I can hear scoffs at the title to this article as I write these words. However, for the more law abiding people who have just gained a full driving licence, this is where it all begins!

Not only have you been deemed legal to drive alone and in your own vehicle, you now have the added responsibility of making sure your car isn’t going to land you in hot water with the authorities. We could discuss insurance, MOT’s and such like but today we’re sticking with road tax.

First of all….

Changes You May Not Be Aware Of

As most drivers will be aware, the law currently states you have to display your tax disc in the bottom of your windscreen. However from 1st October this all changes because you will no longer need this valuable piece of paper.

In an effort to streamline the process, the DVLA has introduced a system that works online. This means you will no longer have to display the disc. Even if you have a few months left to run (road tax runs for 6 or 12 months), you can still do away with the paper version.

You won’t need to pay more as the system will already know you’ve “paid up”. Anyone who needs to renew their road tax or take it out for the first time will need to complete a form online. Don’t worry if you don’t have internet! Your trusty local Post Office will still be able to do it for you.

Some drivers agree with the new system, others don’t but that’s a discussion for some other time. What you do have to remember is you CAN (and probably will) get fined up to £1,000 for not paying regardless of how the process works.

Now, on to why some people think it’s OK not to pay…..

Non-Payment of Road Tax Excuses

So, some of the excuses below may seem like they’ve been made up but in fact they’re quite the opposite:

  1. I had every intention of paying my road tax but on the way, I noticed a horse race was on with one of my favourites running. I couldn’t resist and had a bet! Unfortunately, it lost and I didn’t have any money left.
  2. I fell out of a tree whilst picking fruit and broke both my arms!
  3. I was unable to go to the Post Office because I had “man” flu.
  4. I was away for a few months and forgot where I parked my car.
  5. I was informed by my accountant that I was due a tax rebate, so I thought I didn’t have to pay.

These are just a select few of the excuses various people come with, and if you’re thinking of using one of them forget it! All of the people responsible for any of the above ended up with a fine.

The fact is, as a new (or well accomplished) driver road tax isn’t something you can get away with. After all, can you imagine the state of our roads if this system wasn’t in place!

You’re Never Too Old to Gain That Full Driving Licence

When you reach a certain age, there are many things you can come across that may leave you saying “I’m just too old now”. Perhaps you always wanted to climb a mountain, but never found the opportunity and now you’re afraid your body just won’t deal with the physical stress.

It could also be that you thought about travelling the world, going white water rafting or even doing a bungy jump but never found the time. The list can be endless especially when your thirties are behind you and you feel you’ve reached a “certain age” where sense should prevail.

It can be the same if you’ve never learned to drive, and there are also many reasons why this might have happened. Perhaps you’ve spent most of your life living in an inner city and a car just wasn’t something you ever needed? Or, maybe you had a bad experience learning to drive when you were younger and that’s left you feeling too nervous to give it another go.

Whatever the reason….

It’s never too late!

OK, so the thought of jumping off a bridge with only a piece of elastic to keep you safe might send a shiver down your spine, but so can the idea of finally learning to drive when you’re older. After all, there is a certain stigma attached to gaining this skill, and that’s the fact most people do this in their late teens or early 20’s.

However the one thing to remember is, (unlike bungy jumping) learning to drive is for EVERYONE! There are no age restrictions to speak of except for the fact that you need to be at least 17 years old (and that probably doesn’t apply to you if you’re reading this). Plus, you will find that if you’re aged from 30 upwards, you’ll be met with a little more respect simply because you have more life experience.

Points to Consider

When you first start looking for a driving instructor (and it is best that you do), think about how you’re going to feel about the person sat next to you. Some people may not be bothered by an instructor who is younger than them, but for those of you who are don’t be afraid to ask for someone who is more your age bracket.

If, in the past you decided to give up on the idea of learning to drive because it was all just too much for you it can be a struggle dealing with the nerves. Again, you can speak to a driving school about this issue and the experts they have will be more than happy to help you through this.

Above all, don’t worry about the fact that you’re a “mature student”. You’re not the only one and it will surprise you when walking into a test centre how many people are the same age as you. As said, it’s never too late to gain a full driving licence and although it can be a nerve racking time there are plenty of driving schools out there who will welcome you with open arms.