Michael Shumacher, Nigel Mansell, Colin Mc Rae, just like the rest of us, these famous racing drivers started their driving careers by applying for a provisional driving licence. Whether you have ambitions to become a superstar racing driver or simply need a licence for the daily commute, your first step up the ladder will be applying for your provisional driving licence.

You can apply for a provisional driving licence in the UK three months before your 17th birthday or three months before your 16th birthday if you are disabled and eligible to receive the higher rate of disability.  In both cases you must not drive a car until the day of your birthday.

At present the provisional driving licence application fee is £50. You can apply online or by post, and can pick up an application form at your local post office.

There are a few things to consider before filling out your application:

1)      Do you meet the minimum eyesight requirements?

You must inform the DVLA when you fill out your application if you have an eyesight condition that affects your eyes or your sight, but not including short or long sight or colour blindness. Additionally, you will not be allowed to sit the Practical Driving Test if you cannot read a car number plate at a distance of 20.5 metres.

2)      Do you suffer from any of the medical conditions listed by the DVLA?

 You must inform the DVLA if you have a medical condition that is listed on the Direct.gov website. The site lists every medical condition that must be reported to the DVLA when you fill out your application form. These conditions do not mean that you are instantly prohibited from driving, but a medical enquiry will be initiated by a DVLA medical advisor. You can check the listed medical conditions here: www.direct.gov.uk

If you meet the eyesight and medical requirements you should receive your provisional driving licence within two weeks. It has been known to take up to three weeks however so bear this in mind when considering when to apply.

Your provisional driving licence is valid until you reach the age of 70 providing you remain in good health, although the photograph needs to be renewed every 10 years.