This is a collaborative post.
There are many differences when you start learning to drive depending on where you are in the world. Every country has their own laws, and you must follow the laws of the country you are in.
What Age Do You Need To Be To Drive?
The age at which you can start learning to drive depends on where you live. For most countries, it is somewhere in your mid to late teens. In a lot of countries such as Ireland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand you can start learning and take your test at the age of 16.
A driver must be at least 18 years old before learning to drive in many countries. This includes Spain, Hong Kong, India Brazil and Russia.
Some countries have 2 separate ages. Drivers can apply for a learners permit at a younger age but have to wait to be able to take their test and drive unsupervised.
One of these countries is France who allows drivers to get a learner permit and start lessons at 15 but they can’t take their test until they are 18.
Similarly, South Africa will only issue a driving licence at 18 but you apply for a learners permit from 17.
The United States of America is different because it does not have one central law regarding the age at which you can drive. It differs by state and depends on where you live.
North Dakota has one of the lowest age limits. You can get a learners permit at 14, a restricted licence at 15 and a full licence at 16.
Whereas Massachusetts has one of the oldest age limits with drivers having to wait until 16 to get a learner’s permit, 17 to get a restricted licence and 18 for a full licence.
How Much Does It Cost To Learn To Drive?
Learning to drive can be very costly. But these costs can vary from country to country. Some countries do not charge separate amounts for the individual costs of learning to drive. Italy for example costs around 800€ ($900) which includes the licence, lessons and the tests.
Hong Kong is one of the most expensive countries to learn to drive in. It cost around HK$548 ($70) for a provisional licence, around HK$200-HK$400 ($25-$50) per hour for lessons and around HK$510 ($65) to sit both a practical and theory test. The total cost to learn to drive in Hong Kong comes out at around HK$30,000 ($3,800).
Malta is one of the cheapest places to learn to drive. A provisional licence costs only 3.25€ ($3.70), lessons cost only 15€ ($17), the theory test costs 30€ ($24) and the practical test costs 23€ ($26). The total cost can be as little as 600€ ($682).
Some countries allow a driver to practice driving with family and friends to save money. But there are restrictions and not everywhere allows it. Learner drivers in Israel for example can only drive with a registered teacher.
What Insurance Do You Need To Learn To Drive?
Different countries around the world have different laws about learner insurance. You need to ask yourself ”do you need insurance with a learners permit?”. The answer is that it depends where in the world you live. Here are some examples of different laws.
In the United Kingdom, a driver needs to be insured even when learning to drive. If a driver is taught by a registered instructor or driving school the instructor will arrange insurance. If a driver is learning in a relative or friends’ car, they need to be added as a named driver to that cars insurance. However, if a driver is learning in their own car, they will need insurance and the person teaching needs to be added as a named driver.
In the United States, a driver needs to be insured before they start learning to drive. This is the case in every state. They can have their own or be added to previous policies such as their parent’s policy. Learner drivers are seen as a higher risk and so this will increase the cost of insurance. This is also the same in Australia and Germany.
What other skills do you need?
Some countries require you to have additional skills or sit additional tests before learning to drive. In Switzerland, you must complete a first aid course before you are able to apply for a provisional licence.
Some countries also require you to undergo a medical fitness test before you are able to learn to drive. Russia requires you to have a certificate of mental fitness and have no history of substance abuse. Similarly, Brazil requires drivers to pass a psychological exam. In many countries, a driver will have to prove their eyesight is good before learning to drive. The United Kingdom for example will ask you to read a number plate 20 meters away.
Drivers in Finland must take special lessons on driving at night-time and skid-pan lessons. This is because of the environment that Finish drivers will be driving in.