Do I need to have ‘L’ plates when I’m learning to drive?

At WiseDriving, we understand that learning to drive is hard enough, without having everyone on the roads know that you’re a learner.  However, L plates are really important and useful, as they make sure that other road users know that you’re still learning to drive which should help people to be more patient if you make little mistakes. This gives you time to get to grips with being behind the wheel, without the pressure of needing to get everything right first time. Here’s some useful information about your L plates and getting on the road…

Do I have to have L plates on my car?
While you still have a provisional license, you should have L plates clearly displayed on your car whenever you’re behind the wheel. Don’t worry, this isn’t to make you stand out in a bad way. It’s just to make sure that other drivers give you the time and space that you need. Everyone was a learner once and we all had L plates too – so most drivers will be much more patient if they see the universal L of a learner driver.

Where do I get my plates from?
Car shops like Halfords and some garages may have them, or you can order them online. Some L plates are magnetic, and others stick on, so make sure that you choose the right ones for your car – you don’t want them to fall off! Your L plates need be a specific size and should be a red L on a white background. Find out more about what size they need to be here.

Where do I put my L plates?
You should put one plate on the front of your car, and the other on the back, making sure that they are clearly visible at all times. If you have to fix one to the back window, you should also make sure that it doesn’t restrict your view.

Can I drive on my own if I have L plates on?
Unfortunately not – until you pass your driving test and have your full license, you must be accompanied by someone whenever you drive. However, it doesn’t have to always be a driving instructor. A friend or family member can supervise you if they:
  • Are over 21
  • Are qualified to drive the type of vehicle you want to learn in
  • Have had their full driving licence for at least 3 years

But if you’re driving with a friend or family member, you need to make sure that you’re insured. If you have your own car, you’ll need learner driver insurance. But if you’re driving in their car, you need to check that their insurance covers you as a learner.

Remember – if you’re driving with anyone other than your driving instructor, you can’t drive on a motorway.

I’ve just passed my test – do I need P plates too?
You don’t have to – but it’s often a good idea to have them for a little while. You can have them for as long (or short) as you like, but they often help other road users to recognise that you’re a newly passed driver. This means that if you make little mistakes (like stalling your car or taking your time more than usual,) they should be more patient with you.
 

Posted on March 23, 2020


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