What are P Plates and should you be using them?

P Plates indicate that the driver of the vehicle is a probationary driver.

Although they are not compulsory, you are strongly recommended to use these once you have passed your driving test as they help to warn other road users that you are a new driver and to be more patient.

Is there a law to use P Plates?

Currently, there are no laws in force in the UK about having to display them on your vehicle.

Some people believe that P Plates should be made compulsory for newly qualified drivers, for safety reasons. In other countries such as New South Wales and Australia, new drivers must display them for a minimum of 24 months by law, observe extra speed limits and have zero alcohol.

There have been similar discussions to possibly introduce a similar scheme here in the UK, where all new drivers must display P Plates for the first six months of passing their test.

Should I use P Plates?

Once you’ve passed your test, it’s recommended that you use them until you feel confident driving alone, within different situations as well as in a range of weather conditions too.

Depending on the driver, this could potentially take weeks or months.

Unfortunately, these probationary plates are frowned upon by most newly qualified drivers as they seem uncool and too similar to L Plates. However, if this is the case, it is a good idea to keep a set in your car. You may want to use them if you are travelling on a motorway for the first time, or visiting an unfamiliar place.

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