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Navigating the Roads: A Guide to What to Do After Passing Your Driving Test in the UK

??Congratulations on passing your driving test! You’ve successfully completed one of the most challenging milestones in your journey to becoming a confident driver. With your newfound freedom, it’s essential to know what to do and what to expect now that you have your full driving licence. This comprehensive guide will provide you with all the information you need to navigate the roads after passing your driving test in the UK.

1. Can You Drive Straight Away After Passing Your Test?

The short answer is yes, you can legally drive straight away after passing your test. Once you have passed both your theory and practical tests, your examiner will typically send your provisional licence photocard to the DVLA to be upgraded to a full driving licence. While it may take up to three weeks for your updated photocard to arrive in the post, you don’t need to wait for it before hitting the road.

1.1. What You Need to Drive Legally

To drive legally after passing your test, ensure that your car is taxed and insured. If your new licence hasn’t arrived within three weeks, contact the DVLA. Should you need to make changes to your licence, such as updating your address or photo, you’ll need to apply for a full licence yourself within two years of passing your test. Otherwise, you’ll have to retake your test, which is a situation best avoided.

2. Displaying P Plates After Passing Your Test

2.1. Are P Plates Mandatory?

While some new drivers choose to display green ‘probationary’ P plates on their car, they are not compulsory in the UK. P plates are a way of indicating to other motorists that you’ve recently passed your test and are still gaining experience on the roads.

2.2. Benefits of Using P Plates

If other drivers see a P plate on your car, they may give you more space and patience at junctions and roundabouts, alleviating some pressure as you continue to develop your driving skills. You can display P plates for as long as you feel necessary.

3. Improving Your Driving Skills with Pass Plus

To further enhance your driving skills and confidence, consider enrolling in a Pass Plus course. This optional course offers the opportunity to improve your abilities in areas such as night driving, motorway driving, and driving in different weather conditions.

3.1. Lower Insurance Premiums

An added benefit of completing the Pass Plus course is that many insurance companies offer lower premiums to new drivers who have done so. This can be a significant advantage when trying to secure affordable car insurance as a new driver.

4. Choosing the Right Car

One of the first decisions you’ll need to make after passing your test is selecting the right car to suit your needs and budget. It’s crucial to consider factors such as insurance groups, tax bands, and running costs when making your decision.

4.1. Opt for a Smaller, More Economical Car

While you might dream of cruising down the motorway in a luxury sports car, it’s generally more practical and cost-effective to settle for a smaller car that falls within the lowest insurance groups and tax bands. This will help keep your initial costs and ongoing expenses more manageable.

5. Financing Your Car Purchase

As buying a car is a significant investment, you may need to borrow money to fund your purchase. There are several options available, such as seeking assistance from the Bank of Mum and Dad, or arranging car finance through a lender.

5.1. Building Your Credit Score

If you’re applying for credit for the first time, your credit score is likely to be low, which means you may have to pay a higher interest rate on your loan or find a family member to act as a guarantor. To improve your credit score, ensure you make all payments on time and avoid excessive debt.

5.2. Factor in Running Costs

Before purchasing your new car, make sure you can afford the insurance and factor in running costs such as fuel and maintenance. This will help you avoid any financial surprises down the line.

6. Understanding the Different Parts of the Driving Test

The driving test in the UK consists of five parts:

  1. Eyesight check
  2. ‘Show me, tell me’ vehicle safety questions
  3. General driving ability
  4. Reversing your vehicle
  5. Independent driving

The test is the same for both manual and automatic cars and typically lasts around 40 minutes.

6.1. Eyesight Check

During the eyesight check, you’ll need to read a number plate from a distance of 20 metres (new-style number plate) or 20.5 metres (old-style number plate). Failing the eyesight check will result in a failed driving test.

6.2. ‘Show Me, Tell Me’ Questions

You’ll be asked two vehicle safety questions known as the ‘show me, tell me’ questions. One question will be asked at the beginning of your test, while the other will be asked while you’re driving.

6.3. General Driving Ability

Your general driving ability will be assessed during your test, covering various road and traffic conditions, excluding motorways. The examiner will give you directions to follow, and driving test routes aren’t published in advance.

6.4. Reversing Your Vehicle

You’ll need to demonstrate one of the following exercises when reversing your vehicle during the test:

  1. Parallel park at the side of the road
  2. Park in a parking bay (either driving in and reversing out or reversing in and driving out)
  3. Pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for around two car lengths, and rejoin the traffic

6.5. Independent Driving

The independent driving portion of the test lasts for about 20 minutes, during which you’ll need to follow directions from a sat nav or traffic signs.

7. What Happens If You Make Mistakes During Your Test

If you make a mistake during your test, don’t panic. It might not affect your test result if the error isn’t severe. Your driving examiner will only stop your test if they believe your driving is a danger to other road users.

8. Other People at Your Test

Your driving examiner’s supervisor might sit in on your test to observe the examiner’s performance. If you refuse, your test may be cancelled, and you’ll need to rebook and pay again. Your examiner will also ask if you want someone to sit in the back of the car during the test or be present for the result and feedback. This is typically your driving instructor, but it can be a relative or friend. They must be over 16 and follow the rules for observing tests.

9. Preparing for Your First Solo Drive

9.1. Plan Your Route

Before setting off on your first solo drive, plan your route in advance. This will help you feel more confident and prepared when navigating the roads on your own.

9.2. Check Your Vehicle

Before hitting the road, ensure your vehicle is in good working order. Check the tyres, brakes, lights, and other essential components for safety and functionality.

9.3. Stay Calm and Focused

It’s natural to feel nervous during your first solo drive. Remember to stay calm, focused, and practice the skills you learned during your driving lessons.

10. Ongoing Learning and Improvement

Even after passing your driving test, it’s essential to continue learning and improving your skills. Stay up-to-date with the latest road rules, regulations, and safety measures, and consider taking refresher courses or additional driving lessons if needed. The more you drive, the more confident and skilled you’ll become, ensuring a safer and more enjoyable experience on the roads.

In conclusion, passing your driving test is just the beginning of your journey as a motorist. By following this guide, you’ll be well-prepared for life on the road and ready to tackle any challenges that come your way. Happy driving!


*To Qualify For a Free Resit You Need To Achieve Over 39/50 In Your Exam. Read More.