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Everything You Need to Know About L Plates

  • Posted: 18-12-2016  In: Driving News

    If you’ve gotten your provisional license and you’re starting the process to become a fully licensed driver, you no doubt want to do everything you can to pass your driving test the first time you take it. With such long wait times for driving tests, you probably also want to find out how you can take an early driving test, too.

    Whether or not you move your test appointment up, though, you will definitely want to ensure that you do everything required of you to practise driving legally so that you can take and pass your practical driving test.

    What Does Your Provisional License Allow You to Do?

    Before we get into the details of L plates and why every provisional driver needs them, though, we should first clarify what a provisional driver (or learner driver) is and what a provisional license allows you to do.

    Your provisional license, which you can apply for online, is a limited license that gives you the freedom to practise driving and take driving lessons legally. With this license, you will be allowed to drive on all UK roads with the exception of motorways. You will not be allowed to practice driving without a licensed driver in the car, though.

    In fact, the person riding with you must not only be licensed, but they must also be over the age of 21 and licensed to drive the vehicle that you are driving. They must also have held a full license for a minimum of three years, as well. Once you pass the driving test, you will no longer be subject to these provisions, which is a big incentive for a lot of learner drivers to find early driving test dates. Now, let’s talk about L plates…

    What Are L Plates and Why Do You Need Them?

    L plates – also called “learner plates” – are large, highly visible, plates with a large, red “L” that are displayed on the front and back of a vehicle when it is being operated by a learner driver. If someone with a full license is driving, these plates should be removed or covered, but whenever a learner driver is operating the vehicle, the L plates should be prominently displayed.

    So why are L plates so important? First of all, they are a legal requirement. If you are caught driving a vehicle with no L plates before you are fully licensed, you could receive as many as six penalty points on your provisional license.

    Where Should Your L Plates Go?

    When you place your L plates on your vehicle, make sure that they are clearly visible from the front and rear. If your L plates are obscured in any way, then you could be subject to the same fines and/or points on your license that you would get for not displaying them at all. As you find the best place to affix your L plates, remember that they should generally not be placed on the front or rear windscreen, as this could present a visibility restriction.

    When Can You Take Your L Plates Off?

    If you take an early driving test and you’re waiting to get your full license, you do not have to display L plates anymore. However, until you receive your license, you may still want to display P plates (similar to L plates, but they have a green “P” instead of an “L”). P plates are not a legal requirement, but since you will still be a fairly new driver, you can display these to let other drivers know that you are qualified to drive on the road but that you are not an experienced driver yet.

    You can download images for L plates or P plates online, or you can buy them. Essentially, as you wait for your early driving test, you will just want to make sure that you choose L plates that will stay affixed to your vehicle and that will be visible and have the proper dimensions (the “L” must be 102 mm x 89 mm). Then you can practise driving and get all of the lessons you need to pass your early driving test with flying colours!