Should I use P-plates when I pass?

Lesson Type
Last updated: 12 Nov 2019

If you’re preparing for life as a newly qualified driver you’re bound to have a lot of questions. If one of these is whether or not you should use P-plates once you’ve passed, this short guide will help you decide.

What are P plates?

The P stands for ‘probationary’, and green P-plates are used to let other motorists know that you’re a new driver. You’re not required to use them by law, but many new drivers opt to display them. Generally, other drivers will be more considerate when they see that you’re newly qualified on the roads, and this can be helpful for nervous drivers in particular.

Making the transition

Initially, the thought of driving alone is an exciting one, but once that buzz has worn off, it can be quite daunting. Even though you’ll be used to driving with an instructor during driving lessons, you’ll face new challenges. The first time driving alone on a motorway, for example, may be a bit nerve-wracking, but P-plates can help make the transition from learner to driver run a little smoother.


Won’t people think I’m a bad driver?

No, displaying P-plates doesn’t tell other motorists that you’re a bad driver. If you were a bad driver, you wouldn’t have passed your test!

What it does tell them, however, is that you haven’t had a lot of experience of driving alone. Recognising this should make other drivers behave more considerately towards you.

How long should I keep P plates on for?

There’s no official guidelines as to how long you should keep your P-plates on for after passing your test, so it’s up to you to judge when you don’t need them anymore.

P-plates are simply there to help whilst you gain more on-road experience. As you grow in confidence, you’ll find you don’t even think about them being there.

It’s up to you

Whether or not you use P-plates after passing your test is completely up to you, but whatever you decide to do, drive safely and enjoy your newfound freedom!