You can apply for a provisional driving licence for a car, motorbike, moped or other vehicle as long as you:
- Are at least 15 years and 9 months old.
- Can read a number plate from 20 metres away.
- Have lived in the UK for at least 185 days in total over the past 12 months.
It costs £34 to apply for a provisional driving licence online. You’ll have to provide a form of identification, such as your passport, and addresses covering the past three years. Head here to start the provisional driving licence application process.
But what can you drive on a provisional licence? And what sort of roads can you drive on?
This will be different depending on which vehicle. For example, your provisional licence will allow you to begin the process of learning to ride a moped or a light quad bike when you are 16 but if you want to starting learning to drive a car you have to wait until you are 17.
This is our essential guide to what you can and can’t do once you have your provisional licence.
What Can You Drive on a Provisional Licence?
A standard provisional driving licence will allow you to drive a car, a moped, or a light quad bike. If you want to learn to drive any other kind of vehicle, you’ll have to get a specific driving licence to allow you to.
- Agricultural vehicles (including tractors).
- Specialist vehicles including pedestrian-controlled vehicles, mowing machines, and some road rollers and tracked vehicles.
You’ll need to first acquire a full driving licence before you can learn to drive certain types of vehicles, including medium-sized vehicles, large vehicles and lorries, minibuses, and buses.
There’s a handy tool on the government’s website that’ll tell you what sort of licence you need to drive any kind of vehicle.
So What Exactly Can I Do With a Provisional Licence?
A provisional licence allows you to start learning how to drive. From age 16, your provisional licence will allow you to begin the process of learning to ride a moped or a light quad bike. And from age 17, it enables you to begin the process of learning to drive a car.
You’ll likely do most of your driving in structured driving lessons. You’ll have a qualified driving instructor to supervise you, and you’ll most likely be in a car fitted with dual controls. These will enable your instructor to take control of the vehicle, if need be.
You can drive outside of your lessons so long as you have:
- A car to drive in.
- L-plates for the front and the rear of the car.
- Someone to supervise you who meets the necessary criteria.
- The correct car insurance in place.
The person who supervises you must:
- Be at least 21.
- Have had their full driving licence from the UK, the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein for at least three years.
- Be qualified to drive the type of vehicle you’re learning to drive. So if you’re learning to drive a car with manual transmission, they’ll need a manual licence.
For more information, you can read our complete guide to driving outside of your structured driving lessons.
What Roads Can You Drive On With a Provisional Licence?
In theory a provisional licence now allows you to drive on any road in the UK. However, learners can only drive on the motorway so long as they are accompanied by an approved driving instructor and they are driving a car fitted with dual controls.
Head here to read our complete guide to driving on the motorway for learners.
Can You Drive With Passengers With a Provisional Licence?
Yes, you are allowed passengers in the car, but only as many as the vehicle can hold. You’ll always need someone with you to supervise you and it’s worth bearing in mind that having more people in your car when you are driving could add potential distraction.
The supervising driver should be completely focused on your driving. It is illegal for the person supervising you to use a mobile phone at any point while in the car with you.
Don’t Forget Learner Driver Insurance
It’s illegal for any driver to drive without car insurance. Learners are no exception.
Your driving instructor should take care of the insurance for you during your structured driving lessons if you are learning in the instructor’s car. But for any driving you do outside of your lessons, or if you are learning with an instructor in your own car, you’ll have to sort out your own insurance.
We offer learner driver insurance that’ll bring you full peace of mind at a price you can afford. And once you pass your test, you can simply change your learner policy for a new driver policy.