P Plates for new drivers

After passing your driving test, driving alone all of a sudden may seem a little daunting.

Until now, you have had another driver watching you, checking junctions, and reassuring you when you may not be totally confident.

You also have the benefit of L-plates, which inform other drivers of your status, which hopefully will make them a little more patient towards you. Having passed, you are now driving alone, and making your own decisions, you can suddenly feel under a lot more pressure. As a result, many new drivers opt to use P-plates.

P-plates can be either a green P on a white background, or a white P on a green background. At the moment, P-plates are not compulsory, so if you do not feel the need to use them, you are not obliged to. However, recent plans mooted in Brussels suggest that at some point in the future it could well become compulsory to display P-plates.

Several road safety groups are campaigning for the government to add this rule to the New Drivers Act, which would require drivers to display the plates for 6 months after passing the practical test.

One thing to consider after passing your test is that 12% of all injury-bearing road accidents occur with novice drivers, who make up only 7% of the driving population. Research also displays that after 2 years, your driving skill can improve considerably.

This is because you are still learning even after you have passed your test – as a result, it is wise to display your P-plates after passing – the extra time and space afforded to you by other drivers could well be the difference between making it to your destination and having an accident.