The Learner Driver and the L Plate

Learning to Drive with L Plates

No this is not about what you think it is, maybe the title is a little
bit misleading, anyway to the post, which is a rant about the behaviour of people who are supposed to be experienced drivers and should know better.

What is it about the L plate that seems to cause drivers to go bananas? Every single person that has a current UK driving license must have been a learner at one stage displaying L Platesand had to pass the UK driving test (I'm aware there have been scams where people have taken tests on behalf of others), yet these people seem to think that learner drivers do not have a right to be on the road!

No matter how good the driver is (this includes when I'm driving and still have the roof sign on), these 'advanced drivers' can not just stand having a car displaying L plates in front on them. They will tailgate you, 'rev' their cars behind you, overtake dangerously or just act plain stupid in order to get in front of you.

I would really like to know what it is that causes this behaviour. I know driving behind a relative beginner can be frustrating a times, but the main reason why 'advanced drivers' get stuck behind learner drivers is that they don't give the learners enough space, as they drive too close behind the learner. If the learner then stalls the car, you get stuck because you can't get round them.

While displaying L plates is part of the requirements that must be fulfilled for a learner driver to legally drive on the road(if you hold a UK provisional license you can only drive while displaying L plates and having a supervising driver aged 21 or above who has held their license for at least 3 years, otherwise you are committing an offense and are not insured), it's main purpose is to alert other road users, so that they are not surprised when the learner commits a mistake. So 'advanced drivers' please be a little more considerate when you see a car displaying a L plate, it could be a family member, friend on their UK driving test!

Note: If you hold a full UK driving license and share your car with a learner, it is advisable to remove the 'L' plates when you are driving alone, it avoids you being stopped repeatedly by the police. You shoud NOT have 'L' plates displayed on the car while driving on the motorway, there is no rule against it, but people might call the police or you get pulled over by ANPR unmarked traffic cops.

While I'm on the subject, 'advanced drivers' can you make use of your indicators! They are not there just to make your car look pretty, maybe you need those L Plates.

Q: Can you overtake other cars while displaying 'L' plates?
A: Yes a learner driver can overtake other vehicles, drive up to 70mph on a dual carriageway (you are not allowed on motorways though).

Q: Can you drive on 70mph A classified roads as a learner displaying 'L' plates?
A: Yes you are allowed on A dual carriageways even if it is multi-lane and the national speed limit applies. Under no circumstances are Learner drivers allowed on motorways, even if the speed limit is below 70.

Q: Can you have children in a car displaying 'L' plates?
A: Yes you are allowed to carry passengers in a car while learning to drive as a provisional licence holder, and that includes children or babies as long as they are in the correct seat restraints.

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  1. Anonymous3:21 pm

    Hi, just saw your comment on reynold' blog and thought i'd say stuff. I'm a learner at the moment (failed my 1st test due to my mind drawing a blank on a reverse around a corner) and can totally agree with you point about people acting strangely behind a learner. One of my first lessons involved a BMW driver tailgaiting and then overtaking me dangerously. I later caught up with him when he got stuck in traffic, but he still seemed angry. Most of the bad attitude can be given to the fact that they have had a bad day and don't want trouble from a learner.

    As for learners forgetting manouveres, it happens to me often, even though i've had 50ish lessons. I might forget techniques for reversing, or forget to look in my mirrors often (both of which i seemed to fail on in my test but i have aced in lessons/practice). It might be stress or minds just wandering. Anyway keep up the good work. I've got my next test in october. If i dont pass i'll be greatly miffed, as will my instructor.

  2. Thanks for the comments, and hope you make it on your next test.

    Just take it easy, don't rush and do exactly as you've been doing on your good lessons

  3. Yes totally right. Met a few of those and once i see them tryn to intimidate me, believe me if i was going at 20 miles per hour i slow down to 10miles per hour until they learn some patience!
    Oh well had another driving lesson yesterday was so boring! I mean everything i was doin was spot on except for me not checking my mirrors, cause i was so bored, i was driving with my eyes open but with my brain dead to the world. Well have another test coming up and hopefully would not feeze up

  4. Nneka, try not to get bored when driving, your instructor should be challenging you always. So you should be doing stuff like dual carriageways up to 70mph, large roundabouts, all your manouevers.

    Hope your test goes well

  5. Thanks
    My test is in 2 weeks so i am mentally preparing myself for it.

  6. can i take an L plate learner driver in motorways




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