A simple guide for learner drivers


From an early age, most of us imagine a time where we can get behind the wheel ourselves, and travel to your heart’s contempt. But, as you can imagine, it’s not uncommon for driver’s nearing driving age to become a little impatient to hit the tarmac.

But, before you can start driving by yourself, you will need to take out a provisional licence, allowing you to take lessons, and start learning how to drive.

But, what else does a provisional licence do? What limitations does it have? And can you drive using it?

Take a look at our simple guide to understanding how your provisional licence works.


What is a Provisional Licence?

We are aware that most of you will know what a provisional licence means, so we’ll keep this simple, and give you some insight into exactly what it could do for you.

By applying for a provisional licence in the UK, you will start your journey towards becoming a full-fledged driver.

But there are a few hurdles you need to overcome before you can begin to drive off into the horizon, namely: driving theory test and practical driving test.

Applying for a provisional licence is essential if you wish to take either of these tests in the future, but how exactly can you do this?


How can I apply for a Provisional Licence?

The application process for a provisional licence is fairly straightforward here in the UK.

However, you will need to meet certain criteria to be eligible:

  • Provide addresses where you have lived (past 3 years).
  • Provide an identifying document (i.e. Passport).
  • Able to read a number plate from 20 metres away.
  • Be at least 15 years, and 9 months old.

It’s also useful to make sure that you have your national insurance number handy (If you are having trouble finding it – look for a number which has 2 prefixes, 6 digits, and 1 suffix – for example: PA123456C).

You need to make sure that you have the £34.00 fee to hand, to process your provisional licence application.

Once this is all done, using the designated Government site (please click here), then you should receive your provisional licence within a week – provided the DVLA do not need to perform additional checks.


Can you drive using a Provisional Licence?

Well the answer is yes.

But, because you haven’t passed your driving test yet, you will not be allowed to drive on your own.

On top of this, you will need to wait until you are at least 17 years old before getting behind the wheel – despite being able to apply for your provisional licence at 15 years and 9 months old.

Driving with a provisional licence is heavily regulated in the UK, so make sure that you know all the rules before hitting the road with a driving instructor, or family member/ friend (Over 21 years old and holding a licence for 3+ years on the same type of vehicle). Make sure that you also take out insurance, if you are planning to drive with a friend or family member, and don’t forget to put ‘L plates’ on your car.

Take a look at the rules around driving with a provisional licence, here.


Can you drive on the motorway using a Provisional Licence?

Again, the answer is yes – but there’s a catch.

The only circumstance that you can drive on the motorway before you have passed our driving test is during a driving lesson.

That, unfortunately, does mean that you aren’t able to gain experience with a friend of family member, but there’s a reason for this – a driving instructor is much better suited to dealing with any issues, should they arise, on these fast-paced roads.


How long does a Provisional Licence last for?

Well, luckily enough for those of you who like to live life in the slow lane – the provisional licence does has an expiry date of 10 years.

So, once you have purchased your green provisional licence, there won’t be a massive rush for you to complete lessons, and tests. Relatively speaking, you can take it all at your own pace.

But, the rules slightly change if you decide to take your theory test, and pass.

Upon completion of your driving theory test, you will either be told that you have passed or failed – if you have passed, this will set the clock into motion.

You will then have up to 2 years to complete your practical driving test.

If, for whatever reason, you are unable to complete your driving test in this time slot, you will have to take your theory test again.


What should you do after passing your driving test?

Taking your driving test can seem very scary, but it’s essential if you want to progress and gain your full UK driving licence.

Once you have passed your test, you will usually hand the examiner your green provisional licence card, and they will arrange sending it off, to exchange it for a pink licence card.

Don’t worry, once your driving instructor has dropped you back at your home, you will be able to drive almost immediately, if you have a car at your disposal.

But, before you can even think of being able to solo drive, you will need to take out car insurance.

There are quite a few options out there for new drivers – but we recommend considering our telematics car insurance, tailored for younger drivers.

This involves fitting a small black box, no larger than your phone, into your car – from here, we can monitor your driving behaviour, tailor communications for your driving style, and reward you for driving safely with our Bonus Miles.

To find out more on how telematics can help you, please click here.


Can I take out telematics insurance as a learner?

Yes – we do offer learner driver insurance.

As a provisional licence holder, you can take out a policy us, to help you get on the road.

So, give us a quick call on 0333 103 7897, or simply press the button below to arrange a policy with us.

[su_itbbuttons link=”https://quote.insurethebox.com/#/about-you” color=”green-btn”]Get a quote[/su_itbbuttons]


Applying for your own provisional licence is a huge step towards eventually driving, and gaining a new sense of independence; but that’s where the hard work begins.

Learning to drive can be difficult for some, and easier for others – so there’s no rush to pass as quickly as possible.

Of course, you’ll want to christen your new car, or boast about it to friends, but learning to become a safe driver is the most important outcome of going from a provisional licence to a full UK driver’s licence.

So, remember to drive safely, follow the rules of your new provisional licence, and take out the proper insurance needed.

Best of luck with you future driving.


If you’d like to get a quote with us, complete it online now, or contact us on 0333 103 7897