by

Learning to drive

Do I need P-plates after I pass my test?

Once you've passed your driving test, it's tempting to see yourself as a driving genius. You put in the time, you paid the money. You're all set.

Except you're kind of not.

What are P-plates?

Passing your test is by no means the end of the learning to drive process - not even close. P-plates tell other drivers that you're still getting to grips with driving alone, and they need to give you some space and consideration.

The 'P' stands for 'probationary' which sounds like you just got released from juvy but really reflects the fact that you're in the 2-year period when your licence can be revoked if you get 6 penalty points or more.

Like your L-plates, P-plates let everyone know that they shouldn't try to nip out in front of you if they value their bumpers.

Do P-plates work?

Opinions on this vary wildly. In student forums there are people claiming they were treated worse because other drivers expected them to drive badly - but others saying they kept their P-plates on longer than they needed because they were treated so much better and had fewer problems with tailgating.

The only way to find out is to give it a try. For your first drive alone in particular, P-plates can just be a bit of a confidence boost.

  Click for car insurance that means good driving discounts with no curfews  

By

Honor joined ingenie in 2014 and is in charge of words on the Young Driver's Guide and blog. Her first car is a Peugeot 206 cabriolet, which is a very sensible choice for the British climate. Follow her on .