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Girl who's just passed her driving test

Learning to drive

What happens after I’ve passed my driving test?

Phew. Well done! It's taken many hours of wallet-emptying driving lessons but here you are. You made it.

Now what?

  1. Your driving test pass certificate

    After your test, your examiner will give you your pass certificate.

    You can use this as evidence that you have passed until you get your photocard driving licence, but you actually don't even need to carry it with you.

  2. Your driving licence

    Your examiner will take your provisional driving licence photocard to send to the DVSA, where it will be updated for your new full driving licence.

    You'll get your updated full licence photocard through the post within 3 weeks, but you don't need to wait for it to arrive before you drive.

    Driving licence

    If you keep your provisional licence because you need to send it off yourself (to change your address or photo, for example), you MUST exchange it for your full licence within 2 years. If you don't, you'll have to TAKE YOUR TEST AGAIN. The idea is making me cringe.

  3. Your car insurance

    Although you can drive before you get your driving licence photocard, you MUST be properly insured.

    Any learner driver insurance you had does not cover you as a qualified driver, so you need to call your insurance company to change it (if you want to stay with them), or arrange new car insurance.

    L Plates

    If you took your test in your own car, your learner insurance may cover your accompanying driver (for example, your driving instructor or parent) for the ride home - but it's best to check with your insurer.

  4. Your vehicle tax

    Just like insurance, vehicle tax is a legal requirement. If you have a lovely car waiting for you to hop in and go, is it taxed?

    You can tax your car online on GOV.UK and you don't even have to wait for a tax disc to arrive through the post - they don't exist any more!

  5. Your first drive

    Once your car insurance is sorted, you can go out for your first drive alone. There's a few things you might want to keep in mind:

    • Your first drive probably isn't the time to try out a motorway - in fact, you'd be wise to ask your driving instructor for a post-test lesson on motorways.
    • Really do consider P-plates. You may think they're beyond lame but they warn other road users that you're loose with no dual-controlling instructor next to they might want to think twice about pulling up real close behind you on a hill.
    • P Plates
    • Don't go and pick up a bunch of rowdy mates. It's tempting, but it will also be tempting to show off if you do, and nothing good can come of that. You need to be on super alert for your first drive - no distractions.