What are 'P Plates' and what does the 'P' stand for?
P Plates = Probationary driver (indicating you are a fairly new qualified driver) Although P plates are not compulsory, you are strongly recommended to use these once you have passed your driving test as they help to warn other road users that you are a new driver and to be more patient.
Is there a law to use P Plates?
Currently there are no laws in force in the UK about having to display P plates on your vehicle. Some people believe that P plates should be made compulsory for newly qualified drivers, for safety reasons. In other countries such as New South Wales and Australia, new drivers must display P plates for a minimum of 24 months by law, observe extra speed limits and have zero alcohol. There have been similar discussions to possibly introduce a similar scheme here in the UK, where all new drivers must display p-plates for the first six month of passing their test.
Should I use P Plates?
Once you’ve passed your test, it’s recommended that you use P plates until you feel confident driving alone, within different situations as well as in a range of weather conditions too. Depending on the driver, this could potentially take weeks or months. Unfortunately, P plates are frowned upon by most newly qualified drivers as they seem uncool and too similar to L plates. However if this is the case, it is a good idea to keep a set in your car. You may want to use them if you are traveling on a motorway for the first time, or visiting an unfamiliar place.