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Due to the fact that learner drivers are still getting to grips with the rules of the road and aren’t the most confident, there are certain rules in place. Learner drivers have less freedom when compared to those who possess a full license.

A learner driver is allowed to drive on all roads, A to C, provided they are accompanied by a competent driver who is above 25 years of age and has had their full driving licence for a minimum of 3 years. The benefit of driving on busier A roads, allows new drivers to prepare learning to drive on the motorways.

A learner driver is not permitted on the motorway unless they’re with an approved driving instructor who has dual control of the vehicle.

What Is An A Road?

An A road is a road that links regional cities and towns in the United Kingdom. It is either a single or dual carriageway with a speed limit between 20mph and 70mph, depending on location. There are a few major A roads with three lanes, but this is the exception rather than the rule.

Where Are Learner Drivers Allowed To Drive?

In the UK, learner drivers are allowed to drive on all roads other than motorways with either a driving instructor, trainee driving instructor, or a parent/friend. If you wish to drive on the motorway, you’ll need to go with an approved driving instructor and use a car with dual controls.

It is important to ensure that your supervisor is over 25 years of age, has the correct licence for the vehicle you wish to drive, and has had their licence for more than three years. The licence must be from the UK, EU, Lichtenstein, Switzerland, Iceland, or Norway.

If the person supervising a learner driver doesn’t fit the above criteria, a fine of up to £1,000 can be given as well as up to six penalty points. You must also ensure that your supervisor does not use their mobile phone while in the vehicle with you, as they need to be as alert as you to ensure your safety should a problem arise.

What Are Learner Drivers Allowed To Do?

Learner drivers in Great Britain and Northern Ireland are given a fair amount of freedom. Still, some limitations are in place to ensure both the learners’ and other drivers’ safety.

A provisional driving licence requires a second driver to be in the vehicle who is qualified to supervise a learner driver. It also requires the display of L signs, adhering to the motorway driving rules and not exceeding the maximum speed limit, which is lower for provisional driving licence holders in Northern Ireland.

Driving instructor

All learner drivers must be accompanied by a driver of some form, whether that is a qualified driving instructor, a parent or a trainee driving instructor. You are not permitted to drive alone on a provisional licence.

If you wish to have motorway lessons, you will need to be accompanied by an approved driving instructor and drive in a vehicle with dual controls.

L Plates

When learning to drive, the vehicle you use needs to have the correct identification in the form of L plates in Great Britain or D plates in Wales. Ensure the plates are the correct size and colour, as using the wrong plate can result in penalty points.

In Northern Ireland, you are also required to display R plates for a year after passing your driving test. The R plate is a restricted driver plate, and anyone driving a vehicle with these plates on display must stick to the rules associated with them, such as a reduced driving speed limit.

Motorway driving

In England, Scotland, and Wales, learner drivers are permitted to drive on the motorway provided that approved driving instructors accompany them. They can only drive on the motorway in a dual-controlled vehicle. In Northern Ireland, motorway driving by learner drivers is prohibited.

Speed limits

A learner driver’s speed limits remain the same as the standard limits if you’re learning to drive in England, Scotland or Wales. In Northern Ireland, learner drivers are not permitted to exceed a speed of 45 miles per hour.

How Can Learner Drivers Protect Themselves On The Road?

While staying safe on the roads is imperative, unfortunate incidents can occur. To protect yourself, you should investigate learner driver insurance, which will insure the vehicle,  yourself and passengers against accidents or mishaps.

Learner driver insurance can be acquired for a few hours to several weeks, depending on your requirements. It is perfect for when you want to practice driving outside of your lessons.

For learner driver insurance, insurance companies require the vehicle registration number and your personal details but don’t require you to own the vehicle. You can get an insurance policy for your family’s vehicle, or your friend’s so that you can learn to drive using their car without affecting their no-claims discount. 

Learn more about how much it costs to add a learner driver to your insurance

While getting your provisional driving licence can be challenging, learning to drive can be even more intimidating. By making sure that you know the rules and have a qualified supervising driver in the vehicle with you, you’ll quickly gain the confidence needed to get your driving licence.

The bigger and busier roads can be intimidating to newly qualified drivers, therefore driving on an A road is a good way to prepare for driving on the motorway after passing your driving test.


What roads are learner drivers not allowed on?

There are no roads that a learner driver is not allowed on in the UK, other than in Northern Ireland, where they aren’t allowed on the motorway. In England, Scotland, and Wales, learner driver rules state that a learner driver can drive on the motorways safely if accompanied by an approved driving teacher and travelling in a dual-controlled vehicle.

Can a learner driver carry passengers?

Yes, learner driver rules permit drivers with a provisional licence to carry passengers provided they have an experienced driver in the vehicle and the number of passengers does not exceed the maximum number permitted in the vehicle.

What happens if a learner driver is caught driving alone?

If you are a provisional licence holder caught driving alone, you will get a £1,000 fine and up to six penalty points on your licence. It is illegal for learner drivers to drive without insurance, therefore the transgression will also be recorded on your driving record.

A mark on your driving record can result in higher premiums on your insurance policy once you have your driving licence.

Can learners drive at night in the UK?

Learner driver rules permit night driving by learners in the UK, provided that they have a qualified instructor or experienced driver in the vehicle with them and are displaying the ‘learner’ (L) plates or ‘dysgwr’ (D) plates if you’re in Wales.

With GoShorty, we offer a range of short term insurance policies for learner drivers. For those keen to get back behind the wheel in no-time, try our short term learner driver insurance policies, from 1 hour to 28 days – whatever the timeline, we have a policy for you. 

In addition to our time-saving policies, the GoShorty site offers a wealth of useful guides for learner drivers including the best way to insure a learner driver & can you get learner driver insurance on your own car.

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