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Upon receiving your provisional licence, you’ll likely have some questions about the various rules associated with practising to drive – for instance, can a learner driver drive alone? Why not? And what actually happens if a learner driver is caught driving alone? 

When learning to drive it’s important to drive responsibly to avoid getting points on your provisional or invalidating your learner insurance. Our learner guides are here to help you drive responsibly as you work towards passing your test.

Can a Learner Driver Drive Alone?

In short, you cannot drive alone with a provisional licence, and it’s crucial that learners are aware of this vital rule of the road. The fact that a provisional licence does not allow learners to drive alone might seem obvious, but it catches people out every year. You can only drive on your own when you have passed your driving test, be that for an automatic or manual licence,  and purchased the correct learner car insurance.

If you’re caught driving without the correct supervision, you’ll be subject to various penalties before you’ve even taken your practical test. Whether you’re practising in your own car (lucky you!), or borrowing a parent’s car for practice, you’ll always need insurance and a supervisor. 

We have a whole guide explaining who can supervise a learner driver, so you can be sure you’ll never be caught out driving alone or without the correct supervision. 

What Happens if a Learner Driver is Caught Driving Alone?

The consequences of driving on a provisional licence without a qualified driver supervising you are serious – with costly associated penalties. Often, learners caught driving alone will face an immediate driving disqualification, and the owner of the vehicle they’re using will also face legal repercussions if they knowingly allowed you to drive the vehicle alone with only a provisional licence. We’ve listed the most common results of a learner driving a vehicle alone below. 

1. Your insurance will be invalidated.

Getting caught whilst driving alone on a provisional licence will invalidate your insurance policy instantly – irrespective of whether you’ve previously purchased a learner driver insurance policy. And that in itself is another cause for penalties, as you should never drive without a valid insurance policy. It’s also worth bearing in mind that should you be in an accident whilst driving alone as a learner, you won’t be able to make a claim without valid insurance.

Being caught driving alone as a learner will also make it extremely difficult to get cover in the future, as you’ll be regarded as a risk by insurers. Those willing to deal with you will likely charge an expensive annual premium. From an insurance perspective, being caught driving alone represents a costly mistake that you’ll be living with for years. 

2. You will receive penalty points on your licence.

You can receive up to six points on your provisional licence if you’re caught driving alone as a learner. These points remain on your licence even once you’ve passed your practical test, but in some cases, you can be disqualified from driving entirely.

Penalty points will remain on your licence for four years before being removed by the relevant authorities. More serious offences can result in penalty points or endorsements remaining on your licence for up to eleven years.

3. A substantial fine will be issued.

If you’re caught driving alone as a learner, you’ll be issued a £1,000 fine.

4. You could receive a driving ban.

Once you pass your test, if you have 6 points on your licence from driving alone, they will roll over to your full driving licence. Should you accumulate twelve or more penalty points on your licence, you’ll be taken to court and will likely be disqualified from driving. 

5. There will be a permanent mark on your driving record.

Getting caught driving alone on a provisional licence will result in you receiving a permanent mark on your driving record, which will increase the cost you can expect to pay for insurance. 

The penalties learners face if they’re caught driving alone are significant enough to put the vast majority of prospective drivers off getting behind the wheel unsupervised, but there are a number of other important rules that provisional licence holders should familiarise themselves with too.

What are Other Provisional Licence Rules?

There are a whole host of other concerns for learners undertaking driving practice outside of being properly supervised. We’ve listed some of the most important to know below.

  • Always display your L plates.

Learner drivers in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland must display L plates on any vehicle in which they are learning to drive. In Wales, D plates can also be used. These plates must be the correct size and colour. If they don’t meet the legal specifications, you may be fined and receive penalty points on your licence.

  • Don’t drive on the motorway without an approved driving instructor.

If you’re wondering whether a learner can drive on the motorway, the short answer is no unless you are with an approved driving instructor (ADI) in a dual-controlled car. In Northern Ireland however, learners aren’t allowed on the motorway at all. 

  • Only Drive With the Correct Insurance.

You will always need driving practice insurance when having sessions outside of lessons. If you’re having a lesson with an approved driving instructor then you don’t need to worry about insurance as they are required to have that in place. If you are taking your test in your own car, you will also be required to have driving test insurance in place. 

  • Always Have Your Provisional Licence With You Whilst Driving.

When going for your driving lessons or a practice session, you should always have your provisional licence with you in case you get pulled over. If you don’t have it with you, you and your supervising driver could be fined and receive penalty points on your licence.

Our temporary learner insurance options allow you to easily get covered whenever you’re having a driving practice session. So explore our learner insurance options, follow the rules of the road, and never drive alone and you’ll be on the road with your full licence in no time! 

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