When you pass your test the examiner will take your provisional licence and send off for a full one so long as the details on your provisional licence are still applicable. You are allowed to drive with the blue certificate awarded on passing the test while waiting for your full licence to arrive. If you prefer to apply for your license yourself you must do so within two years of your test pass, after which it becomes invalid.
Yes, you’ve passed the test, but does that mean you can relax your focus on driving safely? Not if you plan on a driving career free from major accidents… not if you have been taught to own your standards of safety… not if you’re intent on being at the right end of the statistics:
- 20% of drivers are involved in a crash in their first six months on the road
- an 18-year-old driver is more than three times as likely to be involved in a crash as a 48 year-old
- two young people under 25 die every day in crashes in Great Britain
- male drivers between 17 and 21 are seven times as likely to be involved in an accident than the average male driver
Sources: DSA; DSA, The Schools Programme, (Driving Standards Agency, 2000); DSA, Learning to Drive: a consultation paper (2008); Night-time Accidents, (Centre for Transport Studies, University College London, 2005)
Rebecca passed her test ten months ago. She didn’t do Pass Plus or a motorway lesson but she has been driving consistently since she passed. She is confident in and around town and has had no need to drive on the motorway, so she barely has. A friend invites her to a weekend event 80 miles away. If she takes the train the whole journey will take three times as long and will cost three-and-a-half times as much as it would if she drove. She knows she’ll be able to handle herself when she gets in to the town where her friend lives, and the overall journey isn’t that long… but it involves using two motorways; and she has next to no motorway experience. What should she do?
Should she pay the extra, take the train and spend the whole journey wondering what the point of working so hard to get the license in the first place was?… Or should she take the risk?
It would be difficult to advise her to drive.
It makes all the sense in the world to do either the Pass Plus course or just a motorway lesson with your instructor just after you pass your test. Once done you can take it forward, keeping your motorway practise up with lots of small journeys, ready for the day you really need to use the motorway.
The P stands for “probationary”. Use P-plates if you think you will feel more comfortable driving with them. As soon as you are confident enough to drive without them, go-ahead – they have served their purpose.
Do your research, consider the options and get a good deal. If your car has value fully comprehensive insurance (damage to your car through your fault is covered) is generally better than third party fire and theft (minimal legal insurance that does not cover your car for damage that is your fault). Ask any prospective insurer if Pass Plus certification will reduce the cost. There may be a direct financial benefit in taking the course as well as those inherent to the training.
Keep your lesson notes safe, not least because they will contain “show me, tell me” notes. which should enable you to keep your car and therefore your driving healthy.
When you have passed, and your driving down the street, and all is well with the world, if you listen carefully you should still be able to hear your erstwhile instructor’s voice – nagging you, still:
Mirrors!…Main and left!…Main and right!…The traffic lights ahead are red; what is the first thing you should do?…
If there is a single habit whose loss most accounts for accidents, it is mirror checking. Keep up your mirror checking, drive with maturity and make driving work for you.