Driving after passing test

You’ve done it, you’ve passed your driving test – Congratulations. Now that the difficult part is over, it’s time to enjoy your hard work, get your foot down on the pedal and let your skills take you to where you want. 

Whilst you should be enjoying your milestone, there are still plenty of things to think about post-test. 

Here we guide you through the considerations you need to make after you’ve passed your driving test to ensure that you’re a proficient driver and you can enjoy being behind the wheel moving forward. 

Getting your full licence 

Once you’ve passed your practical driving test, the question is can you drive away on your own? Well, yes. You just need to have a car that is taxed and insured to make it legal. 

Once the test is over, the examiner will typically have your provisional licence sent off. Within three weeks your full pink driving licence will arrive. If it takes longer than three weeks, then you’ll need to get in touch with the DVLA. 

You don’t have to wait for the pink licence to arrive before you can drive legally on the road, however. So long as you have a vehicle that’s taxed and insured, you can get behind the wheel. 

The only time you’d need to apply for your full licence yourself is if you want to make changes to the picture, or need to change your address. This needs to be done within two years of passing your test, otherwise you’d have to retake the test. 

Insurance adjustments 

If you were previously insured on a car as a learner driver, unfortunately, the policy won’t automatically shift to full-licence insurance, you’ll have to contact the current insurer or take up a new policy. 

As easy as it might be to just phone your current insurer for a new policy, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get the best price for your insurance. Instead, you’ll need to carry out a little bit of research to find the best price. 

Understanding car financing and ownership

If you’re lucky enough to have your first car already lined up, then you can skip this part of what to do after you pass your practical driving test. But if you’re yet to think about the four wheels you’re going to be using your new skills on then please read on. 

If taking your driving test has eaten up all of your savings, there are multiple ways to finance your own car, such as unsecured personal loans, PCP deals and hire purchase plans. 

You must research these well to ensure that you know everything that you’ll be expected to pay and when you’ll need to pay it. 

Unsecured personal loan – you borrow what is needed to buy a car outright. Then each month you’ll pay a sum to pay back the loan. 

Personal Contract Plan (PCP) – The repayment plan here gives you a set amount each month, but it doesn’t amount to the full value of the car. At the end of the payment period, you can choose to pay a lump sum to keep the car, if you wish to. 

Hire purchase plan – The company that gives the finance will own the car whilst you pay it off, once you’ve repaid the loan, ownership will then pass to you. 

Car selection and insurance costs 

Choosing the right car to drive after you’ve passed your driving test is important to help keep the costs of insurance down. Unfortunately, if you’re a new driver under the age of 25, your insurance policy is going to be steep, but by choosing the right car you can impact the price you pay for insurance the right way. 

There are also some ways to help keep your insurance costs down as a new driver. Things like: 

  • Pay a higher voluntary excess to lower the cost of your premium. Remember though, if you do have an accident or need to make a claim, you will have to pay this sum, so don’t make it out of your budget. 
  • Add a second, low-risk driver to your policy. 
  • Ensure that the insurer you choose doesn’t charge interest on monthly instalments if you’re doing it this way. 
  • Consider black box insurance. 

Black box insurance 

Black box, or telematics, insurance, is a popular choice for new drivers as it can greatly help to reduce the cost of your insurance, provided you’re a safe driver. 

A small device is fitted to your vehicle to track your driving habits, the roads you use and the times of day you drive. This data is collated and sent to your insurance provider. From this they determine how safe you drive and whether or not your insurance premium can be altered as a result. 

Displaying P Plates 

Newly qualified drivers can use P plates on their car after they’ve passed their driving test. There is no set time limit to using these green plates, and they’re not compulsory either. 

Using them helps to indicate to other drivers that you’re new to driving and can offer reassurance whilst you’re gaining confidence on the road. 

Continuous learning even after passing

It’s important that as a driver on the road, we continue to improve our driving skills, as well as stay up to date with any road rules and regulations that are updated. 

Like any skill, the more you do it, the more confident you become. 

Additional learning like the Pass Plus scheme could help in areas like night and motorway driving that you may not be familiar with. 

Choosing the right driving instructor 

Having a driving instructor that you can use even after you’ve passed the test can make a big impact on your road skills. Whether you need some post-test confidence building at a later date or would like to refine your skills, ensure that your driving instructor is willing to help. 

Legal obligations and documentation 

Your driving licence will need to be updated after passing your driving test as we mentioned above. But there are also further legal requirements that you’ll need to carry out before you can legally drive on the UK roads. 

Road tax is another necessity, you can tax your car online on the DVLA website, and pay for this monthly or annually. Paper tax discs are no longer required. 

Your car tax is dependent on the type of car you drive and some cars don’t require tax. 

If your car is more than three years old, you’ll also be required to hold a valid MOT certificate. 

After you’ve passed your driving test 

Passing your driving test is a huge sigh of relief, but by no means is the hard work complete. There are legal requirements, research, continuous learning and responsible driving that you need to commit to but in doing so you can ensure safety and enjoyment on the roads.