General Driving Requirements

What do I need before I can drive?

You need to have:

  • A driving licence
    • Provisional driving licence. Before you can learn to drive a car, moped or motorcycle you must apply for a provisional driving licence. You have to be in the car with someone who has three or more years’ experience on their licence, and is over 21.
    • Full driving licence. This shows that you can drive that type of vehicle. If you want to drive alternative vehicles (for example motorbikes or lorries) then another driving test would need to be booked. Once this test is passed, these vehicle types will also show up on you licence permitting you to drive them legally.
  • Car insurance - Driving uninsured is a criminal offence which you could be prosecuted for.
  • MOT-The MOT certificate confirms that at the time of the test, without dismantling it, the vehicle met the minimum acceptable environmental and road safety standards required by law. It doesn’t mean that the vehicle is roadworthy for the length of time the certificate is valid.
  • Vehicle registration document-The V5C, commonly known as the ‘logbook’ is a certificate that is issued when a vehicle is registered with the DVLA . The V5C is sent to the registered keeper who is the person responsible for registering and taxing the vehicle. This may not be the owner of the vehicle.
  • Road tax- Driving without tax is a criminal offence. Road tax allows you to use a vehicle on the road.

What documents can the police ask me to produce when they pull me over?

When you are stopped by the police, they can ask you to show your:

  • Driving licence
  • Insurance certificate
  • MOT certificate
  • Registration document.

It's beneficial to carry these documents with you (especially your driver's licence). But don't ever leave them in the car when you're not in it.

What can I do if I'm asked to show my documents and I don't have them with me?

If you don't have your driving licence with you - or it doesn't look genuine - you might be asked to give your name, address and date of birth instead.

Or you might be asked to take your driving licence - or any of your other documents - to a police station within seven days. In this case you will need to be given a piece of paper which tells you exactly which documents you need to take with you.

Speed Limits

What are the speed limits for the UK roads?

Cars

Type of vehicle Built up areas   Single carriageways Dual carriageways Motorways
Cars and motorcycles (including car derived vans up to 2 tonnes maximum laden weight) 30 60 70 70
Cars towing caravans or trailers (including car derived vans and motorcycles) 30 50 60 60
Buses and coaches (not exceeding 12 metres in overall length) 30 50 60 70
Goods vehicles (not exceeding 7.5 tonnes maximum laden weight) 30 50 60 70*
Goods vehicles (exceeding 7.5 tonnes maximum laden weight) 30 40 50 60

*60mph (96km/h) if articulated or towing a trailer

Vans

Type of vehicleBuilt up areasSingle carriagewaysDual carriagewaysMotorways
Transit type van 30 60 60 70*
Luton type van 30 50 60 70*
Astra type van 30 50 70 70*

*60mph (96km/h) if articulated or towing a trailer

How do I know what is a built up area?

A built up area can be described as, a built up area of road (houses) with street lighting. Unless the speed limit is stated otherwise, you should proceed at no more than 30mph.

Average speed limits

In some cases, for example where there are road works on the motorway, or there is a history of bad accidents on a certain road an average speed limit is set. These are measured by cameras between two fixed points, which are designed to calculate whether vehicles are breaking the limit.

Further information on speed limits