RAC Cars News


What Can You Drive On UK Public Roads Before You Have A Driving Licence?

By raccars Published

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You have to be 17 to drive a car on public roads in the UK, right? Well, not necessarily...

There is a class of car available to drive for 16 year olds in the UK. They are actually part of a class of vehicle called light quadricycles but, with four wheels and an enclosed cabin, to all intents and purposes they are cars - and 16 year olds can drive them on the road.

Light quadricycles come with the same licence requirements as mopeds, meaning you will need a CBT certificate from an accredited training facility. The tests are carried out on mopeds but allow you to drive a light quadricycle.

The light quadricycle class is for four wheeled vehicles weighing no more than 350kg - although batteries for electric versions can be extra. With a top speed of 28mph and a price of around £10,000, they are not many teenagers' dream cars, but they can get you on the road a year before your friends. Added to those points, a distinct lack of cool designs means most 16 year olds prefer to opt for a moped until they can get into a proper set of wheels at 17, but quadricycles do have some points in their favour.

An enclosed cabin is probably the quadricycle's main advantage in wet and windy Britain. Teenagers who face a long daily commute through the winter could well be tempted by the relative comfort of a light quadricycle, as opposed to the risk of frostbite and exposure on a moped.

Even if you have the requisite funds and have acquired your CBT certificate, you will face a limited choice of models.

The main and probably best option is an Aixam. These tiny coupe/crossovers are particularly popular with a certain demographic on the continent - namely those who have had their driving licence revoked, as they can help drivers to maintain mobility and freedom, while a car is out of bounds.

The two seater comes as a Crossover or Coupe, available in a choice of colours, with the Coupe comically featuring a deceptively racy rear spoiler. Both are powered by the same 400cc diesel engine, which drives a single forward gear.

There are alternative options, mainly a junior version of Renault's Twizy electric car and some others made by the likes of Ligier. However, these were never officially made available in the UK, so keen 16 year old drivers would have to look at importing one from Europe. Beware also that these models can be difficult to insure.

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