What Vehicles Can You Drive With Your Licence?

If you've finally gotten your hands on your driving licence, you might be wondering if there are other vehicles that you can drive beyond the standard car. It's not as simple as jumping into whatever vehicle you want and driving off—some vehicles will require you to take additional tests. If you want to find out if you can drive a particular type of vehicle, the answer can be found by looking at your driving licence categories.

We're going to walk you through driving licence categories and show you how you can find out which vehicles you can drive. Plus, we'll also show you what you need to do to earn a category on your licence!

image-of-a-yellow-car-and-magnifying-glass

What are driving licence categories?

Whether you've recently passed your driving test or you're a qualified driver with several years of experience under your belt, you might have wondered whether you're legally allowed to drive other types of vehicles. Well, it all depends on whether you have the right entitlement for the vehicle category type on your driving licence. Fortunately, you can find out which vehicle types you can drive by simply turning your driving licence over.

Look at the back of your driving licence and you'll see a table that contains four numbered columns. Column 9 is where you'll find a list of the types of vehicles you might be entitled to drive. The next two columns include the earliest date your entitlement is valid from and the date at which your licence is no longer valid—if these columns don't contain any dates, then you're not entitled to drive this vehicle type.

Column 12 is where you'll find out which rules and conditions are in place for you as a driver. To get more information on this, head on over to our guide to driving licence codes.

Now, let's take a look at the driving licence categories that you'll find on the back of your driving licence to see what vehicles you can drive...

What can I drive with a standard UK licence?

If you've got a standard UK driving licence, you'll find that you're automatically entitled to drive the following vehicle category types (though you might have to take additional tests in order to qualify):

Category AM

Minimum age: 16

This category means that you're entitled to drive two- or three-wheeled motors. There are stipulations, however. The motor must have a maximum speed between 15.5mph and 28mph. This also includes light quad bikes, with the same designated maximum speed, of a weight of no more than 350kg (if it's an electric vehicle, this weight does not include the batteries).

In order to drive a Category AM vehicle, however, you will need to first pass a Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) test.

Category B

Minimum age: 17


This is the classification for driving a car—something you should have if you've got a driving licence. The date at which you passed your driving test will impact your additional entitlements:


If you passed your test before 1 January 1997:

  • You're allowed to drive a vehicle and trailer combination of up to 8,250kg maximum authorised mass (MAM).
  • You can also drive a minibus with a trailer over 750kg

If you passed your test on or after 1 January 1997:

  • You can drive vehicles with up to 3,500kg MAM and up to 8 passenger seats - with a trailer that weighs up to 750kg.
  • You're allowed to tow heavier trailers, as long as the total MAM of the vehicle and trailer isn't more than 3,500kg.
  • You're also entitled to drive motor tricycles with a power output higher than 15kW if you're over 21 years old.

If you're physically disabled and have a provisional category B entitlement, you'll have to have provisional entitlement to ride category A1 or A motor tricycles.

Category F

Minimum age: 17

This category refers to agricultural tractors. Whilst this might come as a bit of a shock to you, as long as you've passed your driving test, you're entitled to control an agricultural tractor. Yep, that's right—you don't even need to pass any additional tests!

Category K

Minimum age: 16

This classification is for mowing machines or pedestrian-controlled vehicles. With most people using these types of machines without even thinking about needing a licence, it's not exactly something you need to worry about.

Category Q

Minimum age: 16

With this category type, you're entitled to drive 2 and 3-wheeled vehicles without pedals—as long as the engine size isn't more than 50cc (if it's powered by an internal combustion engine). You're limited to vehicles that reach a maximum speed of 15.5mph.

If you're already allowed to drive Category AM vehicles (meaning you've passed the CBT test), then you can drive Category Q vehicles without any additional requirements.

Other vehicles you might be entitled to drive with your licence

Now, if you've got another type of driving licence, or it's from a certain date, you might also find that you're entitled to drive the following vehicle category types:

Category B1

Minimum age: 17

If you have this classification, you're entitled to drive light motor vehicles and quad bikes with wheels that weigh up to 400kg unladen—or, up to 550kg if you're carrying goods.

Category BE

Minimum age: 17

Drivers with this category type are allowed to drive vehicles with a trailer, the weight of which depends on what your 'valid from' date is.

If your 'valid from' date is before 19 January 2013, then you're allowed to tow a trailer of any size. If it's on or after this date, however, you're limited to a MAM of up to 3,500kg.

Category B Auto

Minimum age: 17

As the name suggests, this particular category means that you're only allowed to drive an automatic car. You'll have this classification if you passed your driving test in an automatic vehicle. Looking to drive a manual vehicle instead? You'll have to take a manual driving test.

Category P

Minimum age: 16

With this category type, you're entitled to drive 2-wheeled vehicles that have a maximum speed of over 28mph, but not over 31mph. An additional stipulation is that the engine size cannot be more than 50cc if the vehicle is powered by an internal combustion engine.

Vehicles requiring additional tests

And finally, we'll now move onto the other vehicle category types that you won't automatically be allowed to drive with a standard UK driving licence. To gain entitlement to drive these types of vehicles, you will need to take additional tests.

Motorcycles
Category A1

Minimum age: 17

With this classification, you're allowed to drive light motorbikes that have an engine size of up to 125cc, a power output of up to 11kW and a power-to-weight ratio of no more than 0.1kW/kg. This particular classification also includes motor tricycles with a power output of up to 15kW.

If you're looking to drive a Category A1 vehicle, you'll need to first pass a CBT test.

Category A2

Minimum age: 19

If you're looking to drive motorbikes with more power than those in Category A1, this is the classification you're looking for. This vehicle category type enables you to drive motorbikes that have a power output of up to 35kW and a power-to-weight ratio no higher than 0.2kW/kg. The DVSA stipulates that it cannot be derived from a vehicle of more than double its power.

There are two ways to gain entitlement:

  • Direct access route: a theory and practical test.
  • Progressive access route: 2 years of experience on an A1 motorbike and an additional practical test.

Drivers with a Category A2 entitlement are also allowed to drive motorbikes in Category A1.

Category A

Minimum age: 24

As you'd imagine with the minimum age being so high, this classification is essentially for motorcycles on the high end of power and engine size. With this, you're entitled to drive motorbikes that are over 35kW and have a power-to-weight ratio that's higher than 0.2kW/kg. The classification also entitles you to drive motor tricycles with a power output of more than 15kW.

There are two ways to gain this entitlement:

  • Direct access route: CBT test, a theory and practical test.
  • Progressive access route: you must have held an A2 licence for a minimum of years, and a practical test.

Drivers with a Category A2 entitlement are allowed to drive motorbikes in Categories A1 and A2.

Medium-sized vehicles

Category C1

Minimum age: 18

If you have a Category C1 licence, you're entitled to drive vehicles that are between 3,500 and 7,500kg MAM. You're also allowed to drive with a trailer that's up to 750kg.

If you passed your driving test (Category B) before 1 January 1997, you'll automatically be entitled drive C1 vehicles. If you passed your test after this date, however, you will typically have to take 4 Drive Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) tests—though it may vary in some cases.

Category C1E

Minimum age: 18

With this classification, you're entitled to drive Category C1 vehicles with a trailer that's over 750kg—you are limited with this, however. The combined MAM of both the vehicle and trailer cannot exceed 12,000kg.

In order to gain this classification, you will need to take a C1E course and test.

Large vehicles

Category C

Minimum age: 21

If you have a Category C on your driving licence, you're entitled to drive vehicles over 3,500kg, along with a trailer of up to 750kg MAM.

In order to gain this entitlement on your driving licence, you'll need to pass the Category C test.

Category CE

Minimum age: 21

With this classification, you can drive Category C vehicles, with the addition of being able to tow a trailer that weighs over 750kg MAM.

Once you've passed the Category C test, you will need to pass the additional CE test.

Minibuses

Category D1

Minimum age: 21

If you have a Category D1 entitlement on your driving licence, you're allowed to drive vehicles that have no more than 16 passenger seats. You can tow a trailer of up to 750kg, however, the minibus must not surpass 8 metres in length.

If you passed your car driving test before 1 January 1997, you might already have entitlement to drive D1 vehicles. If you passed after this date, however, you will have to pass a Category D1 test.

Category D1E

Minimum age: 21

With this entitlement, you're allowed to drive a Category D1 vehicle with a trailer that's over 750kg MAM. Please note, however, that the combined MAM of the vehicle and trailer cannot exceed 12,000kg.

Once you've passed the Category D test, you will have to pass the additional D1E test.

Buses

Category D

Minimum age: 24

If you have a Category D classification on your driving licence, you're entitled to drive any bus with more than 8 passenger seats. You are also allowed to do so with a trailer of up to 750kg MAM.

You will have to pass a Category D test in order to gain this entitlement.

Category DE

Minimum age: 24

This additional classification entitles you to drive a Category D vehicle, but with a trailer that's over 750kg.

In order to gain this entitlement, you will need to pass an additional Category DE test.

Other categories
  • G: a road roller (whether steam or diesel)
  • H: tracked vehicle (this includes civilian tracked vehicles which includes former military vehicles).
  • K: mowing machines or vehicles controlled by someone on foot.
  • L: electrically-propelled vehicle
  • M: trolley vehicles
  • N: exempt from duty

You do not need a driving licence for electric bikes, mobility scooters or powered wheelchairs.

What happens if I drive a vehicle that I'm not entitled to drive on my licence?

Though it might be easy enough to think that you'll never get caught driving a vehicle that you're not actually entitled to drive, it really isn't that simple. Those driving licence categories aren't there just for your benefit—they're there to also inform authorities of what you are and aren't legally allowed to drive. If you were pulled over by the police and asked to hand over your driving licence, all they'd have to do is turn it over to see that you're in a vehicle that you're not entitled to drive.

If you're caught driving otherwise than in accordance with you driving licence, you could end up with a fine of up to £1,000, up to 6 penalty points and even a possible disqualification! Is it really worth risking? The answer is a solid no. If you're looking to drive something beyond the standard car, check if you're entitled to by looking at your driving licence categories. If you're not, then start looking at what additional tests you might need to pass in order to qualify.