Au pairs & driving in the UK
All the references and checks have been carried out and both the au pair and host family are looking forward to developing a great working relationship. Then you remember that there is some driving required within the role. What are the three main things to think about before you get behind the wheel?
Do I need a driving licence?
You do need a driving licence to drive in the UK, but it is almost always OK to use your existing licence if you are an EU national or come from an EEA country. Nationals from elsewhere can usually use their current licence for the first 12 months but after that will need to apply for a British provisional licence and pass the UK driving test. Responsible agencies such as Oaktree Au Pair Agency Ltd are always happy to chat through your options and signpost you to reliable information provided by the British Au Pair Agencies Association.
For further information about holding a non-GB driving licence, check out the UK government website.
Do I need motor insurance?
Every individual who drives a motor vehicle in the UK is required to have adequate motor insurance in place. The easiest way to sort this out is to have a friendly chat with your host family and ask them to include your name and details on their family motor insurance policy. The responsibility to be insured rests with you, not them, so always ask for a copy of the insurance document so that you can reassure yourself you are legally covered to drive their vehicle.
Do I need additional driving lessons?
Even experienced drivers can benefit from a few refresher driving lessons from a qualified instructor if they are taking to the roads in an unfamiliar country. British citizens are in the minority – they drive on the left side of the road. This means the controls in the car are on the opposite side, you drive clockwise on roundabouts, and traffic has priority from the right. If driving on the left is new to you then you should definitely consider some further instruction on how to safely handle driving in the UK. If you believe you already have the confidence to drive without additional lessons, make sure you familiarise yourself with UK speed limits, road signage and parking rules before you get behind the wheel. You can do that by taking the time to read the UK’s Highway Code.
You don’t need to be a driver to be placed as an au pair in the UK, but it is often a real advantage if you are. It is ultimately your responsibility to be honest about your level of driving experience and to ensure you have a valid driving licence and insurance in place. If you are still unsure, contact us to find out more.