words Al Woods
If you’ve just passed your driving test, congratulations! Having put so much energy and effort into learning to drive, it feels amazing to finally have the freedom to get behind the wheel of your new car.
But for many newly qualified drivers, it can also feel a little scary at the same time. Here, we have put together some tips for young drivers starting out.
Get to know your car
Familiarise yourself with your car and its controls before getting out on the open road. You will more than likely already be comfortable with the main controls but don’t forget things such as fog lights, hazard warning lights, demister controls and windscreen wiper and washer controls. Learn how to check your tyre pressure, refill your washer fluid and where the dipstick is. A lot can happen while out on the roads, so you need to know how everything works in order to keep yourself and everyone around you safe.
It’s understandable that you’ll want to take your mates out for a celebratory drive. However, not having your instructor by your side can be daunting and lead to a lack of concentration. It is a good idea to drive on your own at first, until you are comfortable being on the road without supervision.
If a friend or family member who lives miles away has suggested you pay them an overdue visit, try not to give in to pressure. You should start slowly, sticking to shorter drives and smaller routes for the first few weeks of passing your test, this way you will feel less overwhelmed.
You need to be in tune with how your car’s engine sounds and the way it handles over different road surfaces, as well as being able to hear for emergency vehicles, sirens and other things going on around you. To do so, you need to make sure your music isn’t too loud.
It’s also important you don’t use your mobile phone when driving, as this is illegal. Put it on silent and in a bag out of the way because hearing it ringing and vibrating is also a distraction. It’s also a good idea to avoid smoking, eating and drinking while driving – while it’s not illegal, it can distract you and could lead to careless driving.
Consider a black box
As a newly qualified driver, you have limited experience on the roads and will be considered a risk to insurers, regardless of your age. A black box could help you pay cheaper premiums and because these will be based on how you drive – the safer you are, the lower they will be. For more information about black boxes click here.
Try not to drive during rush hour soon after getting your driving license. Roads are busy and heavily congested during these times which can leave anyone flustered – even the most experienced. It is best to make your first solo car journey in the daylight too, as night time driving can be a lot more dangerous.
Treat your newfound freedom on the roads with care and continue to learn whilst out on the road armed with your new driving license. Remember, practice makes perfect.