While it’s an exciting prospect to finally get out on the road by yourself for the first time, it can be a daunting prospect. You’ve demonstrated you’re safe to drive by passing the driving test, but there are always going to be things you’ve never experienced before, whether it’s certain types of roads, or problems with your car.
Here are our top ten tips for new drivers:
- Get to know your car
Make sure you know where your light switches and windscreen wipers are, as well as how to work the ventilation system in case your windscreen fogs up. You should know how to use these without having to search around your car, so that you can activate them while driving without putting yourself in danger.
- Be prepared for any situation
You might want to keep a torch, map, blanket and first aid kit in your car at all times in case of emergency.
- Consider extra driving lessons
Consider Pass Plus training to help you learn how to drive on the motorway, at night and in a range of weather conditions.
- Use P platesYou may choose to display P plates on your car to make the transition of going from a learner to a fully qualified driver a bit easier. They also alert other road users that you are unlikely to have had much driving experience and should make them behave more leniently towards you.
- Practice familiar routes
Practicing driving alone on quiet roads and routes that you are already familiar with as this will help you build up your confidence. Once you’ve done this you can gradually attempt more challenging roads.
- Plan ahead
Always plan ahead if you’re going somewhere unfamiliar. Consider doing a test run with a more experienced driver (such as a parent) so that you can practice on the roads you will encounter. Before your journey let others know where you will be driving, when you leave, and when you arrive.
- Avoid long trips
A lack of experience driving long distances will make you more likely to feel tired. But if it’s essential, don’t drive for longer than 2.5 hours at a time and take a break for at least 20 minutes. If you’re insured with drive like a girl, taking breaks on long journeys may also help prove you ‘drive like a girl’.
- Watch out for distractions
Taking friends out to drive can be exciting but if you feel they’re disrupting your concentration, don’t be afraid to tell them to quieten down when you approach busy or complicated junctions and roundabouts. Remember to keep phones, food, and drink out of sight, and keep music volume levels down so that you can hear other vehicles. You might also want to avoid using a sat nav until you’re confident it won’t be detrimental to your driving.
- Be careful at junctions
It may sound easy but new drivers tend to incorrectly judge the speed of oncoming vehicles when making a left turn at a junction. This will come with more practice but in the meantime, when you approach a junction make sure you check both ways several times. If you’re still unsure about whether or not it is safe to pull out, it is usually best to wait.
- Stay calm
If you find yourself in a tricky situation, it is important that you don’t panic. Take a deep breath and think carefully before carrying out any manoeuvres. Don’t let other drivers put you under pressure to drive unsafely. You might make mistakes but always put your safety first.