Congratulations, you’ve passed your driving test, now you want to get out on the roads, building up your driving experience. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
First of all, now you’ve qualified, you’ll need to ensure you have appropriate car insurance in place. Remember, you can’t drive without it, so take it out today. The law prohibits driving without suitable insurance, if you do, you run the risk of being fined, having six penalty points put on your licence and even a driving ban.
So, if you’ve just passed your driving test and you are going to borrow a car in the short term, then take out temp car insurance for up to twenty-eight days so that you can get out and about on the roads.
It might be you used your instructor’s car to learn in, and now you’ll be driving a different make and model of car. If that’s the case, then take the time to get to know the car you’ll be driving in henceforth. Familiarise yourself with the controls, especially those you don’t use daily and as a matter of course, so you know where they are should you ever need them.
Don’t rush in
After the driving test, take time to drive around on your own, so you feel comfortable behind the wheel. Don’t leap into offering lifts to your friends; build up your confidence by driving around on your own. Don’t give into pressure to ferry your friends around. Statistics suggest that as an inexperienced driver you are more likely to have an accident if you have friends in the car, so be mindful of this and don’t give in to peer pressure.
Build up gradually
Also, don’t rush into undertaking a lengthy journey. Build up your experience gradually by completing short, local journeys on familiar routes. Don’t feel pressured to undertake a long journey for which you don’t feel ready so soon after the driving test. Develop your confidence and driving skills in an area that is familiar to you and not too far from home.
Drive when it’s quiet
Don’t rush into driving in the rush hour; it can be a stressful experience. Drive during off peak hours while you are building up your experience. Wait until you have more substantial experience under your belt before tackling rush hour traffic. Even experienced drivers find driving at peak travel times stressful.
Drive in daylight
However, when driving during off peak hours, do drive in day light hours while you are building up your confidence behind the wheel.
Leave a safe distance
Also, be sure to leave a safe distance between you and the car in front, as you never know when they may have cause to stop suddenly. So ensure you can see the wheels of the vehicle in front in their entirety, if you can’t, you’re driving too close.
Take a measured approach
When it comes to parking, take a measured approach and don’t give yourself too great a challenge, too soon. It’s important to practice your parking, but don’t make things too difficult for yourself, look out for easier parking spaces, to begin with, and build up your parking skills gradually.
Consider extra lessons
Even though you’ve passed your test, do consider having a few additional lessons to build your confidence. It might be driving at night or on the motorway that makes you feel nervous. So, don’t shy away from booking a few extra lessons with your instructor to develop your confidence in those aspects of driving with which you feel less comfortable. Consider undertaking the Pass Plus course, which will develop your skills in keys areas. Representing an additional six hours or so of driving tuition, the Pass Plus course will increase your competency as a driver and may help lower your insurance premiums too.
Engage with telematics
If you have a telematics system installed in your car, then do look at the data that’s been collected and see what you have to learn from it. You may well be provided with useful insights into your driving habits which will help you to enhance your skills.
In getting to know your car and building your skill as a driver, you need to be able to hear and feel the nuances of the car as you drive. So, keep the environment inside your car free from distractions, turn your phone off and put it away as you drive; and don’t turn on the radio or listen to music. It’s important that you focus on the job in hand and don’t get distracted while you’re driving.
Don’t use your phone
Remember, you must stay in control of your vehicle at all times, and you mustn’t become distracted whether by using your mobile or by anything else. Even if you are stationary at traffic lights or queuing in traffic, it’s not lawful for you to use your phone. It’s been illegal to use your mobile phone while driving since 2003, but from March this year, the penalties were increased. So, if you do become distracted while driving you could get 6 penalty points and a £200 fine, you could even end up in court, be banned from driving and get a maximum fine of £1,000.
It’s easy to feel pressured and flustered by the actions of other drivers, especially if they are driving too close behind you, but don’t let them get to you. Simply pull over when it is safe to do so and let them pass.
So there you have a few hints to help you while you are building up your experience behind the wheel. We hope you’ll soon be out and about in your car.