Hurray! After months of study, accidentally stalling and trying to learn parallel parking you have finally passed your test and can drive to your heart’s content. Driving is a big part of life and it can give you a lot of independence. But of course there are some things you still need to learn in your first few months of driving and we are here to help.
It is unlikely you will know everything about the inner workings of an engine, MSRP and the difference between diesel and petrol. And you can learn with speaking to the car enthusiast in your family, reading a AutoGravity’s MSRP Guide online or simply remembering chemistry from school. But these aren’t the things we are going to chat about today, we want to talk about making your first few months of driving the easier we can with some simple tips and tricks.
Although legally you can, of course, hit the road as soon as you have passed your standard test, it can actually be more advisable for you to take on extra training known as Pass Plus. This is a short course which delves deeper into the motorway side of driving and it will allow you to learn how to drive on the motorway and gain some more confidence on faster roadways. You can really benefit from this and it will mean that the day you finally hit the motorway won’t scare the living lights out of you!
Get to know your car
Honestly, something which is obvious but not something we would even consider normally is the idea of simply sitting in the car and looking at all of the buttons. When you drive in lessons you never stop for long enough to appreciate the car you drive and this can be something which can have an effect on your confidence on the road. To make sure you feel confident in your own car you need to get to know it. Take the time to feel the car. Know what the buttons do and understand the noises it makes.
One shoe on the other foot
If you will be driving everywhere from now on in your life and you are no longer relying on public transport it can feel amazing, but you should also take the time to occasionally step onto a bicycle and ride to where you have to go. The simple reason for this is to make sure you know what it feels like to be a cyclist on the road and you will understand how some drivers can behave towards cyclists. It means that the next time you get behind the wheel you will be more considerate.
Have a driving experience
When you first start driving you will likely feel very stiff and solid behind the wheel because you simply haven’t had the time to get to know the roads and find your flow behind the wheel. This is why having a day on a track with a fast car can be just what you need to loosen you up and help you feel more at ease on the road. Track days allow you to rest your limits on the road and try new things which can be great for you.
Check your blind spot
This is something which will get hammered into your again and again during your lessons, but we are going to go ahead and put it here too. It is SO crucial that you always check your blind spot for cyclists and pedestrians because you never know what is there otherwise. You don’t want to be responsible for an accident and it can be a horrible experience if you are. So ignore the people sitting behind you and be safe and check that blind spot!
Avoid other people’s blindspot
It can be just as risky being on the other side of the blind spot than it is when you are the one looking. Make sure you try and avoid driving to someone’s blind spot because even though you know to check for yours, they might not do the same themselves. When you drive behind larger vehicles especially make sure you are a decent distance away and that you are able to see their mirrors. If you can’t see the mirrors then they won’t be able to see you and this can be incredibly dangerous.
The amount of times you will have argued about the motorway lanes is likely too high to count, but it is important to know to stay in the slow lane at all times unless you are overtaking people. The people who sit in the middle or fast lane without overtaking aren’t following the Highway Code so don’t pay attention to them!
Drive in bad weather
Every advice article online will always tell you to avoid driving in the snow or the rain, and this is good advice in an ideal world but sometimes we can’t avoid it. Next time it is stormy out, take the opportunity to drive in the rain to practice how to stay safe on the road. Being someone you trust with you and let them give you advice on how to handle it. It will save you ever having to worry about the weather again because you will know what to do.
No calls, ever
We all know that driving while our hand is on our phone is dangerous and we also know that texting is out of the question, but what about the cars’ built-in phone? It is never a good idea to be on the phone when you are driving and in the first few months especially you need to avoid distractions. Make sure that you always stay focused on the road no matter what for your safety and the safety of everyone around you.
Don’t drive with kids
When you first start driving after passing your test you will need some time to get used to driving and get more confident on the road. Kids can be a massive distraction for new drivers because they laugh, play and scream in the backseat while you try to concentrate on the road. It is best to try and avoid having children, pets and loud friends in the car during your first few months for safety.
Ask for help
Just because you have passed your test doesn’t mean you know everything about the road and it doesn’t mean you have to. If you don’t know what something is or your brain freezes and you forget what to do, just ask. Family and friends will always be willing to help you out and there is nothing to feel embarrassed about. Hell, you might even stall a couple of times but that’s ok! With more time on the road, you will get used to it and you’ll get there.
Drive at night
If you want to challenge yourself with your driving skills one thing you can do is try driving at night time. Bring your partner or a family member and drive around for a while at night. Low light is much harder to drive in and it can make it a much bigger challenge, meaning that if you take time today to drive in low light with someone there, it won’t feel so difficult and scary when you are doing it alone. It’s always better to try and practice early to help you feel safer on the road.