Passing your driving test is one of those landmark achievements you never forget. Getting that good news from the examiner doesn’t just mean that you don’t have to go through any more lessons. It also means that you can enjoy a new sense of freedom. Life on the roads can be exhilarating, but going it alone can also be daunting. If you’re a new driver, this guide will hopefully help you to make sure you’re ready for those all-important first few solo voyages.
Image credit https://www.flickr.com/photos/statefarm/7979444605
Taking care of your car
Staying safe on the road isn’t just about being a good driver. You also need to make sure that your car is safe to drive. As a driver, you have a responsibility to ensure that your car is roadworthy and that you undertake the necessary procedures to make sure that you comply with legislation. There are different rules in place in different countries, so make sure you’re aware of what you need to do to avoid legal problems. You may need to arrange annual safety inspections or check your tires on a regular basis, for example. Whether you have an interest in cars or not, it’s important to carry out basic maintenance checks periodically when you own a car. You’ll need to ensure that your car has enough oil and check the tire pressure. If you think there may be something wrong with your car, don’t cross your fingers and hope everything will be ok. It’s best to get issues like strange noises checked out as soon as possible. Minor problems can usually be fixed quickly and easily. If you leave them to escalate, they can become more serious, and you may end up paying a lot of money for repairs.
Gaining valuable experience
When you pass your driving test, you’ll probably find that driving around on your own feels a little strange. Even if you’ve had countless hours of tuition, you’re still likely to be very inexperienced, and those first few trips can be scary. If you don’t feel comfortable going straight from your test into driving independently all the time, ask a relative or friend to accompany you. As you gain experience, you’ll also become more confident. When you’re learning to drive, it’s common to stick to the same routes in a relatively small area. As you travel further afield, you’ll be using roads that aren’t familiar, and you may also encounter major highways. If you haven’t used busy roads with multiple lanes before, and you’re apprehensive, consider taking some extra lessons to familiarize yourself with these routes.
Planning your journey
When you’re a new driver, the last thing you want to worry about is getting lost or trying to work out how to use the sat nav en route to your destination. Before you go anywhere, plan your journey. This will save you time and effort, and it also means that you can focus on the task in hand, rather than getting worked up about going the wrong way or being late.
Image courtesy of https://www.flickr.com/photos/bonitalabanane/2384216990
Responding to unexpected incidents
One of the most terrifying prospects for new drivers is being involved in a car crash. Nobody wants to start their life as a new driver with fears of getting hurt in an accident, but this is a reality that we have to face. Accidents happen, and it’s beneficial to know what to do if you are hit by another car, or you don’t see another vehicle coming. If you are involved in an accident, stay at the scene, seek help from the police and get any injuries assessed as a priority. If you were injured as a result of somebody else’s negligence, legal experts can provide help after an accident. If the car is damaged or you’ve damaged another person’s vehicle, you should be able to claim on your insurance. Try not to panic, stay calm, and ask a close friend or a family member to come and sit with you while you recover and digest what’s happened. Another scenario you should be prepared for is breaking down. Even the most reliable vehicles can run into trouble, especially in adverse weather conditions. It’s incredibly beneficial to have breakdown assistance. If you do have problems, you can make a call, and somebody will come out to you as quickly as possible. It’s also a good idea to have warm clothes, an in-car phone charger, and some snacks with you.
Image sourced from https://pixabay.com/en/photos/car%20repair/
Driving safety tips
When you’ve got an instructor or an examiner watching you, there’s no room for error, and you drive by the book. When you’re free to drive on your own, it’s very easy to take your foot off the proverbial pedal and relax. It’s great to feel calmer and more confident behind the wheel as you gain experience, but try not to pick up bad habits and remember what you learned in your lessons. Pay attention to speed limits, always check your mirrors and your blind spot, and give other vehicles plenty of time and space. Don’t take risks when it comes to changing lane, overtaking or turning into or out of junctions, and take regular breaks if you’re embarking on a long journey.
There are few things that are more liberating in life than getting your driver’s license. When you’re a new driver, it’s very tempting to start planning road trips, get your friends involved, and have a bit more fun behind the wheel than you’ve been allowed in your lessons. It’s great to be a confident driver, but remember that you’re inexperienced. Take good care of your car, make sure you know how to maintain it and how to carry out basic checks before you go on a journey, and ensure that you’ve got breakdown cover. It’s always good to be prepared, so ensure you know what to do if you break down or you’re involved in an accident. Drive safely, remember the rules of the road, and don’t try and show off. Plan ahead, keep your phone with you, and take extra care when you’re covering unfamiliar ground or you’re driving in adverse weather.