Due to youth and inexperience, young drivers have a much higher crash risk that older, more experienced drivers. For many first-time drivers, passing a driving testing is both exciting and daunting.
If you have recently passed your test, you may feel excited at the chance to finally get behind the wheel but you may also feel somewhat stressed about driving alone. That’s why we have put together a list of top tips to keep you safe on the road.
- Never use a mobile phone in your car. Since 2003, using a mobile phone whilst driving has been illegal in the UK, unless it is in a handsfree kit. As well as being extraordinarily dangerous, you could get penalty points, a fine or be banned from driving.
- Always use your seat belt, even if you’re just going for a short drive. As well as being the law (which could result in a fine up to £500), wearing a belt reduces the risks of serious injury and provides safety to you and others on the road.
- Do not drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs (this includes prescription medications). These can have a serious impact on your driving ability, putting you at risk of causing an accident. Safe driving requires the ability to concentrate, make good decisions and react quickly to situations.
- Before you buy the car- think strategically. Think about all of the costs. Consider costs of fuel- choose a car that’s fuel efficient, cheap to run and insure.
- Get to know your car. Ensuring regular maintenance (keeping records of replacing tyres, clutch, cables, batteries or brakes) is essential to safety. Spend time getting to know the basics such as checking wipers, changing tyres, positioning mirrors correctly and reading through the car manual.
- Keep music volume low or turn the radio off so that you can hear other road noise. Concentration is crucial, especially if you are not fully confident on the road.
- • Avoid driving at night if you don’t have much experience behind the wheel. It may be worthwhile practicing in unfamiliar conditions or seek additional lessons to help improve confidence.
- Become fuel efficient. Drive as economically as you can – ditch excessive weight in the boot, avoid racing starts and sharp breaking.
- Keep an eye out for warning signs from your car. Funny noises or warning lights should be checked out if you think something might be wrong. Checking early could not only save money but also ensure accidents or incidents are reduced.
- Don’t offer groups of friends lifts. Essentially, you should drive with no more than one other person in your car until you feel comfortable behind the wheel. Don’t show off, don’t put anyone’s life at risk and resist deliberate bad driving to impress friends. Remember to concentrate on the road as its easy for first-time driver to be distracted.
- Plan for long journeys. It’s always a good idea to plan in advance. Watch the forecast to avoid any hazardous weather, know your route, plan your stops and breaks, even go ‘old school’ and bring a paper map. Pull together an essential car kit, be than an empty fuel can or a supply of food to help your journey run smoothly.
- Observe the two second rule. Always try to leave space to the vehicle in front. This will help you stay safe by allowing a reasonable reaction time in the event of an emergency.
- Hot, summer days may cause your car to overheat, which can be both expensive and dangerous. As such, it’s important to prepare for hot weather. This may be monitoring your car’s fluids, flushing radiators or checking tire pressure. Regular maintenance is less costly than paying for damage caused by a hot-running engine.
- Icy, winter days are just as dangerous– new drivers need to learn to adapt their driving when bad weather strikes. From maintaining traction to coping with reduced visibility, take things slowly and carefully.
- Be self-aware and mindful whilst driving. If you ever feel uncomfortable, unsafe or tired on the road, pull over somewhere safe. Always know when not to drive or if your mind is elsewhere. Don’t give into road rage- don’t try and get even with another driver. Better to stop, calm down and collect your thoughts. Don’t tailgate or allow others to tailgate you. Keep your distance and keep safe.
By following the driving rules and not behaving in a dangerous or unexpected way on the road, we can all stay safe on the roads.
Getting car insurance for young / experienced drivers can be expensive and sometimes difficult to obtain. ABL Group have a great facility for young drivers, which uses technology to monitor driving style, including speed, braking and acceleration. As well as encouraging young drivers to drive safely and keep to speed limits, they can also avail of lower premiums. Contact ABL Group today for a quote.