Having the freedom to drive without the supervision of an instructor, parent or examiner is exciting but not an opportunity to disregard the critical driving skills you have learnt in your lessons. As a new driver, it is important not to make simple mistakes that could get you in trouble or put yourself and other motorists in danger.
Tips for a new driver
It may seem like a long time ago that you sat your theory test but now is the most crucial time to put that knowledge to use. Do you remember the hazard perception clips? Well, now you really are in the driver’s seat, and you need to be just as attentive now as you were then. Spotting potential hazards before they develop is essential to be a good, safe driver and can prevent a serious incident. Of course, using your knowledge of road traffic signs, the highway code and all other aspects which you were tested on for your theory test are just as vital.
It is likely that the car in which you learned and passed in is different to your own vehicle. This means you will need to educate yourself on how your car works to feel confident on the road. When using your car for the first time, there are a few things you must do before you set off on your journey:
- Adjust your mirrors correctly to suit your line of vision
- Adjust your seat so you are comfortable but can easily reach the pedals and steering wheel
- Check you know how to turn your lights on and off
- Know how to operate your windscreen wipers
Being able to drive entirely on your own for the first time is completely different to what you have experienced in your lessons and driving test. It is important to take things slow and adjust to your new-found freedom. You will find you still have a lot to learn and you will become more skilled and confident with time.
Speeding not only jeopardises your safety but the safety of other motorists and pedestrians. As a new driver, your ability to judge speed might not be fully developed so you may not even be aware of when you are speeding. However, if caught speeding, the minimum penalty is a £100 fine and three penalty points added to your licence.
To avoid this, you should make a habit of briefly glancing at your speedometer regularly while you drive and always looking at road signs when entering new roads. Of course, the more you drive and familiarise yourself with the roads, you will be more educated regarding the varying speed limits.
Stay off your phone
We are all prone to spending a little too much time on our phones but using your phone while driving can have serious consequences. The penalties for using your phone while driving are stricter for new drivers, and you can easily have your license revoked.
If you use your phone as a satnav, you should buy a car phone holder and always make sure your route is planned and ready before you set off on your journey.
Unless you need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency and it is unsafe or impractical to stop, you must remember you can only use your phone when you are safely parked.
As a new driver, your experience with car maintenance may be limited. Failure to keep your tyres in good condition can be hazardous, so you should regularly check two factors:
Tyre tread depth
In the UK and Europe, the legal tyre tread depth for cars is 1.6mm across the central three-quarters of the tyre.
If you do not know what your tyre pressure should be, the complete guide to car tyre maintenance has a simple tyre pressure checker and all the information you need regarding tyre maintenance.
If you are still unsure of how to check your tyres, the Car servicing centre in Milton Keynes will be able to assist you.
Insufficient use of mirrors
If you do not check your mirrors regularly, you are at risk of causing an accident. New drivers sometimes forget to check their mirrors when stuck in traffic, but this means you could be unaware of a motorcyclist trying to filter pass and therefore increase the risk of hitting them.
When driving, it is important to acknowledge the cars around you and be aware of any changes. From your driving lessons, you will have learned that the best way to do this is by regularly checking your interior and exterior mirrors, especially when travelling at high speeds. In fact, it is recommended that you check your mirrors every 5 seconds.
Remeber, continuously checking your mirrors makes you a safer driver and minimises the risk of damaging your vehicle when parking or causing an accident.
If you find that your vehicle has been damaged in any way, car repair Milton Keynes will be there to help and restore your car back to its original condition.
Poor observations at junctions
One of the top ten reasons why people fail their driving test is due to poor observations at junctions. Although you have already passed your test, new drivers are not immune to the same mistakes learners make. To avoid causing a collision at a junction, always remember to check your mirrors, make sure you are positioned correctly, indicate accordingly and emerge slowly.
It is better to be cautious than over confient as a new driver, especially when emerging at T-junctions where a lot is going on, and full concentration is necessary.
Practise makes perfect
As previously mentioned, although you now have a full license and can legally drive on your own, you still have a lot to learn. Other motorists can be unpredictable, so it is important to anticipate hazards wherever you go, never breach the speed limit and regularly use your mirrors. If you want to re-educate yourself on how to be a safe driver, driveJohnson’s have a useful article which will assist you.