So you have finally passed your driving test (well done you), and it’s finally time to get out onto the open road. But wait! Before you put pedal to the metal and assume you know everything there is to know, you need to focus on the following tips to steer you in the right direction.
1. Don’t buy the first car you see
New drivers fall into two categories.
1) They are terrified to get into a car without the reassuring comfort of their driving instructor.
2) They are desperate to get into any car alone for the first time, with the open road and freedom finally ahead of them.
Assuming you are in the latter category, don’t be in too much of a rush to buy the first car you take a liking too. Value for money is key, so while you may be tempted to go for a cheap used deal, you could avoid the risk of purchasing an old banger and go for something a little more upmarket, such as these Mercedes-Benz special offers. Whatever you do, create a budget so you know what you have to spend (remembering to factor in fuel costs, insurance, and road tax), and ask somebody who knows more about cars than you to help you buy something decent and roadworthy.
2. Take some more driving lessons
More driving lessons? Noooooo! It’s the last thing you want to do, especially if you never want to hear the nagging words of another driving instructor again. But bear with us! Taking advanced driving lessons, such as a Pass Plus course, will give you added confidence on the roads, help you to brush up on any skills you are still weak in (you can’t avoid parallel parking forever), and perhaps most usefully for new drivers, you will also lower your insurance premium. Result!
3. Get to know your car inside and out
The driver’s handbook is there for a reason. Yes, you should know what the steering wheel does, and the handbrake is pretty self-explanatory. Still, there are all those other bells and whistles on your dashboard that need to be explored, and while you don’t need to be a car mechanic, it’s still worth having some knowhow under the bonnet to keep your car regularly maintained. If you’re unsure, ask for advice, or take a beginner’s car maintenance course at your local college or night school.
4. Practice practice practice
Now, you could avoid those tricky maneuvers forever in theory, but say you’re weak at parallel parking, it would be a real pain if you had to drive for miles every time you wanted to find an easy parking space. The same goes for those tricky aspects of driving, such as reverse parking, driving in the rain, or facing the perils of driving in the dark. If you’re not good at something, or if some aspects of driving cause you anxiety, don’t avoid them. The only way you are going to become a safe and competent driver is to confront your weaknesses and fears through practice. Ask for help if needed, and do take on an advanced driving course, but when alone, you need to bite the bullet (not the same as the biting point) and strengthen your skills when you’re out on the roads.
Passing your driving test is a huge achievement, but learning continues forever. Follow our tips, and seek as much advice as you need to help you become a competent driver. Thanks for reading, and take care when out on the roads.