Congratulations! You’ve passed your driving test and all you’re waiting for is your updated insurance papers and your little pink card. Driving is a wonderful skill to have, but at the risk of sounding exactly like your parents, it comes with a lot of responsibility.
August is National Road Victim Awareness Month, so it’s important to remember a few things now that you’ve ditched the “L” plates for good.
Ask a calm and experienced driver to take you onto the motorway as soon as you feel you’re ready. It’s definitely daunting trying to tackle the motorway for the first time, but you can ease your nerves by having someone accompany you when it’s relatively quiet. If you avoid using the motorway, you’ll start to build up a fear of it, which will make it all the more difficult to use when you need to. Passing your test proves you’re a competent driver, so you should have confidence in your own ability.
Practice makes perfect
That said, if there’s anything you’re still unsure about even after passing your test, make sure you ask someone to practice with you. Whether you’re concerned about double mini-roundabouts or exiting at T-junctions, the best thing you can do is get yourself accustomed to them early, and you’ll feel yourself becoming more confident.
Don’t rush to take all your friends out. We all know how tempting it is to show off your new skill straight after passing your test, but be aware that piling all your pals in the back of your car can be risky. Without meaning to, they can distract you or divert your attention away from something crucial on the road, which can prove to be very dangerous. Remember, it’s better to arrive safely than not at all.
Be a conscientious driver. Again, it’s easy to become over-confident behind the wheel, but remember that other drivers may sometimes have a lapse in concentration, or may simply be driving dangerously themselves. Keep your focus on the road at all times, and don’t try to compete with anyone else on the road – you’ll gain nothing, other than maybe a few penalty points!
Save your points
On that note, remember that if you collect more than six points on your license within the first two years of passing your test, you’ll be disqualified from driving and you’ll have to go through the whole process again. Not only is re-sitting your test costly, you’ll also have to deal with a hefty insurance hike, as your insurer will be aware that you’ve lost your license in the past. Don’t risk it!
Leave your phone
It may sound obvious, but never use your phone while driving, or get behind the wheel after drinking. Regardless of how little you may think you’ve had to drink, there’s a good chance it’ll show up should you get stopped by the police – and nobody wants to risk a 20-year criminal record. Remember that it’s illegal to use your phone in the car at any time while your engine’s running, even if you’ve pulled over at the side of the road. If you do need to make an urgent phone call, always make sure you’ve parked up somewhere safe and turned your engine off first to avoid getting in trouble.