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Driving tips for new drivers

It’s a great feeling when you pass your driving test, whether you pass first time or have had to come back a second or third time to get through. But it’s important for new drivers to remember that passing your test is just the start of learning to drive. Many drivers will tell you that you only really learn to drive when you go out in the car on your own. It will take years of experience and regular driving to really hone your skills.

Taking to the road as a new driver

This can be daunting for all new drivers without the reassurance of your instructor next to you and you’ll need all your concentration. Like most things, it’s better to think through this in advance and plan a strategy for your first few ‘solo flights’.

Here are our top tips for keeping safe as a new driver and building your driving confidence:

  • No distractions: Drive alone at first. It will be tempting to gather all your friends to show off the day after you pass your driving test, but this isn’t always the best idea for new drivers. You are much more likely to be distracted by a crowd in your car, especially if that crowd includes your boyfriend or girlfriend.
  • Passengers: Be clear on ground rules for passengers. Eventually, you will want to drive somewhere with your friends but when you take them out, don’t be afraid to tell them to be quiet if they are putting you off. Never try to impress them by driving fast or recklessly.
  • Keep it short at first: Don’t attempt to drive a huge distance in the first few weeks after your test. You may have passed, but the concentration required will still be high, even if you love driving and don’t feel anxious, which means you will tire easily.
  • Plan your route: When it comes to a longer drive, plan your route and plan to stop at least every 2 hours. This goes for all drivers; you need to park safely, stretch your legs, visit the loo and get something to eat or drink.
  • Drinking & Driving: If you are designated the driver on a night out, it goes without saying that alcohol is out of the question. Even one drink if you are a new driver may impair your judgement, even if you are not over the limit.

The penalties for new drivers are severe

You should want to keep safe for your own sake but you also need to bear in mind that the New Drivers Act means that if you manage to get six penalty points within 24 months of throwing away your L-plates, your licence will be lost and you’ll have to take your test again (theory and driving).

Remember, new drivers who are caught using a mobile phone at the wheel will get six points instead of the usual three, so switch it off and put it away while you are driving.

Boosting safety and reducing car insurance premiums for new drivers

One of the hardest things about being a new driver is the cost of car insurance. Since inexperienced drivers are much more likely to have an accident, your car insurance premium will be quite scary. However you can reduce them more quickly by taking a Pass Plus course from the Driving Standards Agency. These courses cover advanced driving subjects such as motorway driving, night driving and skids may reduce your car insurance costs by as much as a third in your first year. However, a small number of car insurance companies offer a Pass Plus discount to young drivers, so do your research and make sure a discount is available with your car insurance policy.

Don’t forget the paperwork

Finally, don’t forget to upgrade your drivers licence when you pass your test. If you don’t get your full licence from the DVLA within two years, you will have to take your test all over again!

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One Quote Direct Insurance Services Limited trading as Octagon Insurance Services is an appointed representative of Europa Group Limited and acts as a credit broker and not a lender in relation to premium finance contracts. Registered as a limited company in England and Wales No. 5479983. Europa Group Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, Financial Services Register No. 309794. Registered office: Europa House, Midland Way, Thornbury, Bristol, BS35 2JX.

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