Passing a driving test and getting your first car is an exciting time for any new driver, but while some are cautious, there are a few who are over confident in their abilities simply because they’ve passed. However, it’s vital for any new driver to take it steady when they’re out on the road for the first few months, as this is the time to really learn how to drive and assess the road ahead, without the direction of an instructor.
Having someone with you that’s calm and confident in their own driving abilities will help you correct any mistakes you may be making; they will also be able to remind you that driving can be dangerous. If you are a more nervous driver, it may reassure you to have someone there that can take charge if needed and even drive the vehicle if it gets too much or you get too tired.
Going on an eight hour road trip in your first week of driving may not be the best idea. You do not have much experience behind the wheel yet and need to be comfortable in your driving abilities before taking long journeys. Therefore, it’s recommended that you take shorter trips in areas you know and you’re comfortable in and work your way up to those longer journeys.
It’s very important for new drivers to understand the basics of their car, including checking the tyre pressure and inflating them if necessary, topping-up the washer fluid, checking the oil and coolant levels, and if feeling confident, learn how to replace consumable items, such as bulbs and wiper blades.
Not leaving enough space between you and the car in front of you is a simple, but potently costly mistake. If the car in front of you has to brake suddenly and you’ve not left enough space in between you, it’s very likely that you’ll go into the back of that car causing damage or possibly even writing off either or both vehicles. Leaving at least a two second gap between you and the car in front means that if you have to make an emergency stop, while it’ll be scary, hopefully that will be all that happens and once you’ve calmed down, you’ll be able to drive off again, with your car intact.
It’s always a good idea to create an emergency kit to keep in your car at all times, just in case you break down or have an accident. In many countries it’s compulsory to keep a warning triangle and high visibility jackets in your car at all times, but it’s wise to include a bottle of water, snacks with a long shelf life, a blanket, torch and a power bank to charge your phone – these small things will make a big difference if you’re stranded.
Whether it’s because you’re nervous driving on a high speed road, or you’re unsure on your parallel parking, it’s absolutely fine to ask someone to help you learn more, or even just be with you in the car to reassure you during your first few months of driving.