As a new driver, you feel on top of the world when you pass your driving test. However, there is truth in the old saying that pride cometh before a fall, and the reality is that passing your test is only the beginning. You still have a lot to learn as you become an experienced driver.
Sadly, many people end up finding this out the hard way, and more than 40% of new drivers say they have been involved in an accident while behind the wheel. This statistic goes a long way towards explaining why your insurance premium is so high for those first few years.
Where do so many new drivers go wrong? Well, there are some things that come up again and again. Forewarned is forearmed, so here are the top five tips for you to avoid coming to a cropper.
Don’t be overconfident
The biggest mistake you can make is to forget that passing your test is only the beginning. As a new driver, you are still a novice with a lot to learn. Take your time, and think about every manoeuvre carefully. It’s a completely different experience being out there on your own compared to having a driving instructor by your side.
Don’t try to do too much too soon. With your driving licence in your wallet, you could drive from one side of the country to the other, but try to keep your sensible head on and stick to local journeys at first. You have all the time in the world, so do it right.
Many people overestimate their ability to keep focused on what they’re doing. People’s lives are filled with so many distractions that they convince themselves they can keep them tuned out. New drivers especially have this attitude, and it leads to a basic mistake – becoming distracting by what’s going on in the car. Don’t let conversations with passengers or fussing with the radio distract you from focusing on your driving.
It is easy to find yourself going too fast, and there isn’t a motorist in the country who hasn’t broken a speed limit occasionally. That doesn’t make it a good idea, however, particularly in residential areas. Here’s a statistic to consider. If a child runs out in front of your car and you hit them at 30 km/h, there is a 95% chance that they will survive the impact. If you are doing 65 km/h, there is a 95% chance that they will die.
Receiving penalty points and having to retake your driving test is also a consideration for a speeding conviction, but the above paragraph tells you all you need to know. Watch your speed.
Choose your car carefully
You will be so eager to get out on the road that it will be tempting to buy the first car you see. Be careful – a car is a serious investment, and there are plenty of elephant traps for the unwary. Read the reviews, check the insurance costs and talk to friends and family for recommendations. Most importantly, look at a variety of different cars and have someone with you who has some knowledge and experience.
Recall what you learned
Unlike many of your fellow road users, you took your theory test quite recently, so it should still be fresh in your mind. Use that knowledge and training out on the road to help make you a better driver. Some people think that once they have passed their test, they can throw the rulebook out of the window. Those are the ones who find out the hard way that they were mistaken, so make sure it doesn’t happen to you.