Passing your driving test is a rite of passage, but the learning doesn’t stop when you pick up the keys to your first car. As many as one in five new drivers are involved in accidents during their first year of driving, so the latest post in our #BeSafe series takes a look at what teen drivers can do to be safer on the roads after they’ve passed their test.
1. Switch the ‘L’ plates for ‘P’ plates
Removing the red ‘L’ plates from your car is a momentous occasion that marks the transition to becoming a fully-fledged driver. But as a new driver allowed behind the wheel alone for the first time, teen drivers are still very inexperienced and the workload may feel higher without an instructor there. That’s why it’s a good idea for teen drivers to invest in some green ‘P’ (short for Probationary) plates to let other drivers know that they are new drivers. This encourages other road users to be patient, which should hopefully make them feel less under pressure. Unlike ‘L’ plates, ‘P’ plates are optional, and they can be left on the car for as long as is necessary.
2. Don’t go straight to a powerful car
Even if you’re lucky enough to have the budget for a more powerful car, it’s wise to start building up your driving experience on something a little less sporty. A car with plenty of power is more responsive, and if you’ve not yet developed your experience and reaction times, this can catch you out.
3. Consider taking the advanced driving course
The skills you learn when you’re initially working towards your driving licence are just the beginning. To become a better driver, you can continue developing your skills and confidence by taking a course from the Institute of Advanced Motorists. Not only can passing the advanced driving test help give you access to lower insurance premiums, but they’ll help you become a safer driver by showing you how to work on skills such as anticipation and vehicle control. You can complete the Younger Driver Assessment – online training followed by a driving assessment – or go the whole hog and sign up for the full Advanced Driver Course.
4. Your first passengers
You probably haven’t had anyone sitting in the back of the car while you’ve been learning, and the person in the front passenger seat will have been your instructor. Driving while taking friends and family around with you is a rather different experience, because they’ll probably be chatting away to you without necessarily realising that it’s distracting you. As the driver of the car, their safety is in your hands, so if you’re finding it difficult to concentrate and your workload is high – driving around a city, for example – ask them to quieten down. Finally, if you feel they’re asking you to do something you’re not comfortable with – parking in a tight space, for instance – don’t be afraid to say no. It’s better that than have to deal with an insurance claim…
Talking of which, we have several options to help insure learner and young drivers. Please speak to one of our experts for more information.