Essential Things to Know Before Your First Independent Drive

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It’s an exciting but nerve-wracking feeling when you get into a car alone for the first time. You’ve managed to pass your test, and you’ve had many hours of driving practice. But you’ve never been at the wheel without someone in the passenger seat. It’s possible that you feel totally prepared, and you’re raring to go. However, many first-time drivers worry about driving without the guidance of an experienced driver. If you’re worried, there are more things you can do to prepare yourself after passing your test. Before you start driving regularly, consider the important pieces of knowledge below.

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Photo source: Pexels

Where to Go for a First Drive

The best way to become more confident as an independent driver is to keep practising. You may no longer have someone helping you. But you should remember everything from your lessons. You might not be ready for a long drive just yet. However, you will probably want to go for a short victory drive when you get your licence. Knowing the most sensible places to go will help you pick an easy journey to boost your confidence. If you want to start off small, a drive around the block is one of the most popular things to do. Many people also drive home after passing their test. However, experts recommend against this, as you might not be able to concentrate fully.

You Can Continue Your Education

Remember that just because you have passed your test, it doesn’t mean you have finished learning. You need to learn how to drive independently and keep up to date on the best ways to drive. Things are always changing. There may be differences of opinion in, for example, where to place your hands on the wheel. If you want to continue your education formally, you can take the Pass Plus course. This extra course is just a few hours long and can give you extra tips to hone your driving skills. Of course, you can also just practice driving locally. Perhaps take someone with you to give you advice.

Driving Without Distractions is Best

When you start driving, it’s tempting to turn the radio on right away. Many younger people who pass their test also offer their friends lifts right away. Other things can be distracting too, such as your phone. When you’re first getting started, it’s best to avoid distractions as much as possible. You’ll have to learn to deal with distractions eventually. But it’s best to minimise them, to begin with. You can focus on filtering distractions that you can’t control, such as sights and sounds outside. Eventually, you’ll feel more confident listening to music or talking to your passengers.

How to Drive on the Motorway

Before you get your licence, you won’t have been on the motorway. You can’t until you pass your test, by which time you’ve had all your lessons. So how do you learn to navigate the motorway, which can be pretty frightening for a first-time driver? While motorways are safer, speeds are higher. Pass Plus will teach you the skills you need to drive on the motorway, as well as on dual carriageways. However, if you don’t want to take Pass Plus, you should still take time to educate yourself. You need to know how to get on and off the motorway, which lane to use, and what to do if you break down.

How to Deal with a Crash

You’re likely to have an accident at some point in your life as a driver. Even if you’re the best driver in the world, not everyone can be. The accident might not be your fault, but you still need to know how to deal with it. Many new drivers, especially younger ones, can be tricked into doing the wrong thing. The other party might try to convince you to sort out the problem without going through your insurance company. Or they might try to get you to admit to being at fault.

It’s important to know what to do at the scene of an accident and how to handle it afterwards. There are several things you should do when the accident happens. They range from taking evidence to exchanging details with the other driver. If you can take notes and photos, it will help you case if you later want to file a road crash claim. The more information you can give when you seek compensation, the better. Of course, it may also be necessary to contact the police or request medical assistance at the scene. You must report accidents to your insurer when they occur. You also need to either exchange details with the other driver or report the accident to a police station within 24 hours.

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Photo source: Pixabay

What to Do When You Break Down

It’s not always accidents that prevent you from driving. Sometimes your car gives up the ghost and decides it doesn’t want to go any further. Before you get behind the wheel on your own, you need to know what to do if your car breaks down. If you can, you need to pull off to the side of the road, so that your vehicle is out of the way. On the motorway, you can use the hard shoulder and the emergency telephones. When you stop, you should turn on your hazard lights. You might also find it useful to carry a triangle hazard sign in your car. Anyone in the car should get out and move off the hard shoulder or away from the road.

How to Handle Driving Nerves

Driving on your own for the first time can be pretty nerve-wracking. Those nerves can make you feel less confident and might affect your driving performance. Before you get out there, consider how you can put yourself at ease. It might be by playing calming music as you drive. You might want to build up to driving alone by taking someone you trust on short trips. Perhaps you can use some relaxation techniques before you get in the car to help you stay calm.

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Photo source: Pixabay

How to Use Your GPS/Satellite Navigation Safely

Having a satnav device or using the GPS on your phone can be a great way to get around. If you’re driving alone, you don’t need a navigator. However, although it comes in handy, it can also prove to be distracting. Before you start using a navigation system, you should understand how you can use it safely. Firstly, you need to understand that the system’s capabilities are limited. You mustn’t put all your trust in it and assume it’s always completely accurate. Keeping a road atlas in the car as backup is a good idea. Even though your satnav or phone provides a map, it’s better to listen to the instructions. Don’t let it distract you from keeping your eyes on the road. It’s also important not to programme your satnav while you’re driving.

Driving in All Types of Weather

When you were learning to drive, you may have had the chance to drive in a variety of conditions. However, you can still find yourself faced with weather that you haven’t experienced yet. Anything from snow and fog to bright sunshine can affect your driving. However, gaining experience in different conditions can obviously take a while. Fortunately, unpredictable British weather means you could be waiting less time than you think. Before you head out in adverse weather conditions, make sure you know how to combat changes to the roads.

The prospect of driving alone might seem frightening, but you have to do it eventually. You’ll love your new independence once you’re used to it.

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