New drivers: the journey to confidence

Drivers steering wheel

As a new driver, you will be excited to get behind the wheel and want to drive here, there and everywhere.

For many young adults a car is the first sense of freedom they will experience. It is important that this freedom is enjoyed, but at the same time, driving has risks.

A new driver is relatively vulnerable on the road, they may not be fully aware of hazards or may have a slower reaction speed than someone who has driven for a number of years.

Current figures show that one in four 18-24 year olds crash within 2 years of passing their test in the UK.

Top tips for new drivers to become more confident and safe on the roads:

1. Remove any distractions

Do not use your mobile phone, keep music to a volume level which will allow you to concentrate fully on the road, only talk with passengers if you feel chatting is not distracting you.

2. Keep to the speed limit and road conditions

Although it may be tempting to drive fast to impress your friends, remember there are speed limits for a reason and you should slow down to suit road conditions.  A speeding charge may result in 3 or 6 penalty points being put on your licence, with 6 points making a new licence void!  It is better to be a safe driver than risking losing your licence and harming others.

3. Make others aware

When you were learning to drive you had to use L plates, this alerted other drivers that you were not an experienced driver. As a new driver you may want to consider using P plates. This will alert other drivers to the fact that your reaction speed might be a little slower at junctions and roundabouts. Other drivers are likely to leave a larger gap between their car and yours which may alleviate some pressure.

4. Improve your skills

Many driving instructors offer Pass Plus training. This involves 6 hours of instructor training.  Completing the course should increase your confidence as a driver and for many insurance companies will reduce premiums. As a learner driver there are certain routes you will never travel such as motorways. Choosing to do a Pass Plus course allows you to drive on a motorway with the guidance of an experienced driving instructor.

5. Practice, practice, practice!

Drive familiar routes perhaps to the supermarket and back or to a friend’s house. As confidence grows, drive a little further.  If you need to travel somewhere unfamiliar during rush hour, it may be a good idea to practice the route at a quieter time.

6. Enjoy driving

As a new driver you may consider driving as a chore. Try to take enjoyment out of driving, perhaps reward yourself by stopping off at a favourite place. The more you enjoy driving the more you will get out and about- increasing your confidence and skills!

For other driving safety tips in winter, please see our blog Winter is coming – Driving safety tips.