Once you’ve got over the initial excitement of passing your test – you may feel a bit anxious about driving on your own after having the reassurance of your parent or driving instructor in the passenger seat. You may not be quite ready to try driving on the motorway on the day after you pass – the idea of this article is to offer information and advice, as and when you need it, on how to increase your confidence, develop your driving skills and start your new adventure on the open road.
Get to know your car
Drive in bad weather as soon as you can
You’re not alone
Once you’ve passed your test, you don’t have to hop in the car and tackle the driving completely by yourself. If it helps you feel more confident, take a parent or experienced driver with you on your first few trips. Having said that, it’s also super important that you do make trips by yourself. Don’t worry – you don’t have to head across the country solo as soon as you get your full licence – but little trips to the shops by yourself is a great way to build up confidence.
Turn off the radio
We all dream of having the ‘music up, windows down and wind in our hair’ moment when we’re learning to drive (trust us, it will come) but as a new driver, it isn’t the time just yet. Concentration is crucial – let’s face it, you’re in charge of a car! If you’re not completely confident, keep the music off. You’ll get to a point where you can have the radio on with no issues at all.
Set yourself goals
At some point, you will have to drive on your own, drive in adverse weather conditions and even take to the motorway. Put a plan together of where you want your driving journey to take you to help build your confidence as a new driver. Maybe you want to be able to drive to a friends house at the end of the month, but don’t have the confidence to do it yet? Short but regular journeys on different types of roads will help you build up skill and confidence to get you where you want to be in no time.
Avoid the fun-filled road trip… for now
We recently did some research which showed that over half of young drivers (54%*) said they’ve felt pressured by passengers to overtake or break the speed limit when driving. These are difficult things to deal with even if you’re a bit more experienced behind the wheel, so as a less confident new driver, these pressures can be life-threatening. We’re not saying you can never pick your friends up – I mean come on, you’re probably desperate for a road trip with your pals, just take some time to become a bit more confident as a driver before planning any too extensive. For when you do head out on your first road trip with friends, we’ve got some tips to help.
Know where you’re going
As a new driver, it’s likely you don’t know the ins and outs of the roads surrounding you. Let’s face it, you’ve not had much reason to learn them up until now! This is the time to figure out your surroundings and learn as many different routes as possible, especially if it’s ones you’ll be doing regularly. Sat Navs are great (I know I couldn’t live without mine) but for those routes, you’ll be taking often, it’s best to figure them out as quickly as possible – saving your Sat Nav for journeys further afield.
Learning doesn’t stop when you pass
In fact, this is the start of you becoming a great driver! You’ll learn so much as you head off on the roads, but it also means you may start to pick up some bad habits which in turn can lead to accidents, which means it’s probably a good idea to keep hold of the Highway Code to refer back to when you need to.
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*Research conducted by Fly Research, on behalf of Marmalade in June 2019 with 1,000 UK drivers under the aged of 30.