If you've just passed your test you are probably feeling pretty confident right now about your driving ability. While it's great to feel self-assured when you get behind the wheel it's important to note that statistics say that new drivers are those most at risk on the roads, with one in five new drivers in the UK involved in a crash in their first year of driving.
If you are making the step of purchasing your first car then you are going to want to keep your vehicle, and yourself, safe. Here's Carbase's five top safety tips for new drivers.
Get more training
Pass Plus, and other similar advanced driving courses, are a great way of boosting and enhancing the skills you have acquired through learning to drive. Courses typically cover a range of driving experiences that you won't have covered to pass your test - such as driving on motorways, at night and in bad weather conditions. This allows you to try out some of the trickiest driving conditions while you have an instructor with you for support. What's more, a number of councils across the country will pay for some of the Pass Plus course fee as part of their road safety initiatives.
Get to know your car
Once you have purchased your car, take some time to get to know it as you don't want to find yourself struggling to find things like the fog lights while driving. Sit on your driveway and while stationary work out where everything is, how the radio works and what heating and air con setting is best. These are all things which could distract you but once you learn how they work you will be able to flick a switch without taking your eyes off the road.
Never pick up the phone
It is illegal to use your phone while driving under any circumstance and this includes while waiting at traffic lights or stuck in a jam.
In 2017 the penalties for using your mobile phone while driving are going to get even tougher as part of an increased crackdown. If caught texting or taking a call, you'll receive six penalty points and a £200 fine. As a new driver you will face immediate ban.
We all understand that you should never drink and drive, but did you know that using your phone is equivalent to having four beers. Department of Transport stats show that a driver impaired or distracted by their phone was a contributory factor in 492 accidents in 2014.
Always check your blind spot
You might feel that a lot of what you were taught in your driving lessons was quite prescriptive but now is not the time to let your standards slip. Follow the rules you have been taught and, in particular, you must always check your blind spot before making a manoeuvre to keep you and your car safe. It's no exaggeration to say that such a small glance can save your life, so make sure that's one habit you don't stop.
Be aware of others
A key skill for all drivers is to make sure you are aware of other drivers. Does the driver in front look like they are going to cross into the other lane without indicating, is that person who just hopped into their car about to drive off without looking? Thinking what others are going to do and taking the appropriate course of action will keep you alert and safe. Advanced driving courses, as explained above, can help you develop these skills.
While driving should be enjoyable, the most important thing is to stay safe, so we hope these top tips help you. If you are ready to find your first car, come and see us today.