If you are a young person who has passed their test recently, congratulations! The whole world has just opened up to you in a big way, and you have the opportunity to grasp the freedom that driving a car gives. However, there are a few things you should know, that your driving instructor may not have told you. Here are five hard truths that every young driver needs to know.
You still can’t drive
Passing your test means you can show you have the bare minimum ability to control a vehicle according to the law. It does not make you a good driver – despite what you might think. When you pass your test, there is so much to learn. You will have no experience of motorways, for example, which can be an incredibly stressful experience for a first timer. Our advice? Take more training. Go for something like the advanced driver’s course or pay to have an instructor teach you about motorways. You might also benefit from using P plates, which will notify other drivers of your inexperience. Statistics suggest that you are likely to have a crash as a young driver. And everything you do to improve your skills will reduce those chances by a significant amount.
Your insurer doesn’t trust you
It doesn’t matter if you are the next Lewis Hamilton, your insurer still sees you as an incredible risk on the roads. And they will make you pay through the nose because of it – and continue to do so until you are over 25. The simple fact is that as a young person, you are seen as reckless – as 12% of all accidents are caused by teenagers; it’s no surprise. There are ways to pull your premiums down. Buying a less powerful car is a good starting point. And you can also ask your insurer for a telematics – or black box – system. It will track your driving, and if you prove you are safe, it should lower your premiums after a year or so.
You need to spend money on your car if you want it to last
Your first car will stay in your memory for life. But if you want to run it for many years to come, you’ll need to pay for the pleasure. Regular maintenance is essential. Your first step is to read your owner’s manual. It will tell you when you should change your oil, and how much you should inflate your tyres, amongst other things. It will also tell you when you should put your vehicle in for a service. Try to avoid thinking of a service as an unnecessary cost. While a good MOT will establish if your car is roadworthy – in legal parlance – it won’t keep it in top condition. Only a regular service and good personal maintenance will keep your car on the road for many years to come.
Distractions can kill
We don’t want to be spoilsports, here. Driving for the first time can be an exhilarating experience, and you will want to show off to your friends. It’s also an excellent opportunity to play your favourite music at incredibly high levels. But don’t kid yourself. Doing either of these things will significantly up your chances of ending up in a crash. Distractions are the leading cause of death on the roads, so be careful at all times.