Young drivers face the unenviable task of spending hundreds on lessons and taking the Theory Test, before finally facing the Driving Test itself. And if do well enough to pass, you then face the challenge of getting insured and building up your confidence on the road.
As a leading provider of young driver car insurance, we know that confidence is a big booster in helping young drivers on the road. But apart from what it says in the Rules of the Road, what steps can young and newly qualified drivers take to feel confident behind the wheel?
Not everybody passes the first time
62.5% of motorists pass on their first go (source: JOE.ie), which seems like a lot, but that's still a third who don't get it right out of the gate. Don't see it as the odds stacked against you if you don't pass first time around.
Not getting a pass on the first go can be a knock to confidence, but it shouldn't deter any young driver. If you're about to get those big N's, we have an article detailing What Happens After You Pass Your Driving Test.
Know your car
Once you have passed your test, you’re ready to hit the road. But confidence takes time to build. Also, you don’t want to be over-confident and make mistakes.
It helps to know your car inside out. You don’t want to be worried about what certain warning lights mean. Or, if you get a puncture, you want to be confident in knowing what to do. Of course, our famous breakdown rescue is here to help and put your mind at ease.
· How do I pop the bonnet in this car?
· How do I change a wheel?
· Are your tyres properly inflated?
· Is it safe to drive in bad weather?
Understanding how your car works, and the safest way to drive it help put your mind at ease. This allows you to concentrate on your driving and your route home.
Practice, practice, practice
There's a cliché that once young drivers pass their test, the first thing they need to do is load a car up with friends and go for a drive. But maybe you want to just practice for a while with a trusted family member or friend. Build your confidence over time on routes that you are familiar with. Then, when the time comes, you won’t be worried about proving yourself to your friends.
Some drivers can end up getting a little too overfamiliar, which can impede awareness over time. That's why it's good to drive new routes and different directions. Think about it – a lot of lessons revolve around learning specific routes and building awareness of specific points of interest, not the same in real life.
Try driving around at off-peak times on newer routes. Pick a time when the roads will be quiet so that you can concentrate on your route. Then, as you build your confidence, you can take on town centres at rush hour!
Stick to the speed limits
As a novice driver, the last thing you need is to build up penalty points or give yourself a scare. Or even worse, to cause an accident. Drive safely, taking your time and making the right decisions.
The best way to do this is to leave early, or at least give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination. That way, you won’t feel rushed or get flustered as easy. Don’t worry about the boy-racer behind you, that’s their problem.
Know that The AA is here to help
For the little things out of your control, like breakdowns and roadside assistance, The AA has young drivers car insurance. And unlike traditional insurance, young drivers have the benefit of AA membership included in every policy!