Just passed your driving test? Got a newfound sense of freedom?
Being a new driver is an exciting time, especially if you’ve got your own car. But whether you’re looking for the best insurance for young drivers, or you’re already insured on your own or parents’ vehicle, it’s important to be careful and safe. Insurance premiums can also be a lot higher for first-time drivers than for people who have been driving for a few years, so the last thing you’ll want is to add more to your cost with a claim.
We’ve put together 10 of our top tips for new drivers, to help you get the best insurance deal and generally enjoy your driving freedom.
1. Get to know your car
If you learned to drive in your own car, you’ll already be familiar with how it works. But, if you learned in your instructor’s car, you’ll need to know how to perform basic tasks, such as:
- How the wipers work
- Turning your lights on and off
- How to activate full beam
- Open the boot and bonnet
- Checking and changing your oil and screen wash
It’s important that you also get a “feel” for your car. Are you comfortable? Make sure your seat is in the best position for you to drive comfortably and get the best vision from all your mirrors. How do the brakes respond? What’s it like spatially? Try parking your car in different spaces, from shopping centre bays to roadside and driveways.
2. Stay calm and chilled
You may be buzzing with excitement, but once you’re behind the wheel it’s important to remain calm, chilled and focused. One way to stay calm is to practice on familiar roads near to where you live, so when it comes to making those journeys you’re already a little more confident.
3. Don’t get distracted
Accidents can happen in a split second. Make sure you keep your eyes on the road and avoid turning around to talk to your friends in the back seat. If your radio controls aren’t on your steering wheel, reaching to swap between stations can be distracting. So try to keep this to a minimum while you’re driving.
Remember to refrain from using your mobile phone when driving too. Not only is this against the law, this can be one of the biggest distractions, with approximately 1,600,000 accidents being caused per year due to texting while driving.
4. Take note of the weather
Before setting off, it’s important to check the weather. If a downpour is scheduled for later that day and you know you’re likely to be on the road at that time, then prepare to be extra cautious and allow more time for your journey. Make sure you’re also aware of the following conditions:
- High winds – take extra care, especially on motorways. Be wary of lorries and other larger vehicles.
- Snow – try not to drive in the ice or snow unless you absolutely must! It’s best to go slowly in lower gears to avoid skidding. Remember to that you may also encounter black ice, which is difficult to see from your car and can cause your vehicle to spin if hit at speed.
- Hail and torrential rain – again, you may want to try and avoid driving in these conditions. Take it slow and if necessary, put your headlights on. If your wipers are struggling to keep your windscreen clear, pull over and wait for the worst of it to pass.
- Fog and mist – while the road surfaces themselves may be fine in the mist and fog, your vision will be impacted. Use your headlights and take care, especially on windy roads where there are obstructions.
- Scorching heat – even the hot weather can cause issues on the road! If you’re stuck in traffic for a long period of time, your engine could overheat, and you’ll need to call out for breakdown assistance.
If you always take care, you should be fine driving sensibly in most weather conditions. Be wary of other drivers though, as some may not be as cautious as you.
5. Keep documents with you
It’s a good idea to keep your driving documents with you, just in case of an accident or if you break down. A copy of your insurance policy is essential.
You may also want to keep a first aid kit and a car safety hammer with you. That way, if a minor accident occurs you can treat any cuts or sprains effectively and the car safety hammer can help you to break a window or seatbelt in the case of a more major accident.
6. Learn how to change a tyre
Possibly one of the handiest things to know how to do. You never know when you may accidentally hit a large pothole or drive over a nail. Slow punctures will usually last if you notice soon enough and get it patched in a garage nearby. But, if your tyre is severely damaged, it pays to know how to swap it for your spare!
Bear in mind lots of modern cars don’t have spare tyres anymore. Instead, they come with foam that can be inserted through your puncture, keeping your tyre pumped up for longer while you find your way to a garage.
7. Keep it running smoothly
- Regular oil changes
- Tyre pressure checks
- Checking brake fluid
- Water coolant levels
- Fill up with fuel before the light comes on!
8. Treat your car and other drivers with respect
One of the best pieces of advice for new drivers: remember to drive properly! Making your car rev and holding the accelerator down in lower gears can burn out your gearbox and isn’t an economic way to drive. Keep space between you and the car in front, and be sure to indicate and use your mirrors. Sounds simple, but once you’ve passed and you no longer have your instructor telling you to check things, you can find yourself forgetting to perform these checks.
9. Consider getting a Black Box installed
Searching for tips to lower car insurance for young drivers? Maybe you’ve just passed, or your teen has, and the cost of premiums is too high?
Getting a Black Box can lower your insurance premiums. It tracks the way you drive and adjusts your payments accordingly. Find out more about getting a Black Box.
10. Know your insurance policy!
It’s important to know exactly what’s covered in your car insurance policy. That way, should anything unfortunate happen, you’ll know what you’re entitled to claim for and which damage is covered.
Simply enter your car registration and start building your quote with Endsleigh.
Last updated: 24/04/2020