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The Beginner Guide to Motoring

January 31, 2014

When you’re learning to drive everything feels hard work – you can’t pull away from traffic lights without stalling, you can’t figure out parallel parking and you’re so scared of reversing you’d rather just do another lap around the car park and come at that tricky space from another angle. But what people don’t tell you is that passing your test is just the beginning! You’ve got insurance, road tax, breakdowns, repairs, speed cameras, grumpy policemen and angry commuters, all to deal with while you’re only just getting used to being behind the wheel – Not to mention the hassle of actually buying your first car, picking the right car, thinking about finance options to actually purchase it.
Welcome to the world of motoring.

 

Don’t worry about all of that though – the Car Loan Warehouse has got your back, we’ve put together what we’re calling the beginner’s guide to motoring. Designed to be your one stop complete guide to passing your driving test, with driving test tips and testing advice; help with buying your first car – the good first cars for girls and boys, the cheap first cars along with how to insure your first car, which cars are cheapest to insure and the best car insurance for young drivers.

Although a lot of the information in this guide is targeted at new drivers and learner drivers planning to pass their test – but the information is transferable and could be of aid to veteran drivers as well as the new drivers it was created to benefit!

Here are your quick links to the rest of the guide:

Driving Tips

Statistics from RoSPA show you’re more likely to have an accident in the first 2 years after passing your driving test than at any other time in your life – So you should practise your driving in a style which maximises safety and treat every manoeuvre with caution until you’re a confident driver, if possible you could even continue lessons with an instructor after your test to continue learning after you’ve passed.

One thing a lot of new drivers do nowadays is invest in green ‘probationary’ P-plates, they’re like the red L-plates you get as a learner but these sign to other drivers you may take a little longer to negotiate junctions and obstacles – most people will show more consideration toward someone with P-plates and give them more time and space to manoeuvre.

Distractions

Sure you’ve been brought up watching parents and taxi drivers multitasking behind the wheel – everything from making conversation, smoking out the window and adjusting the radio to texting and talking on the phone (which is now illegal don’t forget!) – But as a new driver you may think all of this is second nature it for normal drivers where in reality 100% of your concentration should be focussed on driving your vehicle.
If you find your driving goes downhill whenever you start a conversation or sing along with the radio then just stop, you can get to all that stuff when you’re ready, for now just concentrate on what you’re doing. Once you’re an expert at the basics we can move onto the cooler stuff.

Stay vigilante

As a new driver you’ll remember from your lessons you’re supposed to glance in your rear view mirror once every 8-10 seconds. Are you sitting there thinking I always forget that one? Well if you forgot one thing, there’s surely a lot more that can be forgotten too.

 

Make sure you are aware of your surroundings, a car in the next lane across may not seem to be your problem – but if he loses concentration and strays into your lane he will very quickly become your problem, and if you’re not expecting the worst you’ll be caught off guard. Be vigilant, drive as though everyone else could crash into you at any moment because in reality it could actually happen, and if you’re not ready when things go wrong you might not be around to become an expert driver yourself!

Building Confidence

Start Small – don’t go charging toward the motorway just because you’ve got a pink licence and you’re allowed to. Practise on quitter roads, or even take yourself back to an industrial estate or car park and work on the manoeuvres you have trouble with – as you become more comfortable in your own car, and start getting a feel for how other cars act around you, you can move onto busier and more populated roads.

Practise:

  • in town
  • in different weathers
  • on country roads
  • at night
  • on dual carriage ways
  • on motorways

Motorways

Motorways can be scary – we were just the same when we learned, promise! You’ve probably been a passenger in a car on a motorway many times but have never actually been a part of it. Well if you actually think about it, there’s a lot less happening on a motorway – all the traffic is travelling in the same direction and there are no pedestrians, cyclists, horses, learner drivers or tractors to get in your way.

Joining the motorway from a slip road is probably as scary as it gets. Just make sure you pick up your speed so you are driving as fast as the traffic you’re about to merge with, use your indicator to signal your intentions and hopefully people will move over to give you room to join. Once on the motorway stay on the inside lane to the left until you get used to travelling at speed, if you need to overtake you should head back toward the inside lane as soon as it is safe to. Don’t use overtaking lanes for ordinary driving if there’s room for you in the inside lane.

Don’t forget to check your speed when you’re back on normal roads – it’s easy to get used to moving at 70mph and it can be very dangerous to accidentally put your foot down on a winding country road.

Penalties

If you are unlucky enough to accrue 6 penalty points within your first 2 years of passing your test – whether they be for speeding, using your phone while driving or driving dangerously – your license will be automatically revoked. You’ll then have to re-apply for your licence as a learner and resit both your theory and practical test.

About The Author

Jon Le Roux is co-founder and company director of The Car Loan Warehouse. Being a mad engineering and motorsport enthusiast, I spend more hours than is healthy, watching, reading or talking about cars, boats, motorbikes…..basically anything with an engine.