Growing In Confidence As A New Driver
As a new driver, you’re sure to be excited to go out and get on the road. But getting behind the wheel on your own can be nerve-wracking, and not the flight of independence you might have expected at first.
Once your lessons are over and your licence is in your hand, it’s time to start building some confidence on the road. There are steps you can take to make you feel better behind the wheel and build up your driving skills.
Here are some of the steps you can take to grow in confidence as a new driver.
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Don’t wait to drive
Passing your driving test can be overwhelming, and the thought of going out on your own can be daunting. But the sooner you get it over with, the easier it will be. Take the first opportunity that you can to get out there and start driving. If, for any reason, there’s a gap between passing your test and driving on your own, try to book in some refresher lessons to help you feel some extra confidence on the road.
Take a look at five things to do after passing your test to help you get started.
Take on some additional lessons
Even after passing your test, you’re not going to feel 100% sure on the road on your own. There’s nothing wrong with taking some additional lessons after passing your test. With some additional instruction, you won’t have to feel pressured as there’s no test to complete. Having an experienced driver by your side will help you to practice essential driving skills, and gives you more hours of practice before you start driving by yourself.
Pass Plus courses have a lot of benefits, and can even help you save on car insurance. If that’s not an incentive to take the course, then what is?
Practice familiar routes
The routes you’ve always taken in the car with parents, relatives or friends might seem familiar to you, but you’ve never really had to figure them out yourself before. Start practicing driving along the routes you’ll be taking the most – such as to home, work, school and friends’ houses. Soon you’ll know them like the back of your hand and will feel extra confident when driving along those familiar routes.
Explore new places
One of the most nerve-wracking things about driving is having to drive somewhere you’ve never been before. It can feel unfamiliar, and means you need to rely on road signs and following directions rather than knowing what’s familiar. But as with anything else, practice makes perfect, and you’ll soon find yourself a pro at following directions. When you’re ready, why not make a list of places in the UK you’d like to visit? There are some excellent road trips you can take in the UK once you feel ready to go and explore a bit further.
Drive in different conditions
Driving a car will require driving in all kinds of conditions. Come rain or shine, you’ll need to be able to drive in all conditions. With the weather as unpredictable as it is in the UK, you’ll need to practice different types of driving to learn all kinds of different skills.
Remember to spend time driving at night too. The roads can feel very different after dark, and getting some practice in will help teach you a lot about lights and staying safe on the road.
Focus on your driving
When you’re driving, it’s very easy to focus on what everyone else on the road is doing, instead of yourself. Worrying about other drivers will make you a nervous wreck behind the wheel, so try to focus on your own driving and staying safe. Don’t let other drivers intimidate you – simply focus on becoming a better driver yourself so that you can be a good example to others on the road.
Stick to the rules
Once you’ve passed your test, it can feel as though you no need to follow the strict rules set out by your instructor, and instead take things at your own pace. But this will only lead to bad driving habits. Driving laws, rules and regulations are there for a reason – to keep you safe. Taking silly chances and doing things that aren’t sensible could increase your chance of having an accident, causing serious injury to yourself and to others. Stick to the rules; it’s not worth breaking them!
Get to know your car
One of the things you might worry about when it comes to driving is not knowing what to do if you broke down or there was a problem with your car. This is another thing that can be helped with practice. Spend time getting to know your car and practicing things like changing a tyre, refilling the oil, etc. Each car is different and has its quirks, so it’s always useful to get to know whatever car you’re driving.
It also helps to understand what help is available to you if you do have an accident or a breakdown. Border Bandag Tyre Service can make sure you get ruptures fixed quickly, while also ensuring that you have a spare to hand. Put all of the emergency numbers in your phone ready in case you need them, and store any account details safely. It doesn’t hurt to keep some hard copies in your car as well, just in case you’re caught without your phone!
Keep your car distraction-free
When you’re driving, it’s important to keep your car distraction-free. That means no using your phone while driving, no eating and drinking and making sure you delegate any responsibilities (navigation, music choices) to other people in the car. Staying distraction-free while driving will mean that your focus is on the road and driving safely instead of all of the other things going on in your car.
Practice your parking and manoeuvers
Aside from driving on the road, there’s also the small matter of parking to consider. Parking is something that can bring many drivers out in a sweat, and the pressure of having other cars around you can make it feel worse! Try to practice parking wherever you can – choose quiet areas in car parks or along quiet roads. You’ll soon get the hanging of manoeuvering into different parking spots.
Practicing your manoeuvers after passing your test can also make you feel more capable when you need to do them in real situations. While you have to practice a lot to be able to pass your driving test, you won’t want to forget your manoeuvers in a hurry.
Drive with experienced drivers
Having someone you trust by your side can give you the confidence to do anything. This is why driving with some experienced, older drivers can help you become a stronger driver. Have someone you trust like a relative sit with you as you drive, provided they’re someone who won’t be critical and can be constructive.
It will also help you to be a passenger. You’ll have a whole new perspective on driving after passing your test, and watching someone else in action could teach you some useful things on the road.
Be sensible when embarking on long journeys
When you start taking longer journeys, you need to be prepared. There are a lot of things you can pack in your dashboard or boot to make sure you’re equipped in case of a breakdown or another problem. Make a list of things to pack in your emergency car kit – a spare pair of shoes, some water and something to eat will go a long way!
When taking long journeys, you need to remember to drive sensibly and take plenty of stops along the way. Plan your route in advance and mark out where you’re going to stop. If for any reason you feel tired, find a safe place to stop and rest. Don’t embark on long journeys at night, especially when you’re new to driving.
One thing to remember about being a new driver is to enjoy yourself! Being able to drive will open up many doors, helping you explore new places and feel more independent. There’s a lot to enjoy about driving, so try to have fun and you’ll soon feel happy and comfortable while in the car. There’s nothing better than setting off, putting on an incredible driving playlist and having some adventures. The journey will help you make many memories over the years, and you’ll have particularly fond memories of your early driving days!
Becoming a confident driver takes time, and as a new driver, it’s not something that’s going to happen overnight. The more time you spend driving, at different times of the day as well as in different conditions, the better-skilled you’ll be. Embrace driving and enjoy it, you’ll soon feel at ease when you’re out there on your own.