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Driving Alone for the First Time
Congratulations! You’ve finally passed your driving test!
You’ve got the keys to your first car and you’re ready to go. You tear up those ‘L’ plates, hop in, look in the passenger seat and it hits you – there’s no one there to tell you what to do. It’s your first time driving alone. You can feel the nerves creeping up on you and wonder – ‘can I actually do this?’
The answer, of course, is yes you can and here are five top tips to help you leave your worries behind and move forward on your journey towards becoming an independent driver.
1. Make yourself comfortable
Chances are your own car may be quite different from the one you took lessons in, and it will feel a little strange at first. Take your time to make sure that your seat, headrest and mirrors are in a comfortable position. The more comfortable you are, the more relaxed you will feel.
2. ‘P’ plates
Making other road users aware that you are a new driver should mean that they are more patient with you. Displaying ‘P’ plates is the perfect way to do this. Of course, there will always be a small number of ignorant drivers who feel that they own the road. Don’t be intimidated by them. Ignore them and concentrate on your own driving.
3. Drive a known route
Your first drive may just be around local 30mph roads. That’s fine. There’s no need to pressurise yourself into a cross-country expedition. You’ll be surprised at how different these familiar streets appear from behind the wheel of a car! If possible, it may also be a good idea to drive during off-peak periods for the first few journeys so you don’t have to worry about negotiating traffic jams or commuters rushing to work.
4. Don’t offer lifts – yet
One of the benefits of passing your test, especially if you are a young driver, is that you and your friends are now able to explore places that were previously out of reach.
However, this comes with its own issues. You may feel pressurised to drive faster than is comfortable (or legal), or you may be distracted by others playing with the radio and chatting in your car.
Wait until you are feeling more secure in the vehicle before offering lifts to friends, although having a trusted family member in the passenger seat for the first couple of drives may help to give you a confidence boost.
5. Turn off your phone
It’s not only illegal to use your mobile whilst driving, but it’s also dangerous. It’s just too much of a distraction. You won’t be able to concentrate on driving with notifications constantly pinging. Also, as tempting as it may be to share your first drive alone on social media it’s really not worth the likes. You don’t want to lose that license you have worked so hard to achieve!
So, now you’ve read our tips, buckle up, get out there and enjoy your first drive alone!