If you feel nervous about driving for the first time after passing your test, take comfort from the fact that you’re not alone. Without the security of having a driving instructor sitting next to you, it can feel daunting being thrust in complete control of your vehicle.
Fortunately, there are lots of ways you can allay those initial fears, and begin driving with confidence.
For newbie drivers, it can be worthwhile enrolling in the government’s Pass Plus scheme. This involves having additional lessons with your local driving instructor to build up experience and confidence. Insurers often look favourably on drivers who have completed the Pass Plus course, which may see you eligible for receiving a discount.
Many driving instructors also offer courses for new drivers so they can build up additional experience on the road, especially motorways, so this could be useful if you feel nervous about driving on busy roads.
After passing your driving test, it’s worth sticking P plates to your vehicle. This lets other drivers know you have recently passed your test, which should, hopefully, make them more understanding. Simply having these plates attached to your car can boost your confidence, and reduce any nervous feelings you might have.
When driving alone for the first time, make the journey relatively short and somewhere you know well, so that you can build up your experience gradually. Research shows that 60% of drivers who have just passed their test don’t stray further than 10 minutes away the first time they get in their vehicle, so this is a good guideline to follow. As your driving experience increases, you can then start venturing further afield.
Many driving instructors recommend you shouldn’t drive home after passing your test, as your jubilation may cause you to feel distracted. Equally, when driving for the first time, avoid having anything in the car that could affect your concentration, such as loud music or your mobile phone ringing. Experts recommend that you don’t take friends as passengers with you the first time you have freedom to drive legally, as they could also prove a distraction.
It is important to remember that for the first couple of years after passing your driving test, you are on probation, according to the New Drivers Act. If you amass at least six penalty points, your licence will be removed and you will need to take your test again.