Learning to drive is an awesome thing to do: it gives you freedom and independence. But at times it can feel frustrating, difficult and even scary. Here are our tips to make it all run smoother than a motorway at 3am …
Driving is about confidence – so it's so important that your instructor is patient, encouraging and supportive. Like everyone, you’ll make mistakes when you're learning to drive– and some of them may be quite serious. It's crucial, then, that your instructor can help you maintain your confidence. Ask for recommendations from friends and go for a test session before booking a whole block of lessons so if you can see if the instructor is someone you're comfortable with and whose teaching style suits you.
Driving is like everything else: you get better the more you do it. In fact, this is especially true of driving, since so much of driving is about confidence; the more you drive, the more it becomes second nature and the more situations you become able to deal with.
Practising with family members or friends between lessons can arguably help to make the difference between merely passing your test and truly becoming a good driver, both in terms of confidence and experience. But a word of warning: just as your instructor needs to be patient and understanding, so do your friends and family members. Get them to help you practice the things you find difficult at quiet times when there aren't too many other drivers around who are going to make you feel under pressure.
Apart from the fact that you need to pass your theory test (which you can take as soon as you have your provisional licence), a proper understanding of the rules of the road is the foundation upon which your driving success will be built. As well as the Highway Code, which you should familiarise yourself with, the theory test is based on two other books: Know Your Traffic Signs, and the snappily named Official Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency Guide to Driving. You can take practice tests online on the Safe Driving for Life website.
The driving test teaches you how to drive, but it doesn't teach you how to own a car – or maintain it. If you're lucky enough to be able to afford a car when you pass your test, make sure you are clued up on all the attendant legal requirements (insurance, car tax, making sure you inform the DVLA whenever you change your address). Remember that insurance for new drivers can be eye-wateringly expensive. And make sure you know some basic car maintenance, too, such as how to check your tyre pressure and tread depth, how to check your brake fluid, oil and coolant, and how to change a spare wheel.
If you're looking for a good value first car, Carwise Group is the smart choice. We've a huge range of used cars for sale at our three dealerships in Maidstone, Harlow and Dunstable, all of which have been thoroughly checked by our in-house technicians to make sure they're in good condition.