Congratulations. You’ve just passed your test. Now the actual learning experience can begin! But when it comes to going solo for the first few weeks or months, you’ll likely face various emotions. You no longer have the reassurance of your parent or driving instructor by your side, and just the idea of getting on the motorway makes you feel queasy.
For many, it takes time to get into the full swing of driving and feel confident behind the wheel. But, you are not alone.
Here we take a look at a few simple ways to grow your confidence on the road and some top tips to help new drivers find their groove behind the wheel:
Get Familiar With Your Car
Now that you’ve passed, you’ll never drive your instructor’s car again (unless you opt for Driving Plus lessons). Whether you have your own car or share a family vehicle, it’s crucial that you familiarise yourself with how it works. From warming up the engine to knowing how to switch to high beam!
Spending time going through the motions and figuring out which switches make everything from your window wipers to where the hazard button is are all essential. And the more intuitive you are with how everything works, the more confident you’ll feel when you’re on the road.
Consider Buying Your First Set Of Wheels With Finance
Sometimes the best confidence boost is to go all out and buy yourself a new car. It’s yours from the start, and if it is brand new, you are the first driver to sit behind the wheel.
Except, you have no means to finance it all by yourself.
Fortunately, even new drivers can apply for car finance. It’s the most affordable way to purchase a new, nearly new or used vehicle without paying all the upfront costs in one go. Instead, you can spread the total cost over low fixed monthly payments, plus interest. Often, you can drive away in your dream car on the same day, and many finance applications are approved within minutes – particularly those online.
You may have a limited credit history as a new or young driver. But don’t let that put you off. Everyone has to start somewhere, after all.
Don’t forget to spend time getting to know your car and understanding how each switch and button works and how the engine is laid out under the hood. You never know when you’ll need to check your engine oil or refill your windscreen wash!
Motorways Aren’t As Terrifying As You Might Think
The idea of driving on the motorway might be a huge deal. There’s more traffic, longer stretches of road, no stopping places, and more lanes and signage to pay attention to. But the reality is, they aren’t as bad as you might think. Think of them as slightly more elaborate dual carriageways!
Avoid delaying it, and get to grips with motorways as soon as possible. Whether that’s making smaller journeys from where you live to the next bigger town or city, or going for it and doing your first fifty-mile+ journey. The more experience you get on different types of trips and roads will help you gain more confidence on the road.
If you’re feeling nervous, take a more experienced driver along with you the first few times until you feel fully confident on your own.
Drive Around In All Weathers
The British weather is so interchangeable and unpredictable. So why wait around for a sunny or clear day before taking your car out for a spin?
Instead, face your fears and as many different weather conditions as possible. Whether it’s blazing sunshine, wind, rain or ice, driving in these conditions may just be the challenge you need to get used to reacting responsibly in the driver’s seat.
Spend as much time practising on different road conditions to improve your confidence on the road. Before you know it, you’ll be thankful that you learned how to deal with adverse weather conditions at your own pace.
Post-Test Lessons Are Great
Confidence tends to build up over time for most new drivers. There might be the odd manoeuver that stumps you, or you’re not sure about long journeys, and you won’t feel ok about it all until you’ve cracked it once and for all.
Fortunately, most driving schools offer post-test lessons to help build your confidence with all the extra encouragement you need. They are designed to iron out all those basic skills that got you through your test and help you progress to the next level.
The perks don’t end there either. Many insurers will offer an extra discount for new drivers that have taken part in a post-test course.
It’s OK To Say No
Passing your driving test is a right of passage. It’s a big life moment that sets you on the course for adulthood, and there’s no slowing down from here!
You’ll likely score extra points with your mates, particularly if they haven’t bitten the bullet yet themselves. And like all avid pedestrians and public transport dependents, they will be all too happy for you to drive them around. But, you aren’t their taxi service!
Instead, take your time. Master all the real-life driving skills you need first before taking on extra passengers. More passengers instantly means more weight in your car, more noise and a whole load of distractions that you might not be ready for.
Start by driving your mum or dad around, a close friend or someone else that you can rely on. Being selective about your journeys and who you bring along for the ride is totally ok. Once you’re ready, you’ll feel more confident handling different situations on the road, so you are less likely to succumb to distraction.
Passing your test is thrilling. You get all this sudden freedom. There are fewer barriers to where you can go or how far you can drive. But for some of you, the idea of going solo is terrifying! By taking your time and getting used to various road conditions and more, you’ll soon have more confidence on the road!