Top Tips for Young Drivers
After some delays and disruption due the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown restrictions, young drivers are more eager than ever before to get themselves on the road.
But as driving lessons commence and test centres reopen, it’s important not to let safety slip, especially amid all the pent-up anticipation and excitement.
Adopting the right habits now can set you up well for the long run. This means you’ll be on the road for longer and have more pleasant and enjoyable driving experiences.
Now, we know it might sound like we are stereotypically just pointing the finger at young people, but psychologically speaking, there are a number of factors that mean adolescent drivers are in fact, more likely to engage in unsafe behaviours.
So, before you next take to the wheel, here are some useful tips to keep both you and other people safe on the road…
- Control your nerves
If you are new to driving, nerves are normal and something which only settle as your confidence grows with experience. But although natural, letting them take over while you’re driving could cause issues for both you and others.
Ultimately, nervous driving results in hesitation and mistakes. And while we all make them, on the road, they can cause serous hazards that not only affect us, but also other drivers, passengers and pedestrians.
Common nervous mistakes include hesitation at roundabouts, dangerous judgement at junctions and risky overtaking.
The trick is to stay calm, pay attention and commit to your decisions. And remember, even the best of drivers make mistakes sometimes.
2. Slow and steady doesn't always win the race
We regularly hear of the dangers of speeding and of course, these should never be forgotten. But what’s interesting is that slow driving can be just as unsafe. Again, it might be that your nerves and anxiousness are causing you to be over cautious and slower, which is understandable.
However, while you might think you’re being safe by keeping well under the speed limit, it becomes an issue when you have caused other drivers to react.
For example, pulling out in front of someone who is driving at the speed limit but then not picking up your speed, will mean they have to press their breaks harder to avoid hitting you. While that is a hazard within itself, if there are drivers behind them, they will need to break too, causing a domino effect that could result in multiple car accidents.
Similarly, significantly slow driving may cause frustration and rage in other drivers who may then act hastily to overtake. Of course, this isn’t necessarily your fault as it was their decision, but it could alarm you and cause your nerves to heighten, which isn’t good for anybody.
Most drivers will be happy to follow behind you a few miles per hour slower and wait until a safe opportunity arises to overtake. So, it’s about finding a comfortable balance between a speed at which you feel in control and one that does not agitate those around you.
3. Don't give into peer pressure
Young people giving into peer pressure is a widespread concern for parents, teachers and carer and also driving and health and safety authorities. Again, this isn’t just another stereotypical assumption, but something behavioural psychologists have spent decades understanding.
When it comes to driving, then, it means young people are more likely to give into pressure from friends and peers to engage in dangerous behaviours, such a speeding, overtaking and allowing distractions.
Whether it be to show off, fit in or impress others, the reasons are plentiful. But all are just as unimportant, especially when it comes down to something that could potentially be a matter of life or death.
So, when you feel any sort of peer pressure, remember there is a bigger picture and understand that a lot more is at stake than some momentary fun or a trivial praise.
4. Remember, you are responsible for your passengers
This is perhaps one of the most important realisations you are met with as a driver. Your passengers’ safety and wellbeing are in your complete control when you are behind the wheel.
The consequences of your actions and manoeuvres will no longer just affect you, but likely, someone you care about, too.
Therefore, driving safely becomes even more crucial. If this isn’t a responsibility you think you’re ready for, or you think driving with passengers will result in peer pressure or even more nerves, politely explain that you cannot drive them.
As your confidence grows, we are sure this will change. But as someone who is new to the road, you should drive with as little distractions or concerns as possible.
5. Don't drink and drive
Another given, but one which is so important, it deserves its own mention.
As well as driving, you will be new to legally being allowed to drink alcohol. Again, whether it be peer pressure or the lower perception of risk, which is common among young people, drinking and driving occurs far too often. And unsurprisingly, so do the consequences of dangerous and deadly accidents.
In fact, young drivers have the highest rate of drink-driving related crashes, and each year, an alarming number of people are killed or seriously injured in accidents involving a young driver who was over the limit.
We understand that driving gives you a sense of freedom that you probably haven’t felt before. You’re gaining some independence and want to stop relying on the taxi of mum and dad. But our advice is it’s just not worth it. Know your limits, know what’s legally allowed, but also, look for alternative ways to get to where you’re going that involve no risk, and especially not one that you’re responsible for.
As well as the life-changing effects of a drink-driving related accident, it can seriously impact your ability to drive in the future – both physically and from a legal standpoint. So why ruin your chances when you’re only just getting started? Ready to safely take to the wheel of a new car? We offer a range of leasing options for young drivers. Get in touch with our specialists today