Taking to the road by yourself after passing your test can be an exciting yet daunting experience. While you were once cruising along with the reassurance that your instructor had safety pedals in case of an emergency, it’s now completely down to you to control the car, adding a great deal of pressure to the driving experience.
But fear not, every new driver goes through this experience and armed with some top tips, you’ll soon be on your way to driving comfortably and confidently in no time. Below, we’ll take a look at 5 ways to increase your confidence behind the wheel when you have just started driving.
Know your car
One of the most important ways to feel comfortable as a new driver is to know your car and where/what all of the settings are in it. No one wants to start driving and then suddenly discover they don’t know where the windscreen wipers are when it starts to pour down, and more so, this could be quite dangerous.
Before you set off, be sure to memorise where the essentials are from your front and main beam lights, to hazard and fog lights, indicators, front and back windscreen wipers and hand brake/ hold button if you have one.
It’s also important to know how to control your radio and air conditioning settings so that these don’t distract you while you are driving.
Be maintenance savvy
Knowing how to maintain your car is another burden lifted when driving as you will be confident in your abilities to handle any situation that arises while driving. It’s important to have all of your insurance details, emergency contact numbers and a pen and notepad in your car, just in case an accident does happen.
In addition, be sure to know the basics of how to handle things like your oil being low, the windscreen wiper fluid needing to be topped up or how to deal with a flat tyre when you’re due a new set of wheels from brands such as Mickey Thompson. You don’t necessarily need to do it yourself but knowing where to seek help in these situations will make you feel much better.
Practice, practice, practice
It can be tempting to stick to one place when you first begin driving, but try to step outside of your comfort zone and explore new streets or neighbourhoods daily to build up your confidence in new areas.
It’s important to expose yourself to as many new situations such as crossroads, unfamiliar roundabouts, and junctions as possible in order to get used to how they work and build up your driving skills.
Before you know it, you’ll feel confident driving in new and built-up areas and be able to handle traffic like a pro.
Keep up good practices
Once you’re no longer in the car with a driving instructor, it could be tempting to take on bad habits that you’ve seen other drivers do such as using one hand on the wheel, going over speed limits or not checking your mirrors frequently. While it can be easy to pick up these habits, it can take a lifetime to get rid of them again so it’s best to try not to use them in the first place.
By sticking to good driving habits, you’ll feel more confident in your driving abilities and not have to worry about watching over your shoulder in case law enforcement pulls you over.
Take necessary breaks
Remember that as a new driver, you’ll be investing more concentration and energy into the drive than usual so don’t be tempted to push yourself too much. It’s best to stick to shorter journeys or take regular breaks if you’re going on a long drive, and slowly build yourself up to doing more as you get more familiar with the roads.
Overall, life as a new driver can be intimidating, but by following the above advice for safe driving, you’ll be sure to build up your confidence and become a driving pro in no time at all.