Saturday, 29 August 2015

My First Car & Tips For New Drivers!

Okay, so, September will mark 4 years since I passed my driving test, eek! Boy does that make me feel old. I can still remember just how elated and happy I was when I found out I'd passed (especially because it was my 4th time, lols) so I thought I'd just tell you a little bit about my first car and experiences of driving as well as sharing some useful tips for any first time drivers out there...

Although I passed my test in September 2011, 4th time lucky and all that, I didn't actually get my first car until the following June. I'd just finished my first year of uni and came home to find a red Ford KA (who was later named KArly, bless) sat on the driveway.

"Erm, who's is that car?" I asked my Dad, curiously, since I didn't know anyone who drove one like that. When he replied with "It's yours", I think I nearly had a heart attack. It was just such a surprise and I wasn't expecting it at all. As you can imagine, now I had my first set of wheels, I was super excited to get on the road. However, 9 months of not driving since passing my test had left my driving skills slightly rusty, to say the least. I ended up stalling every 20 seconds and my Dad genuinely questioned whether or not I had really passed my test. Thanks, Dad. Obviously, I got the hang of it eventually and I've since upgraded to a purple Peugeot 107 but my first few months of driving were definitely the most stressful. So I just wanted to share a few things I learnt that may help out other new drivers out there...

1) Always get the details of anyone you are involved in an accident/incident with 
If you're a new driver, it's scary to think that you could be involved in an accident or any kind of driving incident really but, unfortunately, it happens. After having my car less than a month, I was leaving work and someone drove straight into me at a roundabout. There were no witnesses and no cameras - just me and the girl driving the other car. At the time, I was absolutely terrified and ended up apologising to the girl thinking it was my fault as I was a new driver. But, it wasn't at all. I ended up just giving her my name and number and when she eventually got in contact days later and I told her that it clearly wasn't my fault - as she should have given way to me at the roundabout - she went quiet. I never heard from her again and had to fund the damages myself as I didn't know anything about her other than her first name. Lesson learned.

2) Practise, practise, practise!
Yes, you have passed your test but the real learning doesn't properly kick until you're actually on the road on your own. You have no instructor beside you to help out if you make a mistake so the responsibility to keep yourself - and others - safe on the road is completely down to you. Scary stuff, huh? All I can say is to practise as much as possible. I went out with my Dad in the car loads before I finally went out on my own to help ease my way into driving a bit more gently and that definitely helped a lot!

3) Don't be embarrassed by mistakes
Of course you are going to make mistakes in your first few months of driving. Even people who have been driving 20+ years will make mistakes on the road - it happens! But, as a new driver, you'll probably make mistakes more often and it's important to not let these mistakes make you feel embarrassed. So what if you stall at a traffic light and hold up a few other cars? Just try and rectify the mistake as quickly as you can without getting worked up over it.

4) Check your tyres
My first car was 10 years old when I got it, so, ensuring everything was running smoothly often was essential. Some underlying problems may not be obvious and are best left to the professionals to look at but tyres are something anyone can check. If they're looking a bit worse for wear, it might be worth getting new ones. No-one wants to spend a lot of money on tyres so check out Point-S Car Tyre Dealer to get the best deal. All you have to do is type in your reg number and they'll show you the type you need and the nearest places to get them. This is definitely easier than trawling around local garages trying to find the right tyre as you're worse-for-wear tyre is slowly deflating along the way!

5) Don't let bumps/knocks/accidents knock your confidence
As I mentioned above, I had a bump within my first month of driving. After getting it fixed, I also managed to scrape a wall again a couple of weeks after. I'm a clumsy Clara, I know. These two incidents really got me down and kind of put me off driving - so much so that I won't drive anywhere I haven't been to before. I've never driven on a motorway and I'll rarely drive any further than about 10 miles. That's in 4 years of driving! I'm determined to get more confident with driving and venture further now but I just wish I hadn't let those silly bumps knock my confidence so much when I was younger.

Do you have any tips for new drivers? What were your first few months of driving like?

*This is a collaborative post but all words and opinions are my own, as always.

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