Get to know your car
Chances are, you’ve only ever driven your instructor’s car, so getting your own set of wheels is more than a little exciting. Take time to get to know your car (name it if you want to), and then figure out what all the buttons do, where your fog lights are and how to pop the petrol cap. Believe us when we say, that one is harder than it seems and there’s nothing worse than parking up and being unable to figure it out in front of a queue of impatient drivers on the forecourt. Don't worry; we've all been there.
Save money on petrol
Once you have figured out how to fill up your car, you’ll want to make that tank last as long as possible – petrol isn’t cheap. There are several things you can do to get as many miles out of it as possible.
Speeding, rapid acceleration, and hard braking are all ways in which to use up more petrol. We’re not suggesting you drive at a snail's pace but put some mellow music on and channel the vibe.
Watch your speed
According to The AA, if you drive consistently at 60mph you’ll use up to 9% less fuel than if you drove at 70mph. You’ll get to the cinema that bit slower, but you may be able to treat your date to their ticket.
Windows vs air con
If you are travelling at low speeds (think around town), then opening your windows or sunroof is the best way to save fuel – just make sure you’re playing something credible on your stereo. However, if you’re driving at 60mph and over, close your windows and use the air-con, you’ll save more money that way.
Making sure your tyres are properly inflated is a simple way to increase your fuel efficiency. You’ll need to pay around 50p to inflate your tyres at certain petrol stations but at others, it’s free. Not sure where to find out your car’s recommended tyre pressure? Take a look in your manual (usually in the glove box) or search online.
Make short journeys
There’s nothing like that feeling when you first pass your test, but boy does it feel weird to suddenly be in the driving seat without your driving instructor next to you. The open road awaits but it’s a little daunting. Take things slowly; the road trip to Cornwall can wait. Try pootling around town or driving to your best friend’s house. Familiar roads are the way to go, for a little while at least.
Your newfound freedom is so exciting but you’re not a Grand Prix driver just yet. Think cinema etiquette – phones off, limited chatting to your neighbour and keeping your eyes ahead. That doesn’t mean you can have your hand in a box of popcorn, but you get the gist.
If you were lucky enough to have your driving lessons on those few dry days of the year, the prospect of setting off into horizontal rain, howling wind and the rest of the UK’s adverse weather conditions, might be a bit much. But we hate to say it, that’s the only way you’re going to get used to driving in the UK. From increased braking distances, reduced grip and decreased visibility, there’s plenty to get a handle on. Trying to make the journey when you’re late for a date is just stressful, so practice going out when you’ve got nothing more than a Netflix binge planned. You’ll thank us later.
Drink and drugs
You’ve got serious kudos for being the first one to pass your driving test but don’t let it go to your head. As much as you want to drive your friends everywhere, practice driving solo for a bit first - stalling without an audience is much less embarrassing than with one.
Pass Plus course
I’ve just passed my test, why would I want MORE lessons, we hear you cry! OK, it’s not the most exciting prospect, but the Pass Plus course covers all of those potentially nerve-wracking experiences (think at night and motorways) you only get as a qualified driver, when your instructor is no longer with you. Better still, there’s no test at the end, you’re assessed throughout and pass by reaching the required standard for each module.
The serious bit…
Remember, as a new driver, you will lose your licence if you get six or more points within two years of passing your test. If this does happen, you’ll need to apply for a provisional licence again and retake both your theory and practical driving tests. Nightmare.
That’s where our black box insurance, SMART WHEELS, comes in. You can track how well you’re driving through the app and online dashboard. Plus, as well as keeping yourself and other road users safe on the road, driving safely could earn you a discount at renewal.