By: RICHARD GLADMAN
Many new drivers will take to the road this summer after successfully passing their driving tests. You may have some hiccups along the way and not know how best to cope. Statistics show that the first six months of solo driving are when you are most at risk.
This week’s tips give advice to new drivers from IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards, Richard Gladman.
• Say yes to the ‘P’ plates. These green ‘probationary’ P plates show other road users you are a new driver. Most people are a little more patient when they see them. They are not a necessity but you can leave them on your vehicle for as long as you think you need them
• Keep calm. Remember you have passed your test and proven you are capable of driving on the road. Being a new driver means you are bound to make a few mistakes here and there, remember to remain calm and accept that mistakes happen – how you deal with them can sometimes make all the difference to the outcome
• Drive solo. Driving with friends in the car can cause you to be distracted and make it much harder to concentrate on what is going on outside the car. If you do drive with your friends in the car make sure they understand you need to concentrate and the distraction they could be. It is a good idea to do a few trips on your own or limit the people you take with you for the first few journeys
• Put your phone on silent, out of sight and reach – making the glove box your ‘phone box’ is a good idea. Remember using a hand held mobile phone while driving is an offence which carries a six point penalty – so it’s straight back to learner status and another test if you get caught in your first two years of driving
• Get some more experience. Try driving in all weathers, on all kinds of roads and at all times, and if you are still lacking in confidence or feel that you need to top up your skills then consider some additional training. You can always book an advanced driving course to brush up on your skills and take them to a different level
Richard said: “You have proven yourself competent to drive but please remember that is the first step. Pass Plus with your driving instructor or one of IAM RoadSmart’s new modules may help your confidence in areas you find tricky. If you are unsure of anything have the confidence to ask, experienced drivers will always share their knowledge.”
Richard Gladman is IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards, UK