The 9 things all first-time drivers need to know
Ah, that open road, freedom, your own set of wheels...it feels amazing when you pass your test and can finally drive on your own! But the first six months can also be a dangerous time for newly-qualified drivers, who are far more likely to have an accident than any other kind of driver. But it doesn't have to be this way. So long as you follow some basic safety precautions, rookie drivers can keep their motors and driving record perfectly intact. Happy driving!
1. Check your blind spot
You didn't see that vehicle coming, eh? The blind spot has that name for a good reason. It's the area between what you see as you look ahead and what you see in your exterior mirror, or else the areas obscured by the bodywork of your car when you look in mirrors. Each vehicle has different blind spots, so always look over your shoulder before turning, changing lanes or setting off.
2. Get lane smart
When you join a road, adjust your speed to match the other vehicles around you—except those that are breaking the speed limit of course! Make sure you're in the right lane for the speed you feel most comfortable with and always indicate if you're changing lanes.
3. Understand your vehicle's safety requirements
You may well have to submit your vehicle for safety checks at least once a year to ensure it's fit for the roads. Put a reminder in your calendar and don't be afraid to get your car checked out if anything feels odd.
4. Avoid driving late at night
Poor visibility, tiredness...there are lots of good reasons why driving late at night is a bad idea. Take a taxi or bus after dark if you can.
5. Don't drive with multiple passengers
Being able to give your friends a lift seems like a big bonus of driving, but accidents are more likely to occur if you have disruptive passengers in the backseat!
6. Stick to familiar routes and shorter journeys
Stick to your home area, keep your trips short and don't take on long-distance driving duties for the time being.
7. Leave your phone on silent
Even hand-free calls can be distracting, so keep your phone at a distance in the car. Most smartphones now have a Do Not Disturb feature so that there's no chance of it ringing or buzzing while you're on the road.
8. Keep distractions at bay
Putting on make-up while waiting at traffic lights, checking your hair in the mirror, picking new tunes to play out of the stereo...multi-tasking may be a lifesaver at other times, but always a terrible idea in cars! Keep your eyes on the road and away from any distractions. You also need to have all your senses available—sight AND hearing—so leave the headphones at home. Loud music and a distracting radio show or podcast could stop you hearing another car beeping or a pedestrian shouting at you to stop.
9. Be prepared for everything
Now that you have all the tips and information you need to be the safest driver around, there's always the chance that circumstances outside of your control might strike. Even if you stick to well-known short routes and avoid driving at night, it's handy to have a trusted partner on hand who can help in emergencies, such as EA's roadside assistance. This service evolves with changing technology and is always working to use the latest innovations in its solutions.