The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on driving tests is still being felt today, as uptake of new tests remains below pre-pandemic levels. However, of those that did take a test in the 2020-21 period, more than 55% passed – the highest pass rate since 2014.
If you have recently passed your driving test, you will be among the first new drivers on UK roads since the easing of restrictions. What follow are some useful pieces of advice to ensure you use the roads comfortably and safely.
Ease In to Driving Alone
Driving is a nerve-wracking process for new drivers, and the same is true even after you pass your test. It is easy to take the presence of another experienced driver for granted when taking lessons, but you’ll no doubt feel the fear when you find yourself in a car alone for the first time.
Rather than putting yourself into a stressful situation right away, you should ease yourself in to driving alone. Bring an experienced driver friend or family member with you on excursions, and take small solo journeys in familiar areas to get used to driving unaccompanied.
Consider Additional Lessons
If you are still feeling particularly anxious about navigating the roads as a new driver, one strong option could be to take additional lessons with a driving instructor. Just because you’ve passed your test doesn’t mean you can no longer receive instruction; indeed, a short run of lessons after you pass can help you internalise correct driving habits. There are even advanced driving courses you can take, which can help you become a more diligent driver and help you discover your courage on the road.
As a new driver, you might be tempted to indulge in a brand-new reliable car as you become daily driver. However, new cars can be prohibitively expensive, especially in the event of an accident – which, as a new driver, you are unfortunately more likely to suffer. As such, it makes more sense to opt for a used car as your first vehicle. Used cars are cheaper up-front, and can often be cheaper to repair if a common and reliable model.
Keep Your Focus on the Road
Though it doesn’t happen to everyone, some new drivers are prone to get complacent following their driving test pass. Having achieved the pass, they can quickly lose the focus they gained during lessons and settle into poor driving habits as a result. You should actively keep yourself focused when driving, in order not to reinforce bad habits.
As a key example, new changes to the highway code have introduced a road user hierarchy, which directly places cyclists and pedestrians above other road users; the changes also include new guidelines on where cyclists can safely travel on UK roads. Without paying proper attention to the road, cyclists taking advantage of the changes to the code could be put in serious danger.