So, you’ve passed your driving test and all you want to do is get out on the road to take your new-found freedom for a spin. As exciting as taking to the road alone for the first time is, it can also be pretty daunting.
After having sat next to your driving instructor and parents for the past few months whilst learning, it’s only natural to feel a little nervous about flying solo in the driver’s seat.
Driving alone will take a bit of getting used to, but these tips are designed to help make the transition from learner to driver run a little smoother.
Avoid the rush
The last thing you want to do on your first drive alone is run into rush hour traffic or find yourself queuing in a mile long jam. Find a time to go out when it won’t be too busy and, for your first drive, choose a route you know well.
As you build confidence, you’ll want to try driving further afield and in busier areas, but sticking to somewhere you know for your very first drive is a good way to ease your nerves.
Use P Plates
It’s not obligatory for all new drivers to use P Plates, but many opt to use them for their first few weeks or months on the road. P Plates are designed to let other drivers know that, although you’re qualified to be on the road, you’re still building up your experience and confidence behind the wheel.
Having P Plates on your vehicle might make you comfortable about going out on your first solo drive. Let other drivers know that you’re new on the road and they should be more considerate if you make any mistakes or are slightly hesitant.
Whether or not you use P Plates is entirely up to you, but why not try using them to see if it makes a difference to your experience on the road?
Don’t forget to fuel up
Your first drive won’t too run smoothly if you forget to fill the car up. Your driving instructor may well have taken you through how to fill your tank up, but take someone with you to guide you through how to do it if they haven’t.
Make sure you’ve got plenty of fuel for your drive and don’t forget to use the right fuel for your vehicle! It sounds simple enough, but having to repair your car after using the wrong fuel can cost you a small fortune.
Tell someone where you’re going
Before you leave, let someone know where you’re going and roughly when you plan to be back. If you’re only going round the block, this may seem a little unnecessary, but it may put your family and friends’ minds at ease. After all, they’re bound to be a little nervous about you going it alone too.
Finally, don’t panic if you get lost
If you’ve planned where you’re going beforehand and know the area well, it’s unlikely that you’ll get lost on your first solo drive. If you do though, don’t panic. Pull over somewhere safely and check a map or GPS system to help you get your bearings.
It’s a good idea to make sure you’ve got a charged up phone, a map or even a sat nav with you for your first drive. Just make sure you don’t get distracted by a sat nav whilst you’re still trying to get to grips with being on the road.
This article was written by Sarah-H