If you aren’t driving already, chances are you’re considering it. The year 2020 has seen more people become determined to get on the roads independently than ever. Sure, public transport is great but during a worldwide pandemic, people are more reluctant to share confined spaces on transport with strangers and would prefer to travel around in their own little bubble.
Now, getting onto the roads is going to be a relatively long and costly journey. But all in all, it’s worth it. Not only is it a potentially safer way to travel during the pandemic, but it gives you all sorts of freedom. You don’t have to rely on public transport timetables. You can travel through the night. You can get to more remote locations that don’t have public transport stops. The list goes on! Learning to drive is definitely a skill worth having, and a car is an asset that’s definitely worth investing in. So, let’s go through a few steps that you’re likely to find yourself taking on this journey!
Pass your test
The first thing you need to do to get on the roads is to pass your driving test. The first step in this journey is to apply for a provisional license, which will allow you to then drive on the roads with a driving instructor. When you’ve found a quality driving instructor with plenty of good reviews and recommendations, they will teach you how to drive!
This will take place through lessons where they will guide you through how to operate a car, how to navigate the roads, what different signs mean, and various other skills that you will need to get from A to B safely. You will then take a theory test – which tests your knowledge of the roads and hazard perception. Once you’ve passed this, you can then put in for your practical driving test. Don’t be disheartened if you don’t pass the first time – the majority of people don’t. But you will get there and you’ll finally be able to drive away with your pass certificate!
Consider extra courses
If you’re still feeling nervous on the roads and like you need some extra lessons once you’ve passed your test, you’ll be happy to know that there are plenty of extra driving courses that you can take. These can give you supervised driving practice, as well as introducing you to driving on motorways. Plus, these courses can help you to reduce your insurance premium when you do get a car!
Choose a car
Once you’ve passed your test, you can start looking for a car. There are countless factors that will determine which car you ultimately choose. Some major factors, besides the general look and feel of the car, include:
- Safety – while most new cars are safe, it’s still worth checking the safety rating of any car you’re considering buying. If you’re considering a classic car, bear in mind that you may need to make many modifications to ensure that it is roadworthy and safe to drive.
- Size – what will you be using your car for? Do you just need a small city car to commute to work and get to the shops or events? Or do you need a car that can accommodate kids, pets, or transport large objects? Size can make a huge difference in how practical a car is for you!
- Features – all sorts of cars have all sorts of features. Some have specialist wheels and tyres. Some have soft tops. Some have heated seats. Some have particularly good sound systems. Make sure to check out all of a car’s features before buying to make sure that it ticks all of your boxes.
Make sure you have everything you need in your car
There are a number of things that every driver should have in their car to make every journey as safe and problem-free as possible. Make sure to have the following in your vehicle. Each item could come in extremely useful at some point or another:
- A warning triangle – a warning triangle is a reflective triangle that can be placed several meters behind your car if you break down. This can warn oncoming traffic that your car is stationary in the road ahead.
- Jump leads – if you ever experience a flat battery, you’ll need a pair of jump leads and the help of someone else with a car to get your engine started again.
- A first aid kit – every car should have a standard first aid kit. You never know when it might come in useful!
Get to know your vehicle
It’s highly unlikely that you’ll choose the same make and model vehicle as your driving instructor when you buy your own car. So, seeing as every car is different, you need to make sure that you take a moment to get used to the new vehicle before driving any distance in it. Get to know where different controls are – such as the headlights, fog lights, windscreen wipers, demisters, heating, aircon, and more. Also, get to know the satellite navigation system of the vehicle if it comes with one. This will help you to know where everything is before you get driving. You don’t want to find yourself driving in heavy rain before you know where the windscreen wipers are, for example.
- Continue improving your driving skills – Once you’ve started driving, you’ll realize that driving is a constant learning curve. You’ll constantly learn new things while you’re on the road, so make sure to keep expanding your skills and knowledge. This will all help to make you a better driver each time you head out on the road. So never stop improving! Here are some steps that you can take to achieve this!
- Acknowledge mistakes and poor driving – We all make mistakes from time to time. So, it’s important that you are hyper-aware of your own driving and that you acknowledge any mistakes that you do make. Take note and make sure not to make the same mistake again. Identifying and rectifying mistakes that could potentially lead to larger issues and incidents on the roads can prevent larger issues and incidents from occurring down the line.
- Be prepared for incidents – It’s also important that you know exactly what to do in a road incident. Hopefully, you never find yourself in one. But it’s important to remember that no matter how safe a driver you may be, others’ irresponsible behavior, wildlife, adverse weather conditions, and various other factors can all result in you finding yourself in an accident that is well beyond your control. Knowing what to do when something goes wrong on the roads can really help you should such a situation arise. If you do ever find yourself in a road incident or collision of some sort, it’s absolutely essential that you follow steps to rectify the situation:
- Stop your vehicle
- If possible, check whether others involved are okay
- If necessary, call for medical help and provide medical assistance until professionals arrive
- Collect insurance details from other parties involved
- Note car makes, models, registration plates, and any other relevant information
- Note the time and date of the incident
As you can see, there really is a lot to bear in mind when it comes to getting on the road independently. But all in all, your efforts will pay off. Having a car provides you with a whole lot of freedom that can really prove life-changing!