5 first drives for a new driver
We sat down with a few newly passed young drivers a little while back and had a bit of a chat about how they felt after their test. Obviously, they were pretty stoked that they were now fully fledged motorists with the ability to jump into their (properly insured and taxed) car and drive to their heart's content.
But - drive where..?
Something that came up a lot when we spoke to our fully licensed friends was that they were struggling for ideas of where to go and what to do with their new-found freedom, or were feeling a little overwhelmed at the idea of long trips.
The first few weeks and months driving on your full licence, you need to gradually build up confidence. Jumping on the motorway and driving across the country is best saved until you're comfortable with your car and driving 'unsupervised', how it handles in different conditions, and taking passengers.
So, if you're all parked up with nowhere to go, or just want a few ideas of how to get a few driving feathers in your cap, here's a few tips for taking to the tarmac and making the most of your new freedom.
Just around the block
Obvious, right? But you'd be amazed at how many people don't think to do it.
There's nothing quite like driving around on your own after passing your test (you'll probably feel like someone's going to call you out as an imposter any minute), and since you'll be driving streets that you know like the back of your hand, it’ll be a great confidence-booster.
Just keep in mind that you're new to this. Yeah, you just passed your driving test, but you're still learning how to be a good driver. It's actually something that you never really stop learning.
To a friend's house
Something you'll quickly learn to love is that if you want to nip over to a friend's house, you no longer have to hang around waiting for a parent or older sibling for a lift - you can go whenever you want. (My favourite thing is that you get to LEAVE whenever you want too...)
Whether you're just going over to watch the latest episode of The Walking Dead, have a 'study date' (vom), or if one of you needs consoling after smashing the latest iPhone, you'll be able to get there in style.
One thing - it might be best to hold off on giving all your friends lifts until you've comfortably got a few hours of solo-driving under your belt.
Remember those days when you had to WALK places, like, with your actual feet? Well, not anymore!
Even a quick jaunt down to the shops just became a far drier experience. Just remember to take some coins in case you need to park up somewhere.
You also need to take care - a wet road is a potentially dangerous road, so make sure your headlights are on, drive a little slower, increase your following distance, and take your time. Knowing your car's demister, fog lights and headlight controls BEFORE getting into a situation is also an essential.
Getting experience in all weathers is a big priority and you need to challenge yourself to tackle it. Just make sure you take it easy.
Giving the folks a lift
This is a gesture that will go a long way. After all, the splendid people who raised you are probably also the ones that helped you pass your test, so ask if they need a lift somewhere.
Driving with your parents in the car can be a little daunting, but since you're literally in the driver's seat, you're in charge - so don't be afraid to tell them that you need to concentrate on the road if they start interfering.
Another side of this is going to see your grandparents. While that might have involved hours of sitting trapped in an armchair being force-fed stale biscuits in the past, now you can do regular 'just popping in' visits with no guilt and no entrapment.
They'll be so chuffed, and chuffed grandparents are always good for a fiver. Not that you should need bribing, but...
Helping out with odd-jobs
Whether it's picking up a relative from the train station, giving a sibling a lift to some event, or helping mum out by running to the shops- you owe them, man.
Any little errands that generally make life that bit easier will not only be appreciated, but will give you a great reason to jump in the car and take it out for a spin. (It can also be a great way to avoid other stuff you don't want to do - WIN.)
Taking these quick jaunts around your local area will also help you build up your driving confidence and give you the chance to practise dreadful things like parallel parking in front of THAT hair dressers. Face your fears!
Once you feel comfortable with this kind of unplanned, jump-in-the-car type driving, venturing out further and on longer drives will be an absolute breeze.