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Driving tips and other life stuff

Driving like a granny – the black box myth

My granny drives a silver soft-top MG. She’s never done a parallel park in her life, she avoids turning right at junctions and when I asked her about using her mirrors, she told me "Oh, I just hope for the best!"

A lot of older drivers never had to undertake the rigorous testing new drivers face today - so why do we always associate 'safe' driving with grannies?

Good driving doesn't mean boring driving

Although my granny would be very miffed if you told her she was a boring driver (and seriously, she isn't - she's TERRIFYING), for some reason, we have it in our heads that if you're not speeding and doing wheel spins, you're somehow a granny.

You know what? 70% of ingenie drivers get a discount because they're not driving like morons. It's not that they're crawling around the place at 20mph - they're just driving well most of the time.

Does having black box car insurance mean you have to drive like a granny? No. Good driving is all we're after.

What does good driving look like?

  1. Anticipation

    Your driving test wasn't about how well you operate a machine (though that stuff is pretty necessary); it was to make sure you could keep yourself and other road users safe.

    The number one skill to driving: being aware of potential hazards (there's a car poking out of that driveway, is it going to pull out?) so you can make a plan to avoid it if it turns into an immediate hazard.

  2. Concentration

    In theory, anything that's not driving is a distraction while you're driving. We all know there are other things we do in the car - changing the radio station, taking a slurp of our coffee - but it's important to recognise when something's becoming a dangerous distraction.

    In your early years of driving, when not everyone you know has a car, that dangerous distraction is pretty likely to be your friends. Lovely though I'm sure they are, too many noisy people in one small car is a disaster waiting to happen. I'm not saying you shouldn't have mates in the car - I'm saying it's your job to tell them to STFU when necessary!

    If you find yourself being the designated driver all the time, here's how to cope.

    And it wouldn't be a lecture about distracted driving if we didn't talk about phones. You know, I know and your dog knows: phones at the wheel are hideously, shockingly, disturbingly dangerous. Don't do it.

  3. Confidence

    What most people think confident driving is: charging along at 70, weaving in and out of traffic and bombing it around corners. What confident driving actually is: not feeling pressured to do that stuff.

    Refusing to speed or compete when someone's tailgating you. Telling a friend to back off when they want you to do something stupid. THAT is driving confidence.

    Need one our our car stickers to tell other drivers to give you some space? Just email [email protected].
  4. Consideration

    A bit of old fashioned politeness. So much about being on the road is frustrating and it's easy to go from zero to PISSED OFF in 5 seconds. But getting mad just gets us into trouble.

    Keep some perspective. Think about when you've had a really bad day and someone's beeped at you for taking too long at a roundabout or accidentally cutting them up. The driver who's just riled you up? This could be their bad day.

      Back Me Up gadget insurance with ingenie  

    We all make mistakes, we all do things without thinking about how they will affect other people. No one can say they're the perfect driver, so we need to remember to cut each other some slack on the road. And let people out of junctions sometimes. Karma!

  5. Adaptability

    No road is the same every day. Weather, school timetable, crops, events, road works - everything is changing all the time.

    If you drive the same route every day, it's so easy to slip into a comfy autopilot.

    Autopilot is what causes you to hit that car pulling out of a driveway you've never even noticed. Autopilot is what causes you to juuuuust clip the £100k Bentley in front of you because you've never seen stopped traffic round this bend before. Autopilot is what causes fatal crashes every day, when the driver's done nothing wrong but let themselves get too comfy.

You're not a granny but you're not Lewis Hamilton either

If you're a newish driver, you're probably in quite a small car. Trying to push it to do more than it's capable of will only damage it and lower its resale value.

You don't have to drive like your nan (please, please don't drive like your nan) but driving like you're trying to prove something isn't going to do you or your car any favours.

Need help with your ingenie speed feedback? We've got you.


By

Honor joined ingenie in 2014 and is in charge of words on the Young Driver's Guide and blog. Her first car is a Peugeot 206 cabriolet, which is a very sensible choice for the British climate. Follow her on .

  • jb

    With a black box with this insurer, will I be allowed to drive quickly at my local race track?

    • Hi JB,

      We don’t cover driving on private tracks I’m afraid. Sorry!

      Honor

      • jb

        Am I allowed to drive on private racetracks without insurance then?

        • Hi JB,

          Our insurance doesn’t cover you to drive on private racetracks as you probably know. If you go on a private racecourse in cars that belong to the track, you don’t need extra insurance. However, any car you own has to be taxed and insured at all times unless it’s declared off the road (SORN).

          Basically, unless the car is provided by the track, you need to be insured.

          Honor

  • Gemma Rose

    help!! ive got a 1.2 clio and i stall CONSTANTLY! is this going to affect my insurance?

    • Hi Gemma,

      Sorry to hear that – sounds like you might have given yourself a bit of a phobia and you’re psyching yourself out! Try driving around your neighbourhood practising moving off and pulling over so you get a bit more confident. Then do some hill starts. Just don’t start avoiding things because that’s when it will turn into a real problem! I can tell you that from experience because I passed a year ago and I still haven’t done a parallel park. Fail.

      If you’re with ingenie, your insurance won’t be affected by stalling. If you’re going slow enough to stall, it’s not likely you’d get bad braking feedback because you haven’t suddenly slowed down. If you do want to check, email us at [email protected] and we’ll take a look at your data for you.

      Good luck, and remember you can always talk to us on Twitter or Facebook if you need help.

      Honor