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Learning to Drive? 5 Tips for New Drivers

After a recent change in UK laws, learner drivers will no longer have to wait until passing their test to practice motorway driving.

The argument for this was that new drivers should be able to gain crucial motorway miles before they hit the road independently, as this could potentially help prevent accidents and save lives.

But what else should new drivers know, practise or be aware of before hitting the road on their own? Here are five road safety tips that every new driver should know:

  1. Plan Ahead

Many of us are guilty of just hopping in the car without thinking about the best way to get from A to B – but a simple bit of preparation can save you hassle, stress, time and petrol.

Use a Sat Nav or a map to work out your route in advance, that way you will be fully prepared for the drive and how long it will take. Similarly, if you’re going to be using your car to get to work or university, make sure to do a test route when you have time on your side.

It may sound silly, but if you’re still getting used to your new car, make sure to get your first petrol experience out of the way on a day when you’re not in a rush to get somewhere!

  1. Always Check Tyre Pressure And Oil Levels

It’s sensible to make a habit of checking your tyre pressure regularly (every two-four weeks), as properly inflated tyres last longer and make driving much safer. It’s also advised you check your oil levels at least once a month to ensure your car continues to run smoothly.

How to check your tyres:

To check your tyres you’ll need a tyre-pressure gauge, which you can buy from most car shops. The first step is to find the tyre valve and unscrew the cap. Next, push the tyre pressure gauge and you’ll be able to check the pressure readout and compare it against your car’s recommended figure. If the numbers don’t match up, remove the gauge and pump up the tyre.

How to check your oil levels:

To check your oil levels, you’ll need to make sure your car is on level ground. With the engine off, open the car’s bonnet and find the dipstick (most cars make the dipstick easy to spot by making the handle brightly coloured). Next, remove the dipstick and give it a wipe clean, reinsert it, and then remove it one more time. This time there will be two marks on the dipstick to show the optimum level that your oil should be – and your oil shouldn’t need topping up until it’s at the lowest mark on the dipstick.

  1. Always Check Your Blind Spot and Mirrors

A blind spot is an area that can’t be seen when you are looking ahead or when you’re checking your mirrors.

Failure to check your car’s blind spot during your driving test is an instant fail – so it’s super important for you to know where the blind spots are on your own vehicle as well as other drivers’ vehicles.

While you’re driving, make sure to check your blind spots when you’re changing lanes, joining a motorway or a dual carriageway, or when traffic is merging from the left or the right.

  1. Get To Know Your Car – Inside, Out

Don’t leave figuring out how to use your fog lights until the day you drive into thick fog! It’s really important to spend some time sitting in your parked car, getting to grips with all the controls.

Figure out what all the dashboard lights mean, work out how to adjust your seat and the temperature, find the hazard light button, and learn how to control your radio. It sounds like obvious stuff, but trying to figure out how to adjust your controls while driving is extremely distracting and could cause an accident.

  1. Get Yourself a GPS Car Tracker

The risk of crashing is much higher for young drivers than any other age group*. It’s really important therefore that Learners or young drivers drive with caution, and are alerted if they could improve their driving – which is where V-Auto by Vodafone comes in handy…

The V-Auto by Vodafone device lets you know how safely you’re driving, providing a Driving Safety Score after each journey, critiquing your driving skills and providing data on your driving skills. The car tracking device also has an SOS feature, which detects if you have been in a serious collision in the UK (in an area that’s covered by our network), and a trained agent will call to check if you need us to request roadside assistance or the emergency services.

As well as helping you drive as safely and confidently as can be, V-Auto by Vodafone also works as a GPS car tracker – helpful if you’ve got a habit of forgetting where you parked your car!

*http://www.brake.org.uk/slower-speeds-save-lives/15-facts-a-resources/facts/488-young-drivers-the-hard-facts

**V-Auto by Vodafone car tracking device connects straight to the Vodafone network via a V-Sim by Vodafone and is activated and accessible via a smartphone vehicle tracking app (available on both iOS and Android and, for both Vodafone and non-Vodafone customers). It is compatible with most cars made after 2003 – please click here to see if your car is eligible.

A one-time purchase fee of £85 applies and the subscription is just £4/month. Terms apply. For full functionality: a 30-day V-Sim plan, Vodafone network coverage and GPS signal are required. Auto SOS only works in your home country and not when you’re abroad. View the full terms and details at https://shop.v.vodafone.com.

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