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Driving alone for the first time: dos and don’ts

If you are reading this, there’s a good chance you’ve just passed your test. If so, congratulations! You can put the L-plates in the bin and prepare for driving alone for the first time.

You should get a real kick out of driving solo, but you’ll probably be a little nervous too. Here’s what to do – and what not to do – the first few times you drive alone…

Do…

  • Put P-plates on the car. That way other drivers will know that you are new to driving, and should be more patient.
  • Start with short trips. Get used to driving alone with local journeys, ideally on roads you know.
  • Avoid distractions. Driving alone for the first time is hard enough without them. So keep the radio off for that first solo drive, and don’t be tempted to take a mate with you. That way you can concentrate and ease yourself into driving alone gently.
  • Make sure you are properly insured. A black box policy is almost always best for someone starting out as a new driver.
  • Take your licence with you. If you are pulled over you will be able to prove you are a fully qualified driver.

Don’t…

  • Go too far too soon. The day after you pass your test is not the time for an epic road trip! Get used to being on your own and build your confidence first.
  • Take lots of friends in the car. Mates can be a distraction you don’t need when you are driving alone for the first time.
  • Use your phone. Switch it to a ‘do not disturb’ mode you won’t be distracted by a message or call.
  • Get carried away. You may be on your own, but it can help to imagine your instructor is next to you. If you wouldn’t drive a certain way with your instructor in the car, don’t do it when driving solo.

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