The Learner Driver’s Guide To Driving Safely
It’s no doubt an exciting time - getting behind the wheel of a car, that glimpse of independence, knowing that soon you’ll have the freedom to drive when and where you want, sans mum or dad!
However, learning to drive is also a time where you should exert a lot of caution. Driving is no joke - you could injure yourself or others, seriously - especially now that learner drivers in the UK are allowed to drive on the motorway.
Indeed, in most recent years in the UK, there have been just shy of 2,000 fatalities on the roads (Source) annually. That’s not to mention the tens of thousands of people who are each year injured - ranging from bruises and broken bones to life-altering and catastrophic injuries.
Of course, sometimes accidents just can’t be avoided - it’s the nature of using a vehicle on a busy street, in our increasingly busy lives. Often though, they can be. Once you are a licensed driver (and of course also when you’re a learner) it is your responsibility to drive as carefully and safely as possible.
Here our are top tips for Learner Drivers...
• Always check your blind spots!
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again - you never know what can be lurking in that tiny little spot. It’s so easy to miss a motorcyclist, cyclist or even a car that has just snuck up on you while you were focusing on the road ahead. Even if you’re driving at the dead of night or on a normally deserted road, take one second to turn your head and check! You should always check your blind spot before: pulling out from the kerb; parking or leaving a parked position; doing a three-point turn; merging with other traffic; turning, where you’ve seen another car; and when changing lanes when passing or overtaking. On that note, you should also strive to never drive in another driver’s blind spot.
• Check your speed on the motorway.
We’re sure the words, ‘slow down, slow down’ have been heard over and over again by new drivers learning with nervous relatives - however, this advice shouldn’t always be followed. When merging onto the motorway on a slip road, it’s really important to safely increase your speed to match the limit sooner rather than later, to avoid collisions with other motorists already travelling at a higher speed.
• Be careful around lorries.
Lorries and commercial vehicles are one of the biggest dangers for inexperienced drivers. When driving near and around lorries and other large vehicles, learner drivers should always remember to: keep a good distance - more space is better; overtake quickly but safely and never remain next to a lorry.
• Always plan your journey.
Learning to drive is stressful enough as it is, without adding direction troubles on top of that. Even if you’re using GPS, it’s good practice to map out your journey beforehand and know exactly where you are going, to avoid needing to make any last minute maneuvers and, of course, the undue stress that comes with being lost.
• Prepare before your lessons.
It’s important to be mentally and physically ready before driving at all times, but it’s even more vital prior to a lesson, where you’re bound to get the most out of your driving experience under the supervision of a qualified instructor. Ensure you’ve had enough sleep the night before; are feeling fully awake (a morning coffee can help - but stick to one, so you’re not jumpy!) and mentally prepare yourself 10 minutes before your lesson by thinking about what you’re previously learned. If there is something you want to work on, communicate that openly with your instructor. It can be useful to write a check-list, so you remember what aspects of your driving you need to work on or any bad habits you need corrected.
• Never, ever check your phone.
This one goes without saying. We would recommend keeping your phone in your bag or with the person you are driving with, not in your pocket where you can be tempted to respond if it rings or buzzes. Even better - switch it off!
• Know your car.
Before you take off, make sure you are comfortable with the vehicle you are driving; know where all the switches are and what different buttons do; which way to flick on your blinker and windscreen wipers; how to operate automatic features such as cruise control; and so forth.
• Sharing is caring.
The road is a shared space and other drivers and vehicles can be unpredictable. Pay attention, stay alert and always remember that you’re sharing the road with lots of different other users.
What Happens If I Have An Accident As A Learner Driver?
If you are injured in an accident that isn’t your fault - whether you are a learner driver or fully licensed - you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation. Read our article: How Can I Claim After A Road Traffic Accident for advice on exactly what you should do after the incident.
If you are a learner driver and involved in an accident during a formal driving lesson with a driving school, the situation is even more complicated and we would advise you to enlist the assistance of an experienced personal injury lawyer. A lawyer who is experienced in this area of law will be able to use their experience in handling personal injury and road traffic accident claims to put together a strong and (hopefully) successful driving lesson accident claim.
Who are GWlegal?
If you have a legal matter you wish to discuss don’t hesitate to get in touch. You can call us on 0345 373 3737 or email us firstname.lastname@example.org with your question.
Who are GWlegal? We’re a national firm with local values.