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The Danger of Being a First Time Driver

By: Garry Crystal - Updated: 28 Sep 2011 | comments*Discuss
Newly Qualified Drivers First Time

Passing a driving test is the first step towards independence on the road. But there are hazards that first time drivers should be aware of including the six penalty points law.

Newly Qualified Drivers and Road Accidents

Lack of on the road experience means that newly qualified drivers are more susceptible to road accidents and committing driving offences. According to statistics, one in five first time drivers will be involved in a traffic accident within the first year of passing their test. Young male drivers who have just passed their driving test are more likely to commit traffic offences than female drivers. There are laws that apply specifically to newly qualified drivers and a two year probationary period is applied to first time drivers.

Common Driving Offences for First Time Drivers

Speeding is one of the most common offences committed by newly qualified young drivers. Careless driving is another common offence often caused when younger drivers are distracted by loud music, mobile phones and friends travelling in their vehicles. Lack of driving experience is a problem for younger drivers especially when it comes motorway driving and driving through congested areas. Under the rules of the New Driver’s Act a newly qualified driver requires only six penalty points within two years of passing their test to lose their licence. Drivers will then have to apply for a provisional licence and pass their theory and practical test again before they can regain their licence.

Additional Expense for Disqualified Drivers

Another issue for first time drivers is the additional expense that will be incurred if they have been disqualified. Under the New Driver’s Act, disqualified drivers will have to pay the expense of resitting their theory and practical test. Another additional expense will come in the form of increased car insurance costs. Young drivers will already be paying higher insurance premiums due to the risk factor to insurers. Having a disqualification in your driver history will bring an additional increase from insurers.

Avoid Driving Dangers through Increased Experience

Gaining more experience can help first time drivers to avoid driving offences. The more driving hours a person has after passing their test the easier and safer their driving will become. First time drivers can gain confidence by being accompanied on their trips for a period of time by an experienced driver. It is also a good idea for new drivers to exhibit the green ‘P’ plates on their vehicle that will inform other drivers of their newly qualified driver status. Other road users will be able to take the ‘just passed’ status into consideration and should show additional patience and care around new drivers.

Building Confidence after Passing Your Driving Test

There are ways to build confidence on the road after passing a driving test that can help to avoid the road dangers. These will include:

  • Make only short trips of around an hour to begin with to become familiarised with unaccompanied driving
  • Avoid loading up the car with passengers as talking can easily lead to unfocussed driving
  • Avoid busy periods of the day when driving through city centres until driving confidence has increased
  • Keep to familiar parts of town to begin with before venturing to unfamiliar areas
  • Keep an extra close eye on speed limits when coming off motorways
  • Avoid driving distractions such as eating and using a mobile phone; mobile phone use while driving is illegal
  • Do not give in to peer pressure from immature friends when driving, especially if you want keep your licence

Additional Lessons for Newly Qualified Drivers

Newly qualified drivers who do lack confidence can take additional lessons after passing their test. Additional lessons can include motorway driving, driving in different weather conditions and night driving. The Pass Plus Scheme is a good idea for those who wish to have additional road experience and can be completed within a 12 month period. Pass Plus consists of six lessons that include out of town driving, driving in rural areas, all weather driving and motorway driving. This scheme is designed to decrease the chances of driving accidents by newly qualified drivers.

Increased driving confidence will come with experience and is one of the best ways to become a safer driver. The safer a driver becomes the easier it will be to spot and avoid the danger zones on the road. It is not hard to clock up six penalty points by committing only a few driving offences, and losing a licence can have a detrimental effect on a driver’s confidence. Drivers cannot avoid all road dangers but the more experience gained, the easier it will be to avoid the dangers associated with first time drivers.

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