Passing your test and getting your first car is a real milestone in our lives. It brings new freedom and opportunities for work and play further from home. But despite it being an exciting time, it’s also when you’re most likely to be involved in a crash. Young drivers, here in Essex and nationally, are far more like to get hurt on the roads than older more experienced drivers.
But there’s some good news. You can massively reduce the change of becoming a statistic by learning the risks and how to avoid them. So here are SERP’s five top tips for things you can do to be a great driver and stay safe out on the roads:
#1 – Make a pledge
Road crashes are the biggest killer of 17-25 year olds in the UK, so in an effort to combat this, the #mysmallchange campaign asks you to pledge a small change that will inspire other young drivers or passengers and help save lives. If you live, work or study in Essex and are between 16 and 25 you’ll entered into a prize draw to win some great prizes – from £50 amazon vouchers to £500 towards your car insurance!
You can make a pledge about anything that will make you safer, but be sure to include a specific action you are pledging to take – for example, “I will never get in a car with someone I know has been drinking” or “I will make sure everyone in the car has their seatbelt on before driving off”. Sound good? Check out the video above to learn more, or head straight over to www.mysmallchange.co.uk to make your pledge.
#2 – Get through your probation
Getting your licence is a bit like when you start a new job and being put on a six-month ‘trial’; your employer is making sure you’re not rubbish before committing to let you work permanently, with all the rights and privileges of someone who’s been working there for years. It’s the same with driving. You’re automatically on a two-year probationary period from when you pass your practical test; during those two years you’re allowed to clock up six points before your licence is turned green again.
That’s right, back to wearing L-plates until you’ve passed all the tests, just like before. Once you’re out of probation it’ll take 12 points before you lose your licence, but for the first two years it’s just the six – and they’re easier to clock up than you might think! Did you know that using a mobile phone at the wheel gets you six points immediately?! GAME OVER. Driving can be stressful enough without having to worry if one silly mistake is going to cost you your licence.
Check out our guide to the probationary period above and keep your licence!
#3 – Hear the Honest Truth
What is the best way to keep your driving license and enjoy driving? By turning yourself into a truly skilled driver, with hard-wired safety instincts. The Honest Truth is a road safety campaign delivered within normal driving lessons, where specially trained driving instructors – equipped with the highest-quality resources – help their learners understand the main causes of crashes and how to avoid them, so they stay safe after passing their test.
Choosing an Honest Truth instructor means you’ll get all this extra value seamlessly within your normal driving lessons, at no extra cost. There are over 50 Honest Truth ADIs in Essex so ask your instructor if they are Honest Truth qualified or search the Honest Truth website to find one.
#4 – Brush up your knowledge
Just because being a young driver makes you higher risk, that doesn’t mean it can’t be a fun and enjoyable time in your life. The Young Driver’s Guide is filled with information and advice about everything form choosing a driving instructor and shopping for a first car, to saving money on your insurance. There’s even an accident checklist inside, just in case!
The more you read and learn about things like driving on rural roads, car maintenance and dealing with distractions like annoying passengers, the safer you’ll be behind the wheel. The Essex Roadster website also has tonnes of advice on how to save money, stay safe and enjoy driving. Check it out by clicking here.
#5 – Watch out for vulnerable road users
When we’re sat in our warm, safe, and comfy cars, it’s easy to forget about those who are most vulnerable on the roads, like cyclists, pedestrians, and horse riders. The fact is that those who have the least protection from danger are also the hardest to see, especially for new drivers who are still developing their hazard detection skills. Check out these three virtual reality 360 films and boost your awareness of cyclists and horse riders.
VRU FILM 1 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Om7Hyddm3IA
VRU FILM 2 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VOtSPiRnDVA
VRU FILM 3 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbYU7tWmieQ