Any seasoned driver will know that your first car is something you never forget. There are numerous factors that go into making the right choice, and while aspects such as purchase and insurance costs are, of course, important, it is also essential to look at considerations relating to reliability and safety, particularly given the unfortunate risk profile of young drivers. Here, we take a look at some of the main considerations to bear in mind when choosing a first car.
Price and Value
Let’s not hide from the facts – the purchase price is always going to be a defining factor, but look deeper than the numbers. Some cars depreciate more than others, and if you are planning on trading the car in after a year or two, it is well worth taking a close look at used car resale values before you make your choice.
For example, while a BMW 1-series might seem broadly similar to a Ford Fiesta but with a higher price tag, it will also hold its value better. If you plan on keeping the car for years and running it into the ground, by all means go with the blue oval, but if you want something that you can look after and sell on, Bavaria’s finest is a compelling option.
If you are buying a brand new car, the latest NCAP safety ratings are there for all to see, but most first cars are by no means in the first flush of youth. The Daily Mirror recently ran an article which singled out some of the safest used cars on the market in the sub-£5,000 bracket, and singled out three vehicles from the Volkswagen stable, the VW Up, Seat Mii and Skoda Citigo, for special commendation.
Something a little different?
There is a common perception that today’s cars, with their electronic management systems and smart virtual intelligence almost drive themselves. It’s handy, but does not provide new drivers with the experience that former generations gained. An increasingly popular idea is to choose a classic as a first car. Vehicles like the Morris Minor, VW Beetle and Mini never go out of fashion, are simple yet involving to drive and are inexpensive to buy, run and insure.
A First Car to Remember
BMW 1-series, Skoda Citigo or Morris Minor, you will never forget your first car, so make sure you weigh up all the options and choose the right set of wheels for the right reason.
Some of the biggest dangers that learner drivers face on the road are lorries and commercial vehicles. Brake revealed that in 2013 there were over 6,000 crashes involving heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) in England and Wales, equal to 17 a day, which is a large number considering that they only make up 10% of all traffic. In this post we look at why lorries can be hazardous, driving tips that will you increase your safety when driving behind or next to lorries, and look at how a new mandate in the USA that will reduce the number of commercial vehicle accidents.
Keeping a Good Distance From Lorries
Commercial vehicles come with the potential hazard of objects falling off the vehicle. The Yorkshire Post reported that out of 41 lorries stopped by the West Yorkshire Police, 8 vehicles were charged for insecure loads. Car drivers aren’t aware that just by being in the same vicinity of a lorry could be potentially life ending. In the same report, Sergeant Steve Suggitt of the West Yorkshire Police’s Safer Roads and Neighbourhood Support Team paints a picture of what lorries could potentially mean to other vehicles: “At 30mph, a vehicle travels 100ft in 2.3 seconds—that’s equivalent to the length of a Boeing 737 aircraft. HGVs are potential killing machines.” In our post ‘How to Prevent Becoming a Car Accident Statistic’ we recommend that parents teach their children defensive driving. This means being aware of the vehicles around them by maintaining a large following distance and recognising potential escape routes. This is especially true of commercial vehicles.
Overtake Quickly but Safely
Driving beside a lorry is one the most dangerous positions a car can be in on the road. Country Living spoke to a commercial driver with many years experience who called the space right next to any lorry the “kill zone” and emphasised that it is the one space every driver should stay away from: “If the truck loses control or has to change lanes quickly, you’re going to get crushed because the truck has nowhere else to go.” When overtaking a lorry do it as quickly as possible, and if on a motorway don’t remain next to lorry.
U.S. ELD Ruling
According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, drowsy driving has caused up to 72,000 crashes, with 6,000 fatal crashes, annually in America. Additionally, the reports indicate that commercial drivers who manoeuvre tow trucks, tractor trailers, and other massive vehicles of the same category, are more susceptible to falling asleep behind the wheel.
To monitor safety and improve the trucking industry, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is enforcing a law that will require commercial transport vehicles to have Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs). These ELDs will not only implement a cloud-based monitoring system that will digitally-document every aspect of the journey, but they will also help supervise a driver’s workload. Fleetmatics points out that ELDs will be able to log the Hours of Service (HoS), which will prevent drivers from overdriving and therefore being unsafe on the road Fleet operators, road safety agencies, and truck drivers will have access to the data recorded by the ELDs, which helps all parties to recognise ways to better overall operations.
Unfortunately, in UK, a similar law has yet to be administered. Learner drivers need to be aware of the danger that lorries can present. Being aware of the potential danger is key to being safe on the road.
Exclusively written for lincsdrivingsolutions.uk
Young drivers between the ages of 17 and 24 are at a much higher risk of being involved in a car accident than older drivers. Young drivers that fall into this age group only accounts for up to 1.5% of all licensed drivers in the United Kingdom yet they account for as many as 9% of serious and fatal car accidents. In 2013, 234 teen passengers were seriously injured or killed in the UK when their young driver aged 17 to 19 was involved in a car accident. The emotional and financial trauma associated with teen motor vehicle accidents underline the importance of instilling good habits in drivers from a very early age.
Young drivers are faced with countless distractions on the road and making sure they are road-savvy can prevent the occurrence of a lot of anguish and worry. One of the greatest gifts a parent or mentor can give to a young driver is the know-how of how to keep safe on the road. The majority of bad habits teen drivers display were picked up from their parents and peers, making it vitally important to always set a good example when driving with impressionable youngsters in the car.
Tips to keep safe on the road
Keep your eye on the weather
Due to their inexperience in handling a car, under those circumstances, it is even more dangerous for a young driver to be behind the wheel of a car in inclement weather. It is of vital importance that young drivers be taught how to confidently handle a variety of bad-weather challenges. Sending a teenager for an advanced driver’s course to learn control techniques in a safe environment may end up saving their lives as well as the lives of other road users.
Practice defensive driving
It is important to teach children to always be aware of the traffic behind, ahead and next to them and to always have possible escape routes in mind. Stay at least one car length away from the car in front of you when driving at a slower speed and maintain a larger following distance when driving faster. A defensive driving course will teach a teenage driver a lot of valuable and possibly life-saving skills to enforce when driving on the UK’s busy roads.
Do not be tempted to eat, drink, scan through radio stations or even play music too loudly while driving as these can all cause your attention to drift. A wandering mind, even if only for a few seconds, can have fatal consequences. An inexperienced teen driver is more likely to lose control of a vehicle with distractions significantly increasing your chances of not noticing impending danger and not being able to control the vehicle when danger strikes.
Texting, on average, accounts for a loss of attention on the road for 4.6 seconds – enough time to drive the full length of a football field. A great deal of things can go wrong in that seemingly short space of time. Don’t even attempt to text while at a stop street as you won’t notice any vital developments that may occur when you have your head down. Rather send your text messages before you leave home or after you have safely reached your destination.
Teen drivers may, in general, very well be a higher risk on the road than more experienced drivers but it is important to realise that not all young drivers are irresponsible by nature. With proper instruction and continuous guidance, teenage drivers have the potential to turn into well-adjusted and accountable adult drivers.
Who is really responsible? You or the person you pay?
There is a good argument to suggest that if you are getting paid to do a job, don’t expect the person paying to contribute. Now that may be true if you want your computer fixing or the windows in your house cleaning, that last thing you expect is for you to do the work.
Learning, though, is different.
If we work together that is exactly what we’ll do, we will operate as a 2 person team where the aim is for you to use my knowledge so you can improve yours.
When you learn, whether it is to tie your shoelaces or to learn to drive, we as learners accept responsibility. The buck stops with us.
Sadly there are no skills software to instantly load into our brains, and as a child you only learned to tie your laces with practice.
It’s my job to help make sure you understand so you can quickly practice and improve.
07908 652 715. Phone me
Taking GCSEs or BTEC 1/2/3 is a lot different to driving safely…
Wasn’t school great?
All you had to do was listen, remember and repeat.
You were not usually asked questions about situations you have not seen and you got to practice everything before your exams – sorry, but learning to drive is not like that. I’m going to teach you how to think for yourself.
When I say “learning to drive” that goes for all my clients.
The driving syllabus is massive and much of it is not actually written down, for example, you are on a national speed limit road, your speed is 55MPH and a deer runs in front of your car. What do you do?
The only thing you can do is to be able to think for yourself and make a decision based upon the information you have. What are the road conditions, is there any traffic, how wide is the road, is there oncoming traffic, how far away is the deer etc.
If you work with me, this is a great demonstration of why you will succeed because I am not preparing you for any test. I’m helping you skill-up so you can take control of your future.
Call me 07908 652 715
How To Pass Your Driving Test At The First Attempt.
As you will appreciate the automatic response from a driving instructor is to say, don’t worry about passing first time, just concentrate on being a safe driver. And despite the answer being correct it isn’t always what you want to read or hear, so we are going to take this a little further for you and offer some best-practice tips.
The key to passing the driving test is understanding the purpose of the driving test and what the driving examiner is going to be looking for. Your test day is your opportunity to demonstrate you can drive a car without assistance or supervision from a driving instructor or anyone who has held a driving licence for more than 4 years.
So where might you need assistance? The wrong answer to suggest particular scenarios such as approaching roundabouts, hill starts, your speed, and how to turn left. Yes they are all factually correct but don’t go far enough in demonstrating what you need to do.
Naturally safety is paramount but what determines that you are safe on the roads and not requiring supervision? Being safe can be broken down into these parts. Obeying the laws of the road. Being aware of your surroundings to include potential hazards all around the car, in front of you, from the sides and of course from the rear. Finally, to be in control of the car at all times.
By meeting this standard you are going to give yourself a very good chance of impressing the driving examiner with your driving ability and being awarded your driving license.
The question which needs asking now is how are you going to get to that point before your driving test?
At Lincs Driving Solutions you will go through a specific learning programme tailored to your needs and at the same time monitors and reflects your development. We call this a progress form. On the form all the skills for driving are listed and are marked as “introduced”, “assisted” and “independent”. It is when you are independent in all aspects are you ready to drive by yourself.
Prior to the driving test you will be given at least one mock test – you may require more depending upon the outcome and the level of your confidence. The aim of the mock test is to give you the opportunity to take a practice driving test, under test conditions. Here you will recognise your strengths and any possible areas for development; crucially you will enhance your driving confidence.
In the lessons just before your test the aim is for you to be driving without assistance, and only for fine detail to be taught at this stage. You could almost consider it as advanced driving because the skills you will learn are now above that level. Some of the skills you will learn are based around fuel economy, predicting other driver’s behaviours and advanced hazard perception.
At this stage of your training, going into your driving test ought to be a straight forward process. You have the skills (and more) to pass your driving test and to get your driving licence, and importantly you know that. This won’t be a case of you going into your driving test hoping you will pass but you will go into the test centre with the preparation and confidence you need. That is how you will be able to pass your driving test first time.
How To Save Money On Passing Your Driving Test
At Lincs Driving Solutions we are asked this question every week. Our answer never changes; the secret – if there is one – to passing cheaply is actually being rigid with your lessons and thinking about how you drive.
First of all, if you are short on finances for the moment and think at some time in the future you may have to miss a week here or there, that is going to cost you. You will need to spend more time in the car and therefore end up paying for more lesson. The problem all learners of any subject have is, the longer the time in between lessons the more you are going to forget.
In an ideal world, and we know this might not be possible for you, would be to take a 2-hour lesson every day, or at least every 3 or 4 days. The 2-hour lesson allows you time to think, not rush and to ask questions. It gives you valuable driving time and the opportunity to relax. Then by taking the lessons day after day, or having a short break in between your lessons will allow you to retain what you have learned.
However, if you increased your learning into an intensive course of say 6 hours a day, dependent on your ability and mental approach, could be too much. It all depends upon you. So either skipping lessons or doing too much could cost you more in the long run.
Passing your theory test sooner rather than later will also help you reduce the cost of learning. There are many aspects of the theory test which you can bring into the car, therefore if the driving instructor does not need to teach you, time and money is being saved.
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