Road Safety Rules and Etiquette for New Drivers
It's no secret that new, young drivers are statistically more likely to have an accident. In 2010, research by UK car insurance firm, Admiral, confirmed that younger motorists (aged 17 and 18) are more likely to have an accident as other motorists' age groups - a statistic that is clearly backed up by insurance premiums. Whilst the reasons behind these shocking statistics aren't clearly divulged; vigilance, confidence and sensibility are the key ingredients to safe driving. Whilst we don't want to deter you young folk out there from driving, we will encourage you to have a quick read of this guide to help increase your road safety behind the wheel.
Dealing with Peer Pressure
One of the most important things you need to remember is that you're the one driving, meaning you will be accountable for any driving offences you commit. If you're showing off your driving skills to your friends, don't let them persuade you to do a manoeuvre you're uncomfortable with or to exceed the speed limit. Don't forget that 12 points on your licence can result in a driving ban; totting up points in your first few months of driving doesn't leave much margin for future errors! If your friends encourage you to drive unsafely just think - would they risk their driving licences and safety for your entertainment? In the majority of cases the answer would be a no.
Avoiding the Temptation of Driving after a Drink
When you first pass your driving test you spend as much time behind the wheel as possible, offering lifts to work for your friends and family (which you
live to regret) and going on aimless drives through the countryside with your partner until they develop travel sickness. Whilst it's great to make the most of your new-found ability to drive unsupervised, don't be tempted to drive somewhere if you're contemplating drinking alcohol. There always seems to be that one person in your group who's renowned for drink driving and never getting caught, but it really isn't worth the risk.
You're not only faced with the prospect of getting caught (which warrants a mandatory temporary disqualification from driving) but you're also putting your own life in danger, as well as other motorists' and pedestrians'. If you know you'll want an alcoholic beverage at some point, leave your car at home. It simply isn't worth the safety risk, plus once the novelty aspect of driving wears off and the reality of petrol prices kicks in you won't think twice about leaving your car on the drive!
That Pesky Mobile Phone Law
Britain's younger generation is renowned for being rather technologically savvy. Whilst you have the ability to boggle your parents' minds with the ease of which you can operate a television remote, it's best to leave any handheld gadgetry in the glove compartment whilst on the road. Being caught with a mobile phone in your hand whilst at the wheel can land you a £1000 fine which is a nasty addition to insurance costs. New drivers who already have 3 points on their licence are requested to retake their driving test before hitting the road again. In some cases, using a mobile phone could cause your driving to fall into the 'careless driving' category, which carries a minimum mandatory disqualification of 12 months.
These rather hefty fines and penalties were implemented a few years ago due to drivers looking at their mobile phones rather than keeping their eye on the road. This resulted in a high number of accidents which could have easily been avoided. The long and short of it is; handheld gadgets are a no-no whilst driving (yes even at the lights!).
Being a careful driver is not only important for safety, it can also help to keep your insurance premium down. Some young drivers choose to have the 'black box' which monitors various different aspects of their driving, in return for a considerable discount off their insurance. Something which is definitely worth considering!
Stephanie Staszko writes for motoring solicitors Just Motor Law, who provide legal advice and support for those accused of a driving offence.
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