Learning to drive isn’t just about the lead up to the test; once you take your test, and pass it, there is a whole world out there for you to explore, as well as a few things that you need to keep in mind. If you have hung up your L plates and waved “goodbye” to your driving instructor, here’s what you need to consider.
When is it safe to drive?
On the day that you pass your examiner will usually arrange the paperwork, taking your provisional license and ensuring that it is sent off to be replaced with your full license. It can take a few weeks for your license to arrive, but don’t worry, you can drive in the meantime, provided that your vehicle has the necessary tax and insurance in place. If your new license hasn’t arrived in a 3-4 weeks, give the DVLA a call to chase it up.
Are P Plates necessary?
Just as red L plates alert other road users that you are a learner, the green P plates inform people that you have newly passed – or that you are in your “probationary” period. In theory, if you have P plates on your car, other road users will be a little bit more patient with you. If you feel more comfortable having P plates, then that is fine, but they are not compulsory. If you learn to drive and you still don’t feel confident, it may be worth speaking to your driving instructor or other local driving instructors to see if they offer a pass plus course, which is designed to boost confidence (this may also lead to reduced insurance, so could be a win-win situation).
Choosing a car
If you don’t already have a car, then finding the right car may be the next thing on your to do list. Before you start looking, work out your maximum budget as well as the essentials – number of doors, boot size etc. When looking at the budget, remember that you will need to tax and insure the vehicle, too. Cars come in different insurance categories; unless you're happy to be paying thousands of pounds a year for your insurance, you might want to make sure that the vehicles you are looking at are in the lower categories.
Insurance is a legal requirement but the type of insurance you get is up to you. Third party will only include injury or damage to others; third party fire and theft adds on cover if your car is stolen or caught alight; and fully comprehensive covers you for everything. Often, and especially for younger or newer drivers, a black box can significantly reduce your insurance premium, provided you drive safely. A black box records how often, when, and how you drive and adjusts your premium or bonuses, accordingly, scoring your driving and gifting you extra hours as a reward for safe driving.
When you first find yourself on the road without anyone in the passenger seat it can be daunting, but remember to take it steady, go at your own pace, and trust yourself. For more tips, follow Trust A Garage on Facebook or Twitter.