Everyone looks forward to the day where they are legally able to drive. But it’s funny how nobody really talks about what driving is really like after you’ve passed your driving test. So I’ve put together 8 things you should know after you’ve passed your test that you’ll probably never get told.
1. Out the Window
Firstly, when you’re doing your driving lessons most things your instructor tells you do to are simply to help you pass your driving test. The moment you get that certificate saying you’ve passed is the moment a bunch of those habits fly out the window. I’m talking about constantly checking your rear view mirror every 8 seconds, doing your 6 point check when there’s clearly nobody around, keeping both hands on the steering wheel at all times. All these habits will become a thing of the past. However, it is still good practise to keep doing them as much as possible for the safety of yourself as a new driver and those around you.
2. Still Stalling (For the Manual Drivers)
Just because you’ve passed your driving test doesn’t mean you’re stall-proof. Chances are you’re going to stall a few times, especially if you get a new car and you’re not used to the clutch yet. Don’t feel bad about this, some people have had their driver’s license for years and still stall, It happens to the best of us, besides, the more you drive the less you’ll find yourself stalling.
As a new driver, spacial awareness is probably still a new concept to you so don’t be surprised if you have a lot of ‘oops’ moments, especially if your first car isn’t fitted with proximity sensors. When I say oops moments, I mean moments where you do something that makes you say ‘oops’. This could be anything from curbing your car on a sharp turn to slightly knocking someone else’s car in an attempt to parallel park in a tight spot. If the latter happens, don’t panic. Cars are overly dramatic, the slightest knock can sound like an absolute train wreck but when you look at the damage done, there’s no trace that you were ever there. Although, it’s always good to check to see if you’ve left any dents or ‘serious’ scratches but that depends on how far your morale compass goes.
Oops moments are a good reason why your first car shouldn’t be too expensive. Get something a bit older and inexpensive that way you can afford for it to take a few knocks and scratches here and there.
4. It’s A Jungle
The road is a jungle. Don’t be fooled, just because there are laws in place doesn’t mean everyone abides by them. People will drive however they want to drive. ESPECIALLY during rush hour when everyone is just trying to get home.
On the road you need to be as vigilante as possible for your safety as well as those around you. Be prepared for drivers swerving into your lane without indicating. Being undertaken. Improper use of round about lanes. Impatient drivers who will rather take their chances than wait a few extra seconds for you to pass before turning into the road.
5. Blackbox Struggles
If you’ve passed your driving test and you’re blessed enough to have a car, the chances are your insurance company is going to insist you have a blackbox installed as part of your policy as a new driver. Unfortunately, having a blackbox means short term struggle for long term rewards. In other words, you’re going to have to endure a lot of pressure being applied by drivers in your rearview mirror.
What you do in these instances is up to you. You can either decide to speed up to avoid aggravating the drivers behind you and risk being penalised. Or you can come to terms with the fact that you’re probably never going to meet this person in your life so 2-3 minutes of ‘law-abiding’ driving won’t hurt them, at the end of the day they can always try and overtake you.
6. Double to Nothing
Only you know how much time, effort, energy and money you’ve put into passing your driving test and getting your license. Cherish it because in your first year of getting your license every point you get is doubled. What this means is that if you get caught speeding, what should be a 3 point penalty on your license ends up being 6. If that happens twice you’ve just lost what you worked so hard to get.
Furthermore, new laws have just been passed where drivers get 6 points if they’re caught using their phones while driving, so you better make sure you’ve got all your songs queued up before you start driving because if you get caught once, that your license suspended.
7. 99 Problems and My Car Is Gone
Cars are very problematic. Even more so the older they get and the more you drive them. When you’re driving you’re always going to feel like there is a problem with your car. Then at some point, a light may come up on your dashboard, you might hear a rattling sound, your pedals may feel a tad bit stiffer than usual. Whatever it is, it’s worth getting the car checked and serviced from time to time. Either every 6000 to 12000 miles or 6 to 12 months. Because if you don’t, one problem will lead to another and another and another, and when you get that price quote from the mechanic, you’ll convince yourself that having a car isn’t worth it
Furthermore, when you do go to a mechanic, please go to one that specialises in whatever make your car is. It’s not worth having someone look at your car if they’re not familiar with the make. So if your car is a Volkswagen, go to a Volkswagen specialist. Take care of your car and it will take care of you, it’s as simple as that.
8. ‘Did I Just See A Flash…’. Road Paranoia
You’re going to have many instances where you think you’ve done something you haven’t. Did I run that red light? Was that a speed camera? Was I speeding? What was that flash? Firstly, speed cameras are quietly lenient with drivers. So, if you ever get caught speeding, you must have been way over the speed limit because many areas have a leeway of ‘10% + 2mph’. This means that if the speed limit is 30mph some cameras give leeway up to 35mph (emphasis on some). Similarly for running red lights. If you’ve run a red light just as it’s changed don’t be overly paranoid you’ll probably be let off.
Now if you think you saw a flash, the chances are the lights of the driver behind you has bounced back on one of your mirrors in such a way where it resembles a flash from a speed camera. Either way, if it was from the driver behind you or you were in fact speeding, don’t think about it too much because a bad mood could negatively impact you driving and increase the chances of you driving dangerously. Just try your best to take your mind off it because there’s no way of finding out unless you receive a letter in the post within 14 days.
Enjoy The Ride
There are of course other things that come with driving legally, but some things are best experienced than told. So with that being said, goodluck as you enjoy your new found freedom and for those reading, waiting to pass their test, I wish you the best of luck, keep pushing and soon that license will be yours!