5 essential things every new driver NEEDS to know.

 

Okay, so... the theory is done, and the practical is finally over- but there are still a few things that you need to know before your mum will stop quivering as you screech off the driveway.

 
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put the phone down...

How often will my car need an MOT? 

Once your car celebrates its third birthday you'll need to start taking it for an annual MOT- this will make sure that it's fit to be on the road. If you cant figure out how old your vehicle is, or aren't sure when its next test is due, you can use the government's website to check the MOT status of your car. 

If your MOT has expired, it's illegal to take your car out and about- unless you have scheduled an MOT and you're driving to the garage for the test. It goes without saying that it is very important to keep on top of your MOT schedule; go down to WHSmith's and grab yourself a calendar or tell Siri to make a note, otherwise you could get into a lot of trouble.

How should I maintain my car between services?

Taking your car for regular MOTs and services isn't enough- you need to keep everything looking good in between, too. For example, you should check the pressure of your tires, make sure you have enough engine oil, and change your air filters on a regular basis. If you're not confident about doing these things on your own yet, Lookers has a great range of car maintenance how-to guides that will talk you through everything. They'll give you step-by-step instructions on what you need to be doing, and how often you need to be doing it.

When can I update my insta behind the wheel? 

As of December 2003, it is illegal to use your phone whilst driving, and due to the amount of fatal accidents related this, stricter laws were introduced on March 1st, 2017. Now, if you're caught using your phone behind the wheel, you're likely to receive six penalty points on your licence and a £200 fine. If you rack up six penalty points within the first two years of driving, you could have your licence revoked altogether- the pic of your Starbucks can wait, it really isn't worth it. 

Handsfree devices are still allowed and you can use your phone as a sat nav as long as it's mounted on a handsfree holder, but you are forbidden from touching, picking up, or moving your device whilst driving. You can find out more about this on the government website

How much is my car going to cost to run?

As a young adult (..yikes!), having a car is likely to be your second biggest expense after housing, according to the Money Advice Service. The costs really add up, and you need to make sure you can afford everything from insurance to petrol when investing in your own vehicle.

The AA has a guide to keeping down the costs of running your car, which outlines everything you'll need to pay for and how you can make sure you're not paying over the odds.

you still have plenty to learn!

Driving on your own is very different from when you have an instructor on hand to help, and you'll pick up plenty of tips and tricks once you start driving for real. Just make sure that you always drive carefully and learn from the mistakes you make! It's all a learning process, you'll naturally become a more confident driver over time- so don't stress when you clip the curb (for the 50th time). 

Getting your driving licence is so exciting, but you need to be ready for the practical side of owning a car too. Take these tips on board to make sure you're well-prepared for those infinate trips to McDonald's. 

Drive safe!

LifeEmily Baulf