On The Road: The Basics for New Drivers

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Whether you’re a young person who is just starting to learn how to drive, or have passed your test and are looking forward to driving your own car, there’s always more to learn about driving. If you have the most important information at the start of your driving career, then you’ll be a better and more knowledgeable driver.


Most young drivers will have some knowledge from the start; for example, as soon as you have a car, you need to have it taxed and insured to comply with the law. If you already own a vehicle, but have not yet passed your test, you should have an experienced driver with you when driving, and the law requires that the vehicle have L-plates until you have passed your test.

To comply with the law, every driver needs to have both tax and insurance for their vehicle, which needs to be renewed each year. You should check that your insurance includes breakdown cover, as this is not always automatic. If you break down on a major road and need to be towed to a garage for service, it will cost you a good deal of money if you don’t have breakdown cover.

For many years, an annual MOT (Ministry of Transport) test has been a legal requirement, to ensure that your vehicle is roadworthy. Sometimes, something simple, for example the tread depth of tyres, can result in a fail. If you want your car to pass its MOT then make sure that its tyre tread depth is as is should be, and check the current requirements for passing as well, as you could save yourself a retest!


When you are buying your first car, it’s not just street cred that you need to think about; you should ask about the vehicle’s fuel consumption. Different makes and types of vehicles will have different levels of fuel consumption. Always check the average amount of fuel a vehicle requires per mile before you buy it, as fuel costs are high.

It is not just a vehicle’s make and engine size that affect fuel consumption. If you are carrying a heavy load, e.g. extra passengers or weighty objects, this will also affect consumption. You should also shop around for fuel, as prices vary from one garage or supermarket to another. Going easy on your accelerator and driving at a steady pace can keep your fuel costs down. Careful drivers often use less fuel in their cars than those who regard speed as their main driving objective!

Car Maintenance

Cars are no different to bikes or houses; they need a certain amount of maintenance if you want them to do what they are supposed to. General things, like checking tyre pressure regularly, can save money and wasted time when your MOT comes around.
Regular checks of oil and water levels, especially if you are planning a long trip, will not only help your engine, they will also help to ensure your radiator or engine doesn’t give up on you. Over time, most drivers will have problems with their vehicles; you can lessen those problems by some simple, regular checks of your vehicle.