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Reasons to insure with Adrian Flux: Cover can be taken out on a month-by-month basis, so you only pay for the cover you need before passing your test. Comprehensive policies available for vehicles up to insurance group 45. Policies can be arranged on either your own car or a policy in your name on a parent's car.

Any claim will be settled on the learner driver's insurance policy and will not affect the no claims bonus of the vehicle owner's insurance.** If you’re a twin there’s no need to pay double. Add your brother or sister to your policy for just 30% more.

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FOREWORD

FIRSTCAR THEORY EDITION

WELCOME

THE THEORY TEST is a milestone to a lifetime of safe driving. Passing it will help you in your remaining driving lessons and your practical test. Importantly, it also lets you know you’ll always be able to deal with unfamiliar roads and any conditions that your instructor can’t arrange for you to see when you’re learning. If you had good news today, congratulations. If you didn’t, don’t despair. There’s a wide range of books, apps and online products out there, so there’s bound to be something to suit you. Your DVSA approved driving instructor will help. They’ll make sure you see and learn as much on the road as possible, to bring your theory to life and make it easier to learn and remember. Don’t forget you can even have lessons on motorways with an approved instructor these days, once you’re skilled and confident enough. Research suggests that learning for the hazard perception part of the theory test could have reduced collisions by 11%, saving hundreds of lives every year. Also, young drivers feel the new practical test prepares them better than ever before to stay safe on Britain’s roads. It’s important you don’t stop learning after you’ve passed your tests. Cars and roads are becoming better connected and automated all the time. You’ll need to keep up to date for a lifetime of safe driving. Mark Winn Chief driving examiner

GET IN TOUCH

info@firstcar.co.uk 08451 308853 firstcar.co.uk facebook.com/firstcarmag youtube.com/FirstCarUK

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twitter.com/firstcaruk The contents of this magazine are copyright © Firstcar Ltd and may not be reproduced or transmitted, in any form in whole or in part, without written consent from the editor. Neither Firstcar Ltd nor its staff can be held responsible for the accuracy of the information herein or for any consequence arising from it. In contributing to this magazine and helping to make it available to the public, the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) implies neither endorsement nor criticism of any person or organisation featured in it, either editorially or through advertising. FirstCar Magazine and its agents, employees, advertisers and other contributors are wholly independent of the DVSA and neither FirstCar Magazine nor the DVSA can accept any liability for any loss or damages arising from following the advice and guidance contained in this magazine (Q2 2020).

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FIRSTCAR THEORY EDITION

S T N E T N CO WIN

THIS CAR!

PAGE 18

4M2MA E

MACKEY ’ ducation The ‘Sex E show e star on th ’s everyone ut o talking ab

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WE’VE BEEN THERE! LILLY

RODNEY

MEET RODNEY AND LILLY: THEY’VE JUST LEARNED TO DRIVE

We know a thing or two about learning to drive at FirstCar, but there’s no substitute for having gone through it all recently. That’s why Rodney and Lilly are here to add their advice. Both are proud of their full driving licences, and they share their tips all through the mag.


CONTENTS W OR BU YING A CA R IS NE WE’LL U? YO R FO HT RIG US ED 30 GE PA SE OO CH U HE LP YO

INSIDE 8 INSTRUCTION

Passing the theory test, and choosing the ideal instructor.

14 LEARNER INSURANCE

Cover while you learn.

16 PRACTICAL TEST PREP You can pass first time!

25 SAFETY: THE HONEST TRUTH Don’t become a statistic.

30 BUYING USED

How to find a used car you’ll be really proud of owning.

32 BUYING NEW

The search for your dream car starts right here!

38 INSURANCE STAY SA FE DON’T SHOW OF F BE HIN D TH E WH EE L! PAGE 25

How to find affordable cover.

42 EMMA MACKEY The Netflix star talks about fame and the future.

45 RULE AT REVERSING

Our step-by-step guide to reversing manoeuvres.

48 MAINTENANCE Simple car maintenance isn’t difficult once you know how.

50 TREAD CAREFULLY

Faulty tyres could lead to a fine and put you in danger. MA IN TE NA NC E HOW YOU CA N SAV E MONEY PAGE 48

51 ACCIDENT CHECKLIST

What to do after a crash.

firstcar.co.uk

7


FIRSTCAR THEORY EDITION

THE THEORY TEST...

In association with

THE NEXT STEPS

D

ID YOU KNOW you’ve just taken the world’s biggest computer-based exam? Yes, really. Over two million theory tests are sat each year. The exam is designed to make sure you’re ready to complete the rest of your practical lessons and prepared for a lifetime of safe, economical and low-stress driving. We really hope you passed! Either way, it’s time to think about what happens next.

IF YOU’VE PASSED

● First of all, well done! If you’re now proudly clutching your theory test pass certificate then the chances are you’ve learned the importance of hazard perception, either with your driving instructor or

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by using the official DVSA Guide to Hazard Perception – hopefully both. ● We bet you put in the hours to make sure you passed, practising hazard perception and tracking your progress with official apps like the DVSA Learning Zone, The Official DVSA Theory Test Kit, or a good licensed product using DVSA questions and clips. ● It  will certainly have helped you pass if you genned up on the Highway Code, Know Your Traffic Signs, and – either directly or because your approved driving instructor helped you – Driving: The Essential Skills. This book is every driving instructor’s bible, and it tells you everything you need to know about driving to

reach the required standard and pass your tests. ● Don’t  fall into the trap of thinking you can forget what you’ve learned. Keeping on top of your theory and hazard perception will help you pass the practical test.

IF YOU’VE FAILED

● We’re sorry you didn’t pass. Think what you could do to make the grade next time. ● Most successful candidates will have worked hard at both their theory knowledge and hazard perception. Was there more you could have done to improve your knowledge and sharpen your skills? ● Don’t  be put off. The theory test pass rate is around 47%, so if you failed the test you are not alone.


INSTRUCTION

LILLY’S

TOP TIP

Most ADIs are gr If yours isn’t be eat, but you’d like, or so having as meone offers lessons for m oney approved by DV who isn’t out www.gov.u SA, check k/complainabout-a-drivin ginstructor.

We’ve got lots more advice on learning to drive on FirstCar’s website. bit.ly/fcgetstarted

A

S A LEARNER DRIVER it is really important you find the right driving instructor. To make this easier, the DVSA has improved its ‘find driving schools, lessons and instructors’ service. You can now search the database of more than 26,000 approved instructors by the grade awarded to them by the DVSA. Instructors can add links to their website or

FIND THE PERFECT

INSTRUCTOR Facebook page. This will help you check things like... ●w  hether the instructor provides a photo for security ● i f lessons are available for learners with a special need ● t he instructor’s availability/ working pattern ● t he price of lessons. To find the best driving instructor for you go to: gov.uk/ find-driving-schoolsand-lessons.

Take a look at the government’s driving schools web pages to find an instructor.

ASK THE DRIVING SCHOOL THESE QUESTIONS

1 2

Is the instructor fully qualified (an ADI)?

4

If I have a PDI (an instructor who is still in training) will I pay less?

7

5

3

8

6

9

If I sign up for a course and we don’t get on, can I have my money back? Or change instructor?

Will I get the same instructor and car for each of my lessons? How long is each lesson? Can I choose between 60, 90 and 120-minute sessions?

Is my instructor CRB checked? Are all the school’s instructors checked in this way?

Are there apps or online tools included in the price of my lessons?

Will I get help with passing my theory and hazard perception tests? Do you offer post-test training to improve my skills after I pass?

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INSTRUCTION

FIRSTCAR THEORY EDITION

GET THE MOST FROM YOUR

LESSONS

You're paying a lot for an expert to teach you how to drive, so be sure to make the most of your time. Here's how:

● REST UP Always try to get a good night’s rest before a lesson. A big night out with your mates before a morning lesson isn’t a good idea – you need to be fully alert and sober. ● FUEL UP Eat and drink before the lesson to boost your

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energy levels and keep them high.

● GO LONG When you book your lessons, think about 90-minute or two-hour sessions. You’ll have more time to get into a rhythm than if the lesson lasts an hour. ● LISTEN UP... Your instructor knows what they are talking about, so concentrate hard on what they are telling you to do.

RODNEY’S

TOP TIP Practise drivin g in between le ss reinforce wha ons to t yo learned. But m u have ake sure you stay belo w the level of difficulty yo u have reached with your instructor.

● ... BUT ASK

QUESTIONS If you don’t understand what your instructor is asking you to do, don’t be afraid to say so. And ask them questions to help plug gaps in your driving knowledge.


Car Insurance For drivers aged 17 to 25 years old Save money with a Black Box No price increase when you pass No curfews! Get a quote: thinkinsurance.co.uk/theoryjustpassed

0800 221 8093

Think Insurance Services Limited is an independent intermediary/credit broker. We are permitted to arrange, advise on, deal as an agent of insurers, help with ongoing changes, introduce to an insurer/premium finance provider(s) and arrange lending facilities in respect of general insurance policies on behalf of our clients. Registered in England & Wales (No.06809003). Registered Address: Think Insurance Services Ltd, Suite 1, 1st Floor, 26 Newhall Street, Walsall, WS1 3DZ. Authorised and Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA No. 499053). For details of our intermediary & credit broking status please visit: www.thinkinsurance.co.uk/regulatory


LEARNER INSURANCE

FIRSTCAR THEORY EDITION

There’s lots more advice online about finding insurance while learning. bit.ly/fcldins

E C N A R U I NS U O Y E L I H W LEARN

To really make the most of your lessons, it pays to practise regularly. That means hitting the road in a friend or family member’s car under their supervision. You can’t just jump in anyone’s car, you’ll need to arrange insurance. Broadly speaking there are two options to consider...

NAMED DRIVER

Many learner drivers are added to someone else’s insurance policy as a ‘named driver’. This saves on the need to set up your own policy, but it can be expensive. As well as bumping up your parents’ insurance premium, if you have a mishap they could

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lose their no claims bonus. And that could make things pretty tense at home!

LEARNER DRIVER INSURANCE

Alternatively, you could arrange your own learner driver insurance cover. This means that if you do put a dent in mum or dad’s motor, you won’t put a dent in their bank balance – you’ll claim on your own policy. There are usually restrictions on the insurance group and value of the car you can drive, but it’s a simple way to find cover without putting anyone else’s no claims bonus at risk, while starting to build up your own.

PUTTING LEARNER INSURANCE TO THE TEST Chloe Hodgson, 17, from Manchester, organised her own motor insurance policy with Adrian Flux so she could take extra lessons in her father’s car. It was cheaper taking a policy of her own rather than being added to his policy which could put his no claims bonus at risk. She said: “Adrian Flux does all the hard work for you, shopping around until they find something that’s just right for you. “There’s no complicated online forms, just one quick phone call. And when I pass my test they’ll help me find the best deal for my new annual policy. I will definitely use Adrian Flux again.”


LEARNER DRIVER INSURANCE GET THE BEST INSURANCE QUOTE OVER THE PHONE! What to know before you call: How long you want your policy for - we have 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 12 month policies available Your vehicle registration number (if you have one) How much your car is worth & an average of how many miles you’ll do per month/year If adding a parent(s) to your policy, you’ll need to know their DOB, when they passed their test, claims & convictions info We are not on comparison websites! Get our best rates by calling our friendly team on 0800 085 6491

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CUT COSTS BY CALLING 0800 085 6491 Visit adrianflux.co.uk/learner-drivers for tips & videos

Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority

*Based on taking out an annual comprehensive policy costing £300


FIRSTCAR THEORY EDITION

THE PRACTICAL TEST

W H AT TO E X PEC T Passed the theory test? Then the practical test is all that stands between you and your full driving licence HOW LONG IS THE DRIVING TEST? You’ll spend around 40 minutes behind the wheel, driving on a variety of roads. WHAT HAPPENS BEFORE I START DRIVING? First of all, you’ll need to show you can see well enough to drive. That means reading a numberplate from 20 metres away (or 20.5 metres if it’s an old-style numberplate). If you can’t, the test will be over before it has really started, so don’t forget your contact lenses or glasses if you need them to see clearly. You’ll also be asked a ‘tell me’ question, such as “How would you check the headlights and tail lights are operating correctly?”. You don’t need to make the check, just prove to the examiner that you know how it’s done. (In case this one comes up, the answer is you would turn on the switch with the ignition on if necessary, then walk around the car.) If you get the ‘tell me’ question wrong you’ll have

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notched up a driving fault, but you won’t automatically fail the test. WHAT CAN I EXPECT WHEN I’M DRIVING? For 20 minutes out of the 40 you’ll be driving independently. That means following road signs or a sat nav to a destination. You won’t have to enter the destination into the sat nav – the examiner will do that for you. Don’t worry if you take a wrong turn, what’s really important is that you drive safely and legally. You’ll be asked a ‘show me’ question while you’re driving. It could be as simple as showing how you would turn on the rear demister, or wash and clean the windscreen. As well as making a hill start, pulling out from behind a parked car, and making a normal stop at the side of the road, you may need to make an emergency stop. You’ll also need to carry out one of three reversing manoeuvres (see page 32 to learn how they are done properly).

HOW GOOD DO I NEED TO BE TO PASS? You need to prove that you are safe and competent – the examiner is not expecting perfection. If you don’t feel ready for the test, contact the DVSA to put it back. But don’t delay just because you are feeling nervous – that’s normal!


PRACTICAL TEST RODNEY’S

TOP TIP

Get an early ni before the big ght day. You want to be as fre and alert as po sh ssible when you take the test.

YOUR CHECKLIST FOR

PRACTICAL TEST

SUCCESS If you can put a tick in all these boxes you won’t go far wrong

A POSITIVE ATTITUDE

Your instructor wouldn’t encourage you to take the test if you weren’t ready, so believe in yourself without being cocky.

GOOD TIMEKEEPING

Allow plenty of time to reach the test centre. Your stress levels will go through the roof if you are running late.

YOUR PROVISIONAL LICENCE

How hard would you kick yourself if you turned up without your provisional licence? Don’t forget you’ll need your theory test pass certificate too.

SENSIBLE CLOTHES AND FOOTWEAR

Wear clothes you feel comfortable in, and shoes which make it easy for you to operate the pedals safely.

BE WILLING TO LEARN

Just over half of practical tests end with a thumbs down from the examiner. Don’t be surprised if this happens to you, even if you’ve been flying in your lessons. You’ll be told why you have failed at the end of the test so you can correct what went wrong next time. WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE TEST? Whether you have passed or failed, the examiner will talk you through any faults. If you made the grade, you’ll be given a pass certificate. If you didn’t pass and you’re feeling really down, it may be better to have your instructor drive you home. But let’s hope you pass!

● There are plenty more tips on preparing for your practical test at firstcar. co.uk/learnto-drive.

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FIRSTCAR THEORY EDITION

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PRACTICAL TEST

FIRSTCAR THEORY EDITION

LILLY’S

TOP TIP

If you don’t fe el ready for your test, it’ easy to change s really the date on www.gov.u k/ch driving-test an anged give yourself more time to build your confidence.

5 WAYS TO BEAT T E ST NERVES There’s no point in pretending you won’t be nervous as your practical test looms. But there are steps you can take to prevent nerves taking over.

1: AVOID PEER PRESSURE

You don’t have to tell your friends when your test is coming up. Just keep the test date to yourself.

2: PRACTISE, PRACTISE, PRACTISE

Which type of roads and manoeuvres get your palms sweating? Maybe your blood pressure rises whenever you tackle a roundabout, or perhaps reverse parking gives you a dry throat. Don’t avoid the aspects of driving which make you anxious. Discuss them with your instructor, and practise them until you feel more confident.

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3: REMEMBER, WORRY MAKES IT WORSE The trouble with worry is that it interferes with your concentration. Your mind focuses on what might go wrong instead of what you need to do next. Try to block negative thoughts and give driving your full attention.

4: THINK SUCCESSFUL THOUGHTS Your instructor wouldn’t put you in for your test if they didn’t think you were ready. Remember all the times you have successfully tackled difficult junctions, mastered manoeuvres, or properly parallel parked. You’ve done these things well before, so you can do them again.

5: GO EASY ON YOURSELF

Even if you keep your nerves in check, you may fail your

test. It seems like a big deal, but it’s not the end of the world, and there’s strong evidence it will make you a better driver in the long run.

READ ABOUT IT The Official DVSA Guide to Better Driving is a useful book that covers how a driver’s behaviour is just as important as their skill. Normally priced at £9.99, FirstCar readers can save 20% on this title by applying BD20 at the checkout when you visit www.safedrivingforlife. info or quote BD20 when calling 01603 696979.


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Get on the road to saving Earn up to 21% EXTRA OFF your car insurance Amazing job on your cornering.

You’re on track for a big discount.

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PRACTICAL TEST

FIRSTCAR THEORY EDITION

SHOW ME/TELL ME

QU E S T I O N S Before you start the driving part of your practical test, the examiner will ask you a ‘tell me’ question. You’ll have to explain how you’d undertake a simple task on your car, such as checking the tyre pressures. Fail to answer correctly and you’ll notch up a driver fault. The ‘show me’ question is asked while you are driving. You’ll need to demonstrate that you can carry out a basic safety task, such as demisting the windscreen. Neither question should trip you up so long as you prepare thoroughly.

It’s your chance to prove you know how your car works

TYPICAL SHOW ME QUESTIONS Can you show me how you’d set the rear demister? While still driving carefully, push the demister

button, then switch it off again. When it’s safe, can you show how you’d switch on your dipped headlights? Turn the headlights on using the appropriate

control. It’s likely to be a rotary control to the side of the steering wheel or a twist switch on the indicator stalk. Your instructor will have made sure you are familiar with the all the important controls in the car.

TYPICAL TELL ME QUESTIONS Tell me where you would find the information for the recommended tyre pressures for this car and how its tyre pressures should be checked. Information will be found using the car manufacturer’s manual. The figures may also be inside the driver’s door, fuel filler flap or

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on the back of one of the sun visors. Check the tyre pressures by using a reliable pressure gauge when the tyres are cold. Don’t forget the spare and remember to refit the valve caps. Tell me how you make sure your head restraint is correctly adjusted so it

provides the best protection in the event of a crash. The restraint should be adjusted so the rigid part of it is at least as high as the eye or top of the ears, and as close to the back of the head as is comfortable. Bear in mind that some restraints aren’t adjustable.


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NEW DRIVER

insurance

Get m d fro insure r 85p unde y* a da

Reasons to insure with Adrian Flux: Cover can be taken out on a month-by-month basis, so you only pay for the cover you need before passing your test. Comprehensive policies available for vehicles up to insurance group 45. Policies can be arranged on either your own car or a policy in your name on a parent's car.

Any claim will be settled on the learner driver's insurance policy and will not affect the no claims bonus of the vehicle owner's insurance.** If you’re a twin there’s no need to pay double. Add your brother or sister to your policy for just 30% more.

CUT COSTS BY CALLING 0800 085 916 1290 6491 Visit adrianflux.co.uk/learner-drivers adrianflux.co.uk/first-car for tipsfor & videos tips & videos

Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority

* Based on taking out an annual comprehensive policy costing £300. **If the vehicle belongs to someone else


FIRSTCAR THEORY EDITION

STAY SAFE You could end up in the doghouse

The honest truth about...

DRINK & DRUGS D RINK, DRUGS AND driving don’t mix. Fortunately millennials drink less than their parents. According to a recent survey, just one-in-ten see getting drunk as “cool”. Four-in-ten see it as “pathetic” or “embarrassing”.

T H E HON E TRUTH ST T

HT is a n safety cam ational road p closely wit aign that works h police, fi re, local authoritie s instructors and driving . Fin at thehon d out more esttruth. co.uk

So, if your mates think you’re an idiot as you stagger home from the pub, imagine how they’ll react if you reach for your car keys? Most drivers, young or old, wouldn’t dream of drinking and driving. But there’s still a core of offenders who think they will get away with it, or simply don’t care. And their recklessness led to an estimated 290 deaths in 2017, according to government statistics. Drug driving is just as serious. Driving with more than the specified level of 17 legal and illegal drugs is against the law. Even small quantities could put you over the limit, and might interfere with medicines used to try to save your life if you crash.

DRINK & THE LAW The maximum permitted level of blood alcohol while driving in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. In Scotland it’s 50mg/100ml. Even small amounts of alcohol will affect your driving, and it’s easy to be over the limit the morning after a night out. So the best advice is to avoid alcohol completely if you are driving. Get caught over the limit, and you could face... ✪ six months in prison ✪ an unlimited fine ✪ a driving ban for at least a year.

firstcar.co.uk

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FIRSTCAR THEORY EDITION

The honest truth about...

SEAT BELTS E VERYONE WEARS A seat belt, don’t they? Surely it’s a no-brainer. Well, most drivers and passengers do. Government stats show that... ✪ 99% of us put on belts when we drive ✪ 93% of front-seat passengers wear a seat belt ✪ 90% of rear-seat passengers put on a belt.

The problem is, that still leaves a minority of people who don’t belt up. And there are serious consequences. Take a look at the stats for car occupant fatalities, and you’ll

find 27% weren’t wearing a belt when they died. That’s over 200 people per year who might still be alive if they had put on their seat belt. It’s not just you who could be hurt if you don’t wear a belt. If you are in a crash at 30mph, your body will hit whatever’s in front of it at a force that’s 30-60 times your own body weight – the same force as a charging rhino. Don’t make the mistake of thinking an airbag will do the seat belt’s job. Airbags are a supplementary restraint system – it’s the seat belt which they supplement.

SEAT BELTS AND THE LAW You must wear a seat belt if one is fitted in the seat you are using. There are a handful of exceptions but they are unlikely to apply to you. As a driver, you are also responsible for making sure any child under 14 is wearing a seat belt or travelling in a suitable child seat, depending on their age and height. The seat belt is probably the single most effective piece of safety equipment in any car, credited with saving more than a million lives worldwide. Why wouldn’t you wear one?

Always belt up on every journey

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STAY SAFE Are they laughing with you or at you?

The honest truth about...

SHOWING OFF P

ASS THE PRACTICAL test, and you can give your mates a lift. It really is a great feeling, especially if you are one of the first in your circle of friends to pass. Why wouldn’t you be proud of your full driving licence and the skills you have learned? But all too easily, that pride can turn to arrogance. With the confidence a full licence brings, and no highly trained instructor or watchful parent keeping an eye on you, it can be tempting to let speeds creep up, to brake later, or corner harder. Think twice, though. You’re more likely to scare your

friends than impress them. The National Travel Attitudes Study 2019 shows that a massive 82% of people think it’s never acceptable to speed even slightly on residential streets. So driving quickly and aggressively is going to make you look irresponsible and immature. Here are just some of the reasons why showing off behind the wheel is a bad idea... ✪ You could lose your licence. Driving without due care and attention covers things like driving too close to the car in front or overtaking on the inside. It

could lead to between three and nine penalty points, and six is enough to say goodbye to your licence in your first two years on the road. ✪ You could lose money or even your car. The fine for driving without due care and attention may be up to £2500. Persistent offenders could have their car seized. ✪ You could lose your friends. Not only good you alienate the very people you are trying to impress, showing off could cost a friend their life. More young females are killed as passengers than drivers...

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STAY SAFE

FIRSTCAR THEORY EDITION

Driving blind as a bat

THREE WA BE PHONEYSS TO AFE 1 - Switc

h it off. You can’t be distra cted by a phone if it’s not on. 2 - Do not dist ur smartphone ha b. If your s blocks calls an a mode that d messages, switch it on be fore driving. 3 - Block it. A signal-blockin g pouch like So lon Defender Sign Security’s al calls getting th Blocker stops rough.

The honest truth about...

MOBILE PHONES

Y

OU’RE DRIVING WHEN the phone rings. You know you shouldn’t pick it up but it’s your best mate calling. You reach down to answer and... your licence is gone. Get caught using a handheld mobile and you face six points and a £200 fine. For a driver in their first couple of years on the road that’s enough for you to lose your licence. There’s another scenario that’s even more serious. Maybe it’s a pedestrian rather than a police officer around the next corner. They step out into the road and you don’t see them in time because you’re on your phone. Most drivers have the sense

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to leave their phone alone while driving. According to the RAC Report on Motoring, some 77% don’t make handheld calls

(although hands-free calls are also a dangerous distraction). Be part of the safe majority, not the reckless minority.

HANDHELD VS HANDS-FREE The law treats handheld calls differently from handsfree, but the University of Sussex has found that it’s the conversation rather than holding the phone to your ear that takes your mind away from driving. So while a hands-free call may be legal, that doesn’t make it safe. Anything that allows a phone to take your attention

away from the road is a no-no. That includes... ✪ hands-free calls as well as handheld ✪ checking a text ✪ catching up on social media ✪ playing music. It’s better to put the phone down. When you drive, just drive.


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R A E G O T N I T F I H S k u . o c . r a c t s r i f h t i w drivers ce for young vi E s s e nt i a l a d

V

 xpert advice: E helping you pass your test, to buying your first car  ailored content T for new drivers, whatever your driving experience Pick your first car 40+ new cars reviewed  REE regular F newsletter  in a brand new W Vauxhall Corsa worth £15,750

! w o n k u . o c . r i s it : f i rstca


FIRSTCAR THEORY EDITION

THE BEST USED CARS road Get on the for less with the right used car

UP TO £10,OO O

HYUNDAI I20 (15-) Euro NCAP safety rating Four stars (2015) Warranty Direct Reliability Index/repair cost 14/£122.14 Insurance From Group 4 A used Hyundai is a safe bet, especially if you choose the excellent i20. It’s our favourite used car for under £10,000, and a car we’d highly

recommend. One of the big plus points of choosing the i20 is the transferable five-year warranty. Even as the second or third owner, cover continues until the car is five years old with no mileage limitation. So you should be protected against any unexpected bills. There’s a good chance you

ESSENTIAL CHECKS before you buy a used car 1 Check for dents and scrapes that could be expensive to put right. 2  Does the paint on every panel match? If not, why not? 3 Does the VIN number (usually found at the base of the windscreen) match the one on the registration document? 4 Look for stickers on the windows being used to cover an old reg number

etched into the glass. 5 B  e sure all the electrics work. Check the radio, windows, lights – everything. 6 Have the tyres worn unevenly? Irregular wear suggests the tracking is out (an easy fix) but could be something more serious (and expensive). 7 Have the steering wheel and gearknob worn

won’t have to claim on the warranty, given how reliable Hyundais are. The independent warranty provider, Warranty Direct, compiles its Reliability Index based on the thousands of cars it covers. The i20 is one of the most reliable small cars on its books, and the average repair cost is very low too. The Hyundai has a fourstar rating from the safety experts at Euro NCAP, and while some rivals go one better with the full five stars, a score of four out of five is still very respectable. From the driver’s seat, the i20 is very easy to get on with – just what you want from a first car as you build up experience on the road. What’s more, the Hyundai is comfortable and practical for its size. smooth? Does this tally with the recorded mileage? 8 D  oes the car have a valid MOT? If so, were any faults noted? Check at gov.uk/check-mot-history. 9 H  as the car been serviced on time and to the manufacturer’s instructions? Check the service book carefully. 10 Find out the car’s history through an organisation like HPI.co.uk to learn if the car has been stolen, written off, or is still on finance.

All prices are approximate as of March 2020.

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CAR BUYING

UP TO £5 OO O KIA PICANTO (11-17) Euro NCAP safety rating Four stars (2011) Warranty Direct Reliability Index/ repair cost 18/£155.47 Insurance From Group 2 The design of the Kia Picanto still looks modern, even though it’s nine years old. More importantly, unless you buy a very early example of the previous generation Picanto, it will still be covered by Kia’s seven-year warranty. With a budget of £5000, you should be able to find a wide choice of Picantos without travelling too far from home. What’s more, the Picanto is well equipped, inexpensive to buy and cheap to run.

UP TO £2 OO O

WHERE TO BUY INDEPENDENT DEALERS Likely to have higher mileage cars than main dealers at lower prices.

FORD FIESTA (02-08) Euro NCAP safety rating Four stars (2002) Warranty Direct Reliability Index/repair cost 50/£263.93 Insurance From Group 5 If you’re on a tight budget, there’s no better first car than the Fiesta. The version that was sold from 2002 to 2008 still has lots to offer. It’s an easy car to drive, and won’t hold any nasty surprises for an inexperienced driver. And while you can’t expect the safety features you’d find in a modern car, for its age the Fiesta is very safe. Reliability is good and running costs are reasonable.

MAIN DEALER Expect a good selection of low-mileage cars, but no bargains.

PRIVATELY

Usually cheap, but don’t expect a warranty.

CAR SUPERMARKETS Big independent dealers, lots of choice. Service can be no-frills, so go in with your eyes open and don’t feel under pressure to buy.

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CAR BUYING

FIRSTCAR THEORY EDITION

B U Y I NG A N EW C A R

Think a new car is out A used car is always going to cost less than a new one, isn’t it? Well, yes, if you look at the purchase price alone. Things aren’t quite so clear cut if you start to consider servicing, any unexpected repairs, and the cost of finance if you (or your parents) take out a loan to pay for the car. Can I afford a new car? There are finance products aimed at young drivers, such as Marmalade’s Cars for Young Drivers or Peugeot’s Just Add Fuel with Telematics. These bundle the cost of the car and insurance into a single monthly payment. Compare the combined cost of buying

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of reach? Maybe not...

and insuring an older second-hand car with the monthly payment for this kind of new car finance deal, and you could be surprised... What about running costs? You can expect to pay less to fuel a new car than one that’s, say, five years old. Choosing a new car should protect you against unexpected bills, too, as any faults should be covered under warranty. Some finance products cover the cost of routine servicing as well. How about a nearly new car? A car that’s almost new (say, less than a year old) can be a

good buy, saving thousands over the list price of a new model while still having most of the car’s warranty left to run. Don’t assume a nearly new car is always cheaper, though – if a new car is offered with a low-rate or 0% finance deal, it could actually work out cheaper in the long run to buy brand new rather than nearly new. So, should I buy new? A quality used car will normally work out cheaper overall, but don’t assume that’s the case until you’ve checked how much you would pay to buy a new car on finance – especially if the finance deal includes the cost of insurance.


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FIRSTCAR THEORY EDITION

THE BEST NEW CARS for young drivers Here’s our pick of the coolest and most affordable small cars

M FRO , 19 0 £ 14

RENAULT CLIO Euro NCAP safety rating Five stars (2019) Autonomous emergency braking Standard Insurance From Group 3E DAB Standard Bluetooth Standard Apple CarPlay/Android Auto Standard (except Play) We reckon the Renault Clio is one of the best looking small cars around. That doesn’t necessarily make it a great buy, of course, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. Fortunately the Clio ticks lots of sensible boxes as well. The safety gurus at Euro NCAP awarded the car five stars, with a near-perfect score of 96% for adult occupant protection. In fact, Euro NCAP rated the Clio as the best supermini they tested in 2019. You don’t need to buy one of the more expensive versions to get plenty of safety kit.

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We’ve reviewed lots of new cars online. Go to bit.ly/fcreviews

NISSAN MICRA Euro NCAP safety rating Five stars (2017) Autonomous emergency braking Standard Insurance From Group 8E DAB Standard (except Visia +) Bluetooth Standard Apple CarPlay/Android Auto Standard (except Visia +) You could do a lot worse than start out as a new driver behind the wheel of the Nissan Micra. It’s a very safe car, with a five-star rating from Euro NCAP. Autonomous emergency braking is included in the price, along with other high-tech driver aids. The Micra has a lower starting price than the Ford Fiesta, and there’s plenty of scope to personalise the looks inside and out.

OM 5 FR 4,69 £1

Autonomous emergency braking is standard even if you buy the most affordable Clio. Renault’s system can detect bicycles and pedestrians as well as other cars. Prices are pretty fair considering the equipment that comes as standard, including digital radio and Bluetooth. Low fuel and insurance bills keep running costs down.


CAR BUYING OM 0* FR 5,67 £2

TOP HACK

RENAULT ZOE Euro NCAP safety rating Five stars (2013) Autonomous emergency braking Not available Insurance From 20A DAB Standard Bluetooth Standard Apple CarPlay/Android Auto Standard New drivers will need pretty deep pockets to buy a Zoe as a first car. But, if you are looking for a car that’s safe, green and easy to drive, there’s nothing better. Being fully electric the Zoe emits no carbon dioxide (or any other gas) and recharging costs much less than a tank *after plug-in car grant

If you are lucky enough to be shopping for a brand new first car, look for one with autonomous emergency braking (AEB). This high-tech driver aid will brake for you if you have a lapse of concentration.

VOLKSWAGEN POLO Euro NCAP safety rating Five stars (2017) Autonomous emergency braking Standard Insurance From 1E DAB Standard Bluetooth Standard Apple CarPlay Android Auto Standard (except S) Not many superminis come close to the Volkswagen Polo’s score in Euro NCAP safety tests. As well as being very safe, it’s easy to drive, beautifully made, and surprisingly affordable to run. Definitely one of the best first cars around!

PHOTOGRAPHY: MANUFACTURERS

OM 5 FR 5,99 1 £

FIRSTCAR

FAVOURITES

Seat Ibiza From £15,825

Peugeot 208 From £16,250

OM 0 FR 5,39 1 £

FORD FIESTA Euro NCAP safety rating Five stars (2017) Autonomous emergency braking From £350 (price varies) Insurance From 5E DAB Standard Bluetooth Standard Apple CarPlay/Android Auto Standard The Fiesta is a brilliant supermini and a first car any young driver would be proud to own. It costs more to buy than the Nissan Micra, but the Ford is safe, practical, easy to drive and great fun. It’s Britain’s best-selling car for a reason! Toyota Aygo From £9825

Vauxhall Corsa From £15,750

Here are some of our other best buys

firstcar.co.uk

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HOW TO FIND CHEAP CAR INSURANCE


FIRSTCAR THEORY EDITION

C A R IN SU R A NC E

DOS AND DON’TS Stumping up for insurance is one of the least fun things about driving. Here’s what to do – and what not to do – to make insuring your car a little bit less painful DO... shop around. You might think that entering your details into a price comparison site is enough, but some leading insurance companies aren’t on price comparison sites. It will mean a bit more form filling or time on the telephone, but if you get the right cover at the right price, it has to be worth a little effort. DO... pick up the phone. Getting a quick quote over the internet is easy, but it’s often worthwhile to talk over your options with a real person rather than a computer screen. 38

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If you find anything about an insurer’s online form confusing, a phone call should put you straight and avoid making a mistake with your details which could come back to bite you when you make a claim.

DO... think about black box

insurance (also known as telematics insurance). With a black box policy a device is installed in your car to report back to your insurer. Drive well (obey the speed limit, no harsh acceleration of braking) and you can expect to be rewarded with a lower premium. Drive badly (for example, speeding or

driving aggressively) and your premium could go up. As a rule, though, black box insurance works out much cheaper for new drivers than a conventional policy.

DON’T... lie to the insurer. What seems like a little white lie to cut the cost of cover is actually fraud, and could mean the insurer won’t pay out if you need to make a claim. So be scrupulously honest about your age, driving history, where the car is kept, and who the main driver is (pretending your car is really mum or dad’s is called fronting, and it’s illegal!).


INSURANCE

Want to know more about insurance? We’ve got you covered. Go to bit.ly/fcydins

RODNEY’S

TOP TIP

Be wary of fake insurance ads on social media. Alway s check for a website and a address and ph UK one number.

DON’T... simply choose the cheapest policy. Look closely at the excess (how much you’ll have to pay out yourself if you claim), any limitations on mileage, or other restrictions. Check whether you are entitled to a replacement car while yours is being repaired. Weigh up what you get for your money before deciding which policy is right for you. DON’T... modify your car. Bigger alloys, tinted windows, lowered suspension, or an uprated stereo may be very tempting, but many young driver specialists won’t cover modified cars. And if they do, you can bet you’ll have to pay a lot more for the privilege.

“Don’t put theory in the corner” KATEY-ROSE GREGORY INGENIE ROAD SAFETY WRITER In some drivers’ minds, the theory test is the easy bit. It’s the part you can study for parrot-fashion, memorising the bits you need, ticking the right boxes and then getting ready for the REAL test. It’s very easy to think that theory is less important than the driving test and it’s probably because the practical seems SO big – but it shouldn’t be that way. Why? Because you’re going to need your road knowledge for the rest of your driving life. We’re all guilty of cramming our brains with what we need to get through an exam and then dumping that information as soon as we’ve left the exam hall. After all, we’re not robots with an unlimited storage to retain information. But as important as your maths and science exams

are, forgetting how to find the square root of a parallelogram (is that a thing?) a few years later is not going to put you in danger. What will matter – forever – is not recognising a give way sign. Trust me when I say there is no scarier feeling than driving on your own for the first time and realising the person you could always ask, “That means I need to stop, right?” is no longer there. Don’t underestimate the importance of holding on to your theory knowledge. Not just to pass the test but to keep yourself, your passengers and others around you safe. Being confident on the road and enjoying driving is the aim of the game.


Pass or fail

bought to you by

If y

You’re either dancing around with joy right now or feeling like you’ve been mugged. Whichever it is, you’ve got quite a bit of work ahead of you, so take a look at our tips for what to do next.

Here’s what’s next for you… If you didn’t pass…

Don’t despair! The pass rate for the theory test was only 47% last year so you’re not alone. Luckily, you have a lot of control over how you do in the theory test, so there’s loads you can do to pass next time. You’ll also be under less pressure as you know exactly what the process is now.

How to smash the theory test next time CHAT ER H WITH OTERS LEARN

Before the test 

Read through the Highway Code and DVSA guides to driving and traffic signs

We’ve set up a private page for learners and new drivers to share their test experiences: the tears, the fails and the passes!

Practise hazard perception with Drive iQ or the official DVSA app

Test yourself with a theory test question app

Just search It’s OK 2 Fail to join us on Facebook.

Ask someone to test you every night for the week before

av

F


ow r it so

e

On test day  Have one last run through your theory test app  Get to the test centre early so you’re relaxed  Flag every question you’re not sure about  Use all the time you’re given to keep checking through Need more help with preparing for your next theory test? Check out ingenie.com/young-drivers-guide.

If you passed… You’re amazing. You put in the work and you aced it. Now, you can concentrate on preparing for the practical test: putting all that theory stuff into practise.

Now what?  Don’t delete that theory app. It will keep up your Highway Code knowledge, which is very important for your practical test.  Talk to your instructor about whether you’re ready to do some private practise. You need around 47 hours of lessons and 22 hours of private practise before you take your test.  Think about sorting some learner driver insurance, so you can practise outside of your lessons in different traffic situations.

Insurance that rewards good drivers Black box insurance for new drivers

Our drivers save an average of £400 on their car insurance*

You can earn up to an extra 21% discount for good driving

And you can stay on track with feedback via the app

Find out more at ingenie.com Premium increase could apply for poor driving. *Based on customer responses Jul 17 to Jun 18


FIRSTCAR THEORY EDITION

S E X C K EY ON EDUCATI

’S

A M A on’, M M ex E ducati hanged E ‘S , a m a r d etf lix teen er life has c N Star of the ey talks about how h k E mma Mac 42

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INTERVIEW

S

Photo: Jon Hall/Netflix/Kobal/Shutterstock Words: Jason Adams/Hot Features

EASON TWO OF hit Netflix series ‘Sex Education’ hits screens for an eight-episode return in early 2020. Maeve Wiley [Emma Mackey], Otis Milburn [Asa Butterfield] and their schoolmates are back together for more teenage struggles. Otis is a socially awkward high school student who lives with his sex therapist mother, Jean [Gillian Anderson]. In season one, Otis and his friend Maeve set up a sex clinic at school to capitalise on his intuitive talent for sex advice. When the show returns, late bloomer Otis must master his newly discovered sexual urges in order to progress with his girlfriend Ola [Patricia Allison], while also dealing with his now strained relationship with Maeve. So Emma, what can you tell us about season two of ‘Sex Education’? EM: All I can say is it’s great. We’ve got new characters and new subjects to tackle and yeah, it’s going to be really fun. You must have been really pleased the new series was announced? EM: So glad. It would have been such a shame if we hadn’t have gone back. So how did you first get involved with ‘Sex Education’? EM: I read the script and did four or five rounds of auditions, including a screen test and yeah, then I got the part. What were all those auditions like? EM: They were very nice. They were very warm people and very welcoming and I didn’t think that… because in my head I was like, ‘It’s Netflix, they’re going to

want someone with profile.’ So I took the pressure off and was like, ‘I’m never going to get it so I’m just going to have fun.’ And so it took the pressure off completely and I was like, ‘Yeah this is really fun, I’m going to play Maeve!’ How did you find the nudity and sex scenes in the show? Is all that quite scary for a young actress? EM: They’re not necessarily difficult scenes – they weren’t for me anyway! But when reading the script for the first time I was like, ‘Erm excuse me!’ [laughs] I was just starting so obviously when you see nudity and you see sex and especially English people are very like stiff upper lip. And so, at the beginning I was nervous but because we had an intimacy coordinator, Ita [O’Brien], with us before production happened and during production and during the scenes – it was so structured and safe and it was like practising a dance. It was all handled really well. What do you think makes Sex Education so different to other teen TV shows? EM: Everything! No, joking [laughs]. The thing is that it’s funny because it’s like the magic formula isn’t it? Like, the weird guy with the best friend who wants the girl. But we break that stereotype so much, like at every level. All the characters are not at all what you expect them to be and I think it’s brilliant the way that, you know, Otis [Asa Butterfield] could very easily just be like a weird geek at school but he’s actually stupidly clever and very aware and non-judgemental. When he really gets into the therapy, he doesn’t judge people. For example, there’s often like a fetishization of lesbian couples and when he’s trying to help the

All the characters are not what you expect them to be and I think it’s brilliant girls, he doesn’t objectify them at all. He’s really trying to help them. I think it’s really cool that Jackson, who is like the big star, the jock, has anxiety and takes anxiety medication and has the pushy parents. It’s really cool to subvert all of those classic tropes. Do you think all this freedom comes from Netflix? EM: I think it’s the writing. Laurie [Nunn] and the writers did such a good job of balancing everything and really crafting these characters and making sure that they all had their own storyline. Your life must have changed when the first season came out. How did you cope with that? EM: When ‘Sex Education’ came out it was very intense and it was like press every day and interviews and photoshoots and fashion stuff and events and for a month I was like, ‘What’s going on? What’s happening?’ And suddenly you’re being dressed and people are doing your makeup and it’s so weird. Really it’s just about finding the balance and going in the complete opposite way. Any time I have a moment alone at home where I can make my breakfast and have a nice cup of tea and listen to my music and read a book… What kind of music do you listen to? EM: Oh god so many. I have loads of my playlists on Spotify. I have a Maeve Wiley play list, I

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INTERVIEW

FIRSTCAR THEORY EDITION Do you feel that now you are part of the Netflix family you will do other shows with them? EM: I’d rather have a really good story and know that the team behind it I can trust and do whatever with it, whether it’s on Netflix or on BBC or whatever. Do you see yourself more in hollywood? EM: [laughs] Again, it doesn’t matter where it is. It can be on Spanish telly for all I care. I want to do theatre, I want to Emma was born in Le Mans, do radio plays, I want France. She has a British to read an audio book mother and a French father. one day – they are my She studied English at goals. I just want to keep working. And just making Leeds University. sure that it’s really diverse and there’s a real variety because that’s the most fun. Why would you play the same characters in the same films? What kind of reaction have Hollywood is fine but for the you got from people about moment it’s just like Marvel and the show? I’m not really interested in big EM: It’s pretty good. No-one has blockbusters that are just there said anything bad, even people in for money. my life who I would have thought wouldn’t have liked it, really What kind of movies would loved it. you like to make? EM: Loads. I just want to work. What about fan mail? Have I want to work and tell good you had any odd fans? stories. It’s interesting because EM: The fan mail goes to my people always ask like, ‘Do you agent, I haven’t received any. But want to play a specific role? Do my parents, bless them, received you want to do a specific genre?’ a couple of letters from people. I don’t. I’ve never had that. I don’t They were hand-written letters, think that’s how actors think like really sweet, sent to my home anyway, maybe there are some, address in France – which is a bit but I think that if the right script creepy! But they were completely comes along and the right story sweet and like, ‘You should be comes along just go for it and really proud of your daughter’ hopefully you get the part. and ‘My grandson really loves the show.’ Just like really sweet. Yeah Finally, what else have you people have been really positive. got coming up? I haven’t really had any bad… I’m EM: I’ve got some really exciting sure there are, which is fine. But opportunities and really cool I personally haven’t had any bad characters – that are very feedback, which is amazing. different to Maeve! ●

EMMA MACKEY

have classical music, which I love listening to. I have a kind of a soul, jazz playlist. I listen to more modern hip-hop, ’90s hip-hop – everything. There’s a playlist for every mood in my life. What’s on the Maeve Wiley playlist? EM: It’s really good – you should go and have a look, just saying! I’m passionate about music as well and so just having something really simple like having playlists and crafting playlists and making sure that they are like tailored to a certain mood – I love doing that. Do you think ‘Sex Education’ will help teenagers? EM: Definitely. It’s helped them already, even people my age, 23 - I’m so old! – people my age coming up to me or sending me messages like, ‘This has helped my so much. I thought I was really dirty…’

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Photo: Sam Taylor/Netflix/Kobal/Shutterstock

FACTS!


MASTER YOUR MANOEUVRES

FIRSTCAR THEORY EDITION

How to rule...

REVERSING

Need more help with reversing? Take a look at the FirstCar website! bit.ly/fcreverse

The practical test’s reversing manoeuvres need lots of work to get right. But don’t worry! Here’s how to reverse like a pro...

PULL UP ON THE RIGHT AND REVERSE STEP 1: LOOK AROUND FOR A SAFE SPOT The examiner will ask you to “Pull up on the right where it is safe to do so”. Find a safe spot for the manoeuvre. You shouldn’t stop directly behind a parked vehicle or close to a junction. Don’t block a driveway or entrance.

1

2

STEP 2: REMEMBER MIRROR, SIGNAL, MANOEUVRE Now check your mirrors and over your shoulder. Then indicate right. Look ahead for oncoming traffic, check in your mirrors and over your shoulder again.

3 5 4

STEP 3: PULL OVER TO THE RIGHT Make your way over to the right-hand side of the road at a relatively shallow angle. Aim to stop in a straight line and parallel with the kerb, close to it without hitting it.

STEP 4: GET READY TO REVERSE Select reverse gear. Allow any traffic to pass. Now check to make sure it’s clear behind you. Reverse slowly and stay close to the kerb, continuing to keep a close eye out for traffic.

STEP 5: REJOINING TRAFFIC Look ahead, in your mirrors and over your shoulder to check it’s clear. If there’s a safe gap in both directions signal left and pull away, moving over to the left side of the road.

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FIRSTCAR THEORY EDITION

DID YOU KNOW?

REVERSING INTO A PARKING BAY STEP 1: STAY OUT Reversing into a parking bay is much easier if you give yourself a bit of space to work with before you go backwards. So, don’t stay too close to the row of bays you will reverse into. Instead, check ahead and behind you, and if traffic allows move out around half a car’s width from the bays. Indicate in the direction you will be turning.

You’ll have to do one of three reversing manoeuvres. But you won’t know which until the day! STEP 2: SWING IN Come to a stop just beyond the bay you will be parking in. Select reverse gear, and have a good look around you to check for other cars or anyone on foot. If it’s clear, look out of the rear windscreen and start to reverse backwards, turning towards the bay.

3

2

1

4

5 STEP 3: TAKE IT SLOW It’s important to take your time rather than rush. Reversing slowly will give you time to adjust the direction of the car, aiming for the middle of the bay. It may help to use your outside mirrors as reference points – think of each mirror ending up just inside the white lines which mark either side of the bay.

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STEP 4: KEEP LOOKING AROUND YOU Good observation is crucial to reverse parking. While your main focus is behind you, it’s important to keep glancing around. If pedestrians or other vehicles come close, wait until they have passed, unless it’s clear that they are waiting for you.

STEP 5: STRAIGHTEN UP THE CAR Once in the bay with the car in line with the white lines, straighten the wheel. If you are not quite straight, check for traffic and people on foot and, if it’s clear, pull forward a little, steering the car so it’s parallel with the white lines. Then reverse back again so the car is squarely within the bay.


MASTER YOUR MANOEUVRES

G PARALLEL PARKIN STEP 2: BE READY STEP 1: STOP MOVING You’ll be asked to pull up in a space that’s big enough for the car you’re driving. Stop level with the car you are going to reverse behind and no more than one metre out to the side.

TO REVERSE Select reverse gear while checking all around you to make sure it is safe to drive back, with no other traffic approaching. If it’s clear, start moving backwards slowly.

STEP 3: TURN THE WHEEL TO THE LEFT Look over your left shoulder to see where you are going. When the corner of the car you are reversing behind appears in your passenger-side window turn the wheel to the left one full turn.

1

Straight

STEP 4: KEEP LOOKING AROUND YOU Now check carefully all around you again to be sure there’s nobody walking close to the car or other road users nearby. If it’s safe to do so, continue to reverse back into the parking space.

5

3

2 4

6 Left

STEP 5: TURN THE WHEEL TO THE RIGHT Now turn the steering wheel hard the other way (two full turns should do it). This will tuck the nose of your car in toward the kerb. Just be careful that the front of your car is clear of the other vehicle.

Right

STEP 6: STRAIGHTEN THE WHEEL Once you are parallel with the kerb, straighten the wheel. It’s okay if you need to move back and forth a couple of times to tuck the car right in. Make sure you’re not sticking out into the road or on the kerb.

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FIRSTCAR THEORY EDITION

MAINTENANCE

BASICS

Invest just a few minutes each week to save a bundle of cash

Y

OUR CAR IS a complicated piece of machinery and there are lots of things that you won’t be able to do when it comes to maintenance. However, there are also loads of things that you can do, which will reduce the likelihood of problems and which will also help cut running costs. After all, when you take your car to the garage for a small job to be done, the biggest cost of the work is the labour charge. If you do the work yourself instead, you could save a packet.

Taking care of your car is easy when you know how. For more practical tips, go to bit.ly/runurcar

LIGHTS To help you be seen, and so you can see. Check them every week; with a mate it’ll take just a couple of minutes. Don’t forget the brake lights and indicators, the headlights, tail lights and number plate bulbs.

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TYRES Everything your car does, from accelerating to braking to cornering, depends on the grip provided by those four patches of rubber in contact with the ground. There’s a guide to caring for tyres on page 50.

firstcar.co.uk

ENGINE OIL Engines need to be topped up with oil sometimes; make sure the level doesn’t drop to a point where damage is caused. By the time the oil light illuminates on the dash, the damage may already have been done.

ENGINE COOLANT To stop your engine overheating the radiator must be filled with coolant. An engine shouldn’t use coolant; if the level drops there’s a problem. Every few years the coolant should be replaced.


MAINTENANCE

PASS THE MOT Once a car reaches three years old it needs an annual roadworthiness check, the MOT. This involves checking all sorts of safetycritical things and costs around £50, so save cash by making sure your car passes first time. Many garages will do a free retest if they’re given the job of putting things right. There are lots of things you can check yourself to make sure your car doesn’t fail on a fault you could easily fix yourself in just a few minutes. These include:

Washers and wipers Tyres: tread depths and while you’re at it, the pressures too All lights: check the dash warning lights work as well Handbrake: will it hold the car on an incline? Windows: are any damaged? Can each door be opened and closed from inside and outside? Does the horn work? Are the number plates undamaged? Do the indicators show orange, as they can fade over time? POWER STEERING FLUID Most cars have power steering; check the manual to see where the fluid reservoir is, then check the level. This should never drop. If it has, there’s a problem that needs to be investigated.

BRAKE FLUID There’s a reservoir for the braking system and you need to check its level. Expect the level to drop a little as the brakes wear, but never below the minimum level marked on the side of the reservoir.

WIPERS AND WASHERS If your wiper blades or washers fail you could be left driving blind. So replace your wiper blades every 12 months or so, and use a washer additive to help remove grease from the windscreen.

BATTERY Batteries tend to be maintenance-free, but if the battery is struggling to turn the engine over, you should try to replace it. Fail to do so and when it packs in altogether it’ll leave you stranded.

firstcar.co.uk

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MAINTENANCE

FIRSTCAR THEORY EDITION

D A E R T LY

CAREFUL Take care of your tyres and they will take care of you, helping you to stay safe

HOW TO CHECK YOUR TYRES 1

Make sure your tyres are cold before doing these checks. Start by parking the car on level ground and make sure it’s secure. Apply the handbrake for points 3-6, to make sure the car doesn’t roll away.

2

Check all the way round each tyre for damage such as cuts, bulges and nails or screws. For this it might be easiest to have a friend drive the car slowly backwards and forwards.

5

To check a tyre’s tread depth, insert a 20p coin into the tread grooves. If the outer rim of the coin is covered by the tread, your tyres are okay, but if the outer rim is visible, you need fresh rubber.

50

firstcar.co.uk

3

Look for uneven tyre wear, which could be a sign of a problem such as a worn part. You can always drop in and ask for advice at a reputable tyre fitter, who will normally give advice for free.

6

Finish by checking each tyre’s pressure when ‘cold’ – that is, when you’ve driven less than two miles. You’ll need a gauge for this – you can buy one for a tenner or the air machines at

4

Next, see how much tread is left – if the tyre has worn too much it could be illegal. There should be at least 1.6mm of tread all around and across the central threequarters of the tyre.

your local garage will have one. The correct pressures will be in the car’s handbook, or may be on a sticker on one of the door jambs. Don’t forget to check the spare wheel, too.


Accident checklist

CUT OUT AND KEEP

Nobody wants to crash, but if you do, make sure you’ve got this page handy, along with a pen and sheet of paper. If it all goes pear-shaped, just follow the instructions.

FIRST: ■ Stop and warn other road users of the incident. If anybody has failed to stop, take their registration number or a description (make, model, colour). Even just a partial registration number may be of use.

■ Switch on your hazard lights and, if possible, move the vehicles to a safe place. Assess any injuries and offer first aid if you can. If anyone has been injured, contact the police or ambulance service straight away.

■ Call the police if there’s debris on the road or an obstruction to traffic; don’t put yourself in danger making the crash scene safe. Call the police if any other driver is aggressive or uncooperative.

ACCIDENT INFORMATION: Date: Time: Weather conditions (low sun, foggy, raining, sunny): Road conditions (wet, dry, muddy): Road where accident occurred:

Brief description of what happened, using a diagram if it helps:

OTHER VEHICLES:

Note: If more than one other vehicle is involved, make sure you collect their details too.

Driver’s name:

Make & model:

Description of driver:

Number of occupants in car:

Colour:

Driver’s contact number:

Car’s insurer:

DAMAGE TO VEHICLES: YOUR VEHICLE

Insurer’s contact number:

Policy no:

OTHER VEHICLE

Registration:

Take photos of the scene, the cars involved and any other damage – photograph from every angle you can.

YOUR DETAILS:

Fill this section in right away, so in the event of an accident, you can simply tear it out and hand it over.

Name:

Contact number:

Make:

Model: Colour:

Insurer:

Car registration: Policy no:

Insurer’s contact number: I confirm that all details on this sheet are to the best of my knowledge, correct and accurate: You: Other driver: Signed: Signed: Date: Date:

■ Don’t admit liability – even if you think it was your fault. If you do, it’ll only cause problems later on. ■ Don’t put yourself in danger to make the area safe – call the police and stay out of the way of any moving traffic. ■ Don’t leave any valuables in your car if you have to leave it at the scene – damaged cars are often looted. ■ If you have a dash cam, offer the footage to your insurer and the police if they are involved. ■ Contact the police – even if you think the accident is only minor, they will have it on their records if any dispute arises. firstcar.co.uk 50 ■ Contact your insurance company as soon as possible after the accident – and certainly within 24 hours.


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FirstCar Theory Q2 2020