Young Driver's Guide - IOW Edition

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PACKED WITH WAYS TO CUT THE COST OF DRIVING

THE YOUNG DRIVER’S GUIDE

MAKE THE MOST

OF EVERY

LESSON

THE BEST

BUDGET

FIRST

CARS

P16

P54

THE TIKTOK CELEB AND TV STAR WHO MAKE DRIVING FUN P48

THE BEST THEORY APPS LEARN FAST! P25

BLACK BOX INSURANCE STAY SAFE, PAY LESS! P80

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KEANAN & FRANCIS

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Meet...

IN ASSOCIATION WITH

HOW TO FIX COMMON TEST FAULTS PREP TO PASS! P44


How to find cheap car insurance THAT WON’T COMPROMISE ON COVER

Our Black Box customers can save up to 65% off their next renewal*

Revealing the perils of ghost brokers and fronting - the do’s and don’ts to remember when looking for your first motor insurance policy

Call our UK team on 0800 085 6491

adrianflux.co.uk/learner-drivers Authorised & regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. *Based on no fault claims and telematics box being fitted.


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I’m looking for cheap insurance but I’ve read about ghost brokers. What are they?

Ghost brokers sell fraudulent car insurance using three basic methods. They either forge insurance documents, falsify details to bring the price down or take out a genuine policy, before cancelling and claiming the refund plus the victim’s money. Police figures show those most at risk of being targeted by ghost brokers are 17-24 and the scam costs them around £900 each. Some ghost brokers also operate on social media - always check you are buying from a genuine company before taking out a policy.

I’ve been warned about “fronting” on my motor insurance. What is that?

Fronting is when an older driver - often a parent - tries to save money by saying they’re the main user of a vehicle driven by a younger, higher-risk motorist. It may save money in the short-term but fronting could invalidate your insurance and even lead to prosecution for fraud.

ARE THERE ANY OTHER DO’S AND DON’TS I NEED TO REMEMBER? Do shop around for the best policy.

Or better still go to a broker such as Adrian Flux who have a panel of over 30 insurers to go to. Adrian Flux compares policies saving you the hassle.

Do make your insurer aware of any modifications.

You will need to advise your insurer of cosmetic and performanceenhancing modifications. With a specialist broker such as Adrian Flux, you may be surprised that your premium may not increase much or at all for modifications and they can cover most. If you fail to declare mods your car damage cover will be under threat in the event of a claim.

Do insure your car for what it’s worth.

Under-insuring your car may result in a lower premium but if your insurer finds out, your policy could be cancelled and any claim payout could be less than the car’s worth.

Do agree a voluntary excess. Adrian Flux offer great insurance rates for new and learner drivers. Cut costs by calling 0800 085 6491.

If you agree to pay an extra voluntary excess it can significantly reduce your premium. But keep it realistic, you will have to be able to afford it if there is a claim.

Don’t forget.

Don’t forget, the cheapest Adrian Flux deals are available on the telephone. Call 0800 085 6491 for your personalised no obligation quote.

adrianflux.co.uk/learner-drivers Authorised & regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. *Based on no fault claims and telematics box being fitted.


WELCOME... 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. (03/23)

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The Young Drivers Guide

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THE TEAM Publisher: James Evans Editor: David Motton Commercial director: Richard Storrs Art director: Caroline Creighton-Metcalf

GET IN TOUCH info@firstcar.co.uk 08451 308853 firstcar.co.uk

tiktok.com/@firstcaruk youtube.com/FirstCarUK

SHIFT INTO GEAR WITH FIRSTCAR.CO.UK • Pass your practical test • Find your ideal first car • Win a brand new Fiat! COVER PHOTO: MATT HOWELL

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Top tips... OU Y P L E H S U "LET " . . . E V I R D O LEARN T PAGE 48 6 | firstcar.co.uk

Lilly & Keanan

We share what w e learned from passing ou r tests


The Young Drivers Guide

CON TEN TS LEARNING: THE ROAD TO YOUR LICENCE STARTS HERE! PAGE 8

INSIDE 8 LEARNING

Everything you need to know about the learning process, from under-17 driving to posttest training, as well as both the theory and practical tests.

48 TIKTOK STARS

Francis and Keanan have huge TikTok followings for their entertaining videos. Find out how they put the fun back in learning to drive.

INSURANCE: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO FIND THE RIGHT COVER PAGE 76

54 BUYING

Buying a car can be daunting. You can buy a new or used car with confidence if you know what you’re doing. We’ll help you make the right choice.

76 INSURANCE

Insurance for young drivers is expensive, but there are ways to make cover more affordable. Here’s everything you need to know.

PHOTO: KEANAN LLOYD-ADAMS AND FRANCIS NOAKES

86 OWNING

Confused by all that paperwork? Can’t work out how to keep your car running properly? Don’t worry, because it’s all a lot easier than you might think.

102 ROAD SAFETY

BUYING: HOW TO FIND THE PERFECT FIRST CAR FOR YOU PAGE 54

Unfortunately, new drivers crash more than those with extra experience. Here’s how to make sure you don’t become another statistic.

112 DRIVING ADVICE You don’t stop learning when you pass your practical test. Our tips will help you get the hang of motorway driving and stay the right side of the law.

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the Road TO YOUR DRIVING LICENCE You’re starting on one of the most exciting and rewarding journeys of your life. Nothing beats the thrill you’ll get the day you earn your full driving licence, but there are plenty of steps along the road first. Over 3 the next few pages we’ll talk you through them.

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1 UNDER-17 DRIVING

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1 UNDER17Is your DRIVING 17th birthday still

2

a few months away? Or maybe it’s years off? You can still get behind the wheel, just not on the road. There are loads of young driver schemes all over the country from the likes of youngdriver. eu and under17carclub.co.uk which put younger teenagers in the driving seat on private land. The best schemes place a strong emphasis on road safety as well as car control. Sign up, and you’ll be better prepared when you do get on the public road.


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3 FIND AN INSTRUCTOR If you want to give yourself 2 YOUR PROVISIONAL LICENCE You can’t jump straight into a car on your 17th birthday. You need a provisional licence first. Don’t wait until the big day – you can apply several months before you turn 17. It’s easy to make an online application if you have a Government Gateway ID or otherwise fill out a D1 form which you can collect from the Post Office. Turn to page 12 for more on how to apply for your provisional licence.

the best chance of passing first time, you’ll want to find a really good instructor. Practising with relatives is important, but it’s no substitute for the expert instruction of a professional. Turn to page 14 to find out more.

4Before THEORY TEST you can take your practical test you have to pass the theory test. There are two parts, one with multiplechoice questions and one assessing your ability to spot hazards. Want to know more? Turn to page 24.

5 PRACTICAL TEST Aced the theory test? Well done, but there’s still another hoop to jump through before you have your full licence: the practical test. This takes place on the public road with an examiner in the passenger seat and will last around 40 minutes. We’ll talk you through the how the practical test works in more detail on page 42.

6Around NEXT STEPS half of drivers fail their first practical test. So there’s a strong chance you’ll need to take the test twice or more. If you don’t make the grade first time, don’t feel down. Read how to avoid common mistakes on page 44.

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Under -17

D R I V I NG Get a head start! You can drive on learn private land before you are 17 to the basics of safe driving

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The Young Driver’s Guide

LEA RN ING Although you can’t legally drive on public roads until you’re 17, on private land you can drive at any age. In recent years there’s been an explosion in under-17 driving opportunities. By starting young you’ll have a better feel for how a car works when you reach 17, and you won’t feel pressured to progress swiftly in a bid to get your full driving licence as

soon as possible. The biggest under-17 driving scheme is Young Driver (youngdriver.eu), available at around 60 sites spread across the UK. Marketing director, Sue Stait, says: “We’re teaching those who are not legally able to be on the road yet, but they get a massive boost when they control a car safely and can tackle a manoeuvre that even parents might struggle with.”

UNDER 17 SCHEMES A-Star Driving School, Surrey a-star-driving-school. co.uk Castle Combe Startline, Wiltshire castlecombecircuit.co.uk Cats Eyes Driving School, Devon, South Wales catseyesdrivingschool. co.uk DriveB4Uturn17, Surrey, West Sussex driveb4uturn17.co.uk Drive Safe, Lincolnshire, under17-drivinglessons. co.uk Driving Ambition, Northamptonshire drivingambitionbrackley. info Flying Colours, Dorset, passwithflyingcolours. com Gold Driving Academy, Dorset, golddriving.co.uk Pro Scot, Fife, pro-scot.com Safe4Life Driver Training, West Midlands, safe4lifedrivertraining. co.uk

top tip

D riv in g a la n d b e fo c a r o n p riva te re yo u a re te a c h yo u th e b a si 17 c a n cs of car co n tro l a n to th e ru d in tro d u ce yo u le s o f th e ro a d . B u t wh e n yo u tu le ss o n s o rn 17 a n d st a rt n p u b li c ro yo u’l l n e e d to b u il a d s, d up e x p e ri e n ce b e fo re yo u r te st .

Under 17 Car Club, various sites under17-carclub.co.uk Wunda Wheels, Lanarkshire, wundawheels.co.uk Young Driver, various sites youngdriver.eu Young Driver Scheme, Essex, youngdriverscheme.org

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Once yo lly automatica licence, it’s u’re 70. But you yo l . yours unti ry 10 years new it eve have to re ger receive a paper n You’ll no lo rt; there’s just the counterpa portion of the photocard ’ll update the u licence. Yo hen you photo w renew.

Getting your

PROVISIONAL LICENCE 12 | firstcar.co.uk


The Young Driver’s Guide

LEA RN ING

Watch out

Apply for your licence online via the government website. There are several official-sounding sites that charge you a fee and it’s debatable whether or not they add any value.

SCAN

THIS QR CODE TO APPLY FOR YOUR LICENCE!

What does everyone want for their 17th birthday? A new smartphone would be nice, but we’re guessing that a provisional driving licence is close to the top of the list. The day you turn 17 is the first day you can legally drive a car on the public road. But you can’t just jump behind the wheel with a copy of your birth certificate tucked in a pocket – you need to apply for a provisional driving licence. It’s easy to do. If you enjoy queuing you can do it the oldfashioned way at the Post Office. A D1 form is what you need to ask for. But it’s much simpler to apply online. Go to gov.uk/apply-firstprovisional-driving-licence.

receives the the enhanced rate mobility component of Personal Independent Payment, and so can start learning at 16 rather than 17. Otherwise, applying three months before you turn 17 allows plenty of time.

HOW SOON CAN I APPLY? You can apply for a provisional licence from the age of 15 years and nine months, but this is really for someone who

WHEN WILL MY LICENCE ARRIVE? You should have it within a week if you apply online, although it could take longer.

WHAT DO I NEED? You’ll need to provide some ID (unless you have a valid UK biometric passport), details of where you have lived over the past three years, and your National Insurance number if you know it. HOW MUCH WILL IT COST? It will set you back £34 online. Applying by post costs £43. Check if the price has changed at gov.uk/driving-licence-fees.

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Find the

PERFECT INSTRUCTOR

As 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 Facebook page. This will help you check things like... ● whether the instructor provides a photo for security ● if lessons are available

for learners with a special need ● the instructor’s availability/working pattern ● the price of lessons. To find the best driving instructor for you go to: gov.uk/find-driving-schoolsand-lessons.

ASK THE DRIVING SCHOOL THESE QUESTIONS

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Is the instructor fully qualified (an ADI)? If I have a PDI (an instructor who is still in training) will I pay less? If I sign up for a course and we don’t get on, can I have my money back? Or change instructor?

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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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GET THE MOST FROM YOUR

lesson 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 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.

Keanan’s

TOP TIP

Some drivers just don’t click with their instructor. If your lessons are going nowhere, talk to your instructor about it. If things don’t get better, think about a change. ● ... 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.

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WHAT TO EXPECT FROM YOUR

first

drive a car. They’ll start you off with the basics.

GETTING READY A good night’s rest the night before will make sure you are alert and ready to learn. Have something to It’s an exciting day, but eat and drink before the lesson starts a nervy one – here’s to keep your energy what will happen levels up. It’s best to wear comfortable clothes and shoes that will allow you to operate the pedals easily. THE BIG DAY IS COMING! Don’t forget to have your Your provisional licence provisional licence with you, has arrived, you’ve chosen and keep an eye out in case a driving school, and you the instructor waits for you are about to get behind the outside rather than ringing wheel for the first time. the door bell. You’re probably excited. Possibly a bit anxious. Maybe PASSENGER RIDE both at the same time! Don’t expect to be thrown Don’t worry. Your in at the deep end. Your instructor is a professional instructor will take you to a who is used to guiding quiet road before swapping nervous first-timers through seats. Listen to what they the techniques needed to tell you as it will be your

LESSON

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turn in a minute! BEFORE YOU DRIVE There are some checks you should always make before you set off. Many instructors will use an acronym to help you remember. DSSSM is one you may be taught in lesson one. ● Doors securely closed ●S eat in a comfortable position ●S teering wheel positioned correctly ● Seatbelt on ● Mirrors adjusted THE CONTROLS Next, you’ll learn what the controls do. You probably have a pretty good idea already, but the instructor won’t take anything for granted. They’ll give you a rundown on steering, what all the pedals do (three in a manual, two in an automatic) and the gearlever and handbrake. Ask them to repeat anything that isn’t clear to you.


The Young Driver’s Guide

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LEARNING TO DRIVE ON THE

MOTORWAY

MOVING OFF You’ll learn how to pull away. Each and every time you move off you have to be safe as well as in control of the car. That means checking in your mirrors, looking over your shoulder to check your blind spot, and signalling before moving off: mirror, signal, manoeuvre, or MSM for short. To pull away smoothly you’ll need to learn how to balance the clutch and throttle, and find the ‘biting point’ (you’ll hear the engine note change and the car will want to move forwards). You’ll learn how to stop without stalling, and will find out how to use the gears. IT’S GOING TO BE OKAY! Remember, the instructor has their own pedals so they can stop the car if necessary. Put your faith in them, and believe in yourself too! To find out more about driving lessons, visit firstcar.co.uk.

Motorways used to be no-go zones for anyone with L-plates. Now learners can get to grips with motorways while still learning to drive. There are some rules to watch out for, though. You need to be in a car with dual controls, and with an approved driving instructor by your side. So there’s no practising on motorways with parents between professional lessons. Ask your instructor if and when they plan to include motorway driving in your lesson plan.

YOU SAY “I was really worried about my first lesson, but I needn’t have been. The instructor was really calm and patient, and the hour-long lesson felt more like 10 minutes!” Nathalie, Portsmouth “Because I’d had some under-17 driving lessons off the public road, I already knew the basics about how a car works and what all the controls are for. It helped me get off to a good start.” Adi, Birmingham

firstcar.co.uk | 17


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The Young Driver’s Guide

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L E A R N I NG TO DRIVE ility WITH A

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Disab


The Young Driver’s Guide

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MAKING MOTORSPORT FOR ALL Nathalie McGloin is passionate about motor racing, and determined to make the sport more accessible. The only female tetraplegic driver in the world to compete at a professional level, Nathalie also campaigns to make racing circuits accessible for disabled competitors. “When I’m racing I leave my wheelchair in the pits. When I’m lining up on that grid with my helmet on, no-one knows I’m female or have a spinal injury. I’m just another driver – and that’s the way it should be.” FIND OUT MORE AT NATHALIEMCGLOIN.COM

A disability isn’t necessarily a barrier to learning to drive. In fact, if you receive the enhanced rate of the mobility component of the Personal Independence Payment, you can start learning at 16 – a whole year before everyone else. Depending on the nature of your disability, driving a car with standard controls

could be tricky. Fortunately there are a huge range of adaptations out there to make driving more accessible. Across the country, there are driving instructors who specialise in teaching disabled drivers, and have access to adapted vehicles. You can find your nearest instructor at disabilitydrivinginstructors. com.

A number of organisations offer help for disabled drivers. Your family may already have a car or wheelchair accessible vehicle through Motability (motability.co.uk). If that’s the case, you can apply to Motability for help with the cost of up to 40 hours of tuition (call 0300 456 4566). You can also practise between lessons in the Motability car, provided you are listed as a driver on the insurance. You’ll need to have someone aged 21 or over with you, with at least three years of driving experience. They must be insured to drive the car too. Disabled Motoring UK (disabledmotoring.org) is also a great source of advice and campaigns for the rights of disabled drivers and passengers.

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INTENSIVE

courses

AUTOMATIC CHOICE DRIVING IS A COMPLICATED business and you really need to have your wits about you if you’re not to get involved in one scrape after another. Not only do you have to keep tabs on what’s going on around you but you’ve also got to ensure that you’re sticking to the speed limit, positioned correctly on the road, and in the right gear. But what if your car could help you out with some of this stuff? Well it can – at least the bit about being in the correct gear. As long as you drive an automatic.

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An increasing number of car buyers are choosing an automatic (otherwise known as an auto) because it sorts out all that tedious gear changing malarkey for you. As a result you can never be in the wrong gear, and when you get stuck in traffic you’re not constantly feeding the clutch in and out. You have just two pedals instead of three (accelerator and brake), which doesn’t half make things easier. So if you’re struggling to make progress with your driving lessons, taking the

INSTEAD OF HAVING a lesson or two each week and spreading the learning process over several weeks or months, it’s possible to cram it into a much shorter period – typically a week. While these intensive courses allow you to get everything out of the way quickly, experience counts for a lot when learning to drive – and there’s only so much of that you can gain in a week. auto route might just be the answer to your prayers. However, keep in mind that passing your driving test in an auto means you’ll be restricted to driving autos unless you later pass a test in a manual-gearbox car. An increasing number of new small cars are now available with an automatic gearbox but on the used market they tend to be rarer, more costly to buy and less economical. Also, a lot of them aren’t all that nice to drive. But if going for an automatic means the difference between getting your licence and not getting your licence, it’s a no-brainer.


The Young Driver’s Guide

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However, if this route suits you best, make sure you’re prepared or you’ll throw all your money away. ■ C heck you’ve got your provisional licence before booking.

■ C heck that the driving school has booked you a test for the end of the course – some just hope there’s a cancellation they can grab. ■ You’ll need to have passed your theory and hazard perception tests before making your booking.

YOU SAY... “I had lots of driving lessons away from the public road before I was 17, so I was pretty confident I knew how to control a car. I wanted to learn quickly so I could drive myself to college, so an intensive course made sense for me. I passed first time!” Samantha, Sheffield

■ D on’t assume you’ll pass your test after a week – you can still fail. The best schools will give you an assessment session before you book, to gauge your ability. ■ E xpect to pay £800£1200 for the whole course, including the test fee.

“Patience isn’t my strong point! I wanted to get the whole learning process over and done with quickly. But driving for so many hours a day was very intensive and tiring. I made a mess of the test and didn’t pass. I’m now having regular lessons and learning at my own pace.” Hassan, Liverpool

SHOULD I LEARN IN AN AUTOMATIC? DRIVING IS A LOT EASIER THERE ARE PLENTY OF NEW AUTOMATIC MODELS TO CHOOSE FROM

about instead of three, With just two pedals to think e life so much easier mak to s tend driving an auto

YOU WON’T BE ABLE TO DRIVE A MANUAL AUTOS TEND TO COST MORE TO BUY AND FUEL

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the

THEORY TEST Before you can move on to the practical test, you need to pass the theory exam. Once you have your theory test pass certificate you’ll have taken a big step towards your full driving licence. WHAT IS THE THEORY TEST? You’ll be tested on your knowledge of the rules of the road, to show you understand how to be a safe and responsible driver. The test is in two parts. There’s a multiple choice test, and a hazard perception test.

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HOW HARD IS IT TO PASS? Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can bluff your way through it. It takes a lot of study to fully get to grips with the Highway Code, and to learn how to spot hazards early. Just 50.1% of candidates pass the test, so you are almost as likely to fail as pass. You need to score at least 43 out of 50 in the multiple choice test, and 44 out of 75 for the hazard perception exam. You need to succeed in both elements to earn that all-important pass certificate, so prepare carefully.

WHERE DO I TAKE THE TEST? You sit the test at a DVSA test centre. HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? The fee is £23. You can book online at gov.uk/booktheory-test.


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GREAT APPS

HE OFFICIAL DVSA T THEORY TEST KIT Because this was created by the same people who set the theory and practical driving tests, you’re not going to find a more useful app, and at £4.99 it’s a bargain.

WHAT CAN I DO TO HAVE THE BEST CHANCE OF PASSING? Now that’s a sensible question! First, we’d make full use of any theory test learning aids your driving instructor has. They may be included in the cost of your lessons or available for a small extra fee. Read The Highway Code and The Official DVSA Theory Test for Car Drivers thoroughly, not just once but again and again, and test yourself on the contents. There are free practice tests online at gov. uk/take-practice-theory-test. The questions won’t be the same as those you’ll be asked in the real thing, but they cover the same topics. There’s

a range of apps to help you pick up the theory of driving, and get quicker at spotting hazards, so it makes sense to use them. They don’t cost much. HOW DOES THE HAZARD TEST WORK? You’ll watch 14 video clips, all around a minute long. There will be 15 hazards to spot, and at least one in every video. You click on a mouse button when you spot a hazard – the quicker you notice potential danger, the higher the score. Don’t just click like crazy, as you’ll score ‘zero’ if you cheat. WHAT NEXT? Fail, and you’ll have to wait at least three working days before taking the test again. Pass, and the practical test is your next step. Want to know more about the theory test? Visit firstcar.co.uk.

MY THEORY TEST BY JAMES MAY With bespoke learning plans, exclusive videos, mock questions, and games, this app will help you learn the theory of driving in a few minutes each day. Available for Apple and Android devices, it costs £4.99.

DRIVING TEST SUCCESS Practise every official revision question from the DVSA with this app. DrivingTest Success will even refund your theory test fee if you don’t pass! It costs £4.99 for Apple and Android devices.

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s y a w Five

E V O R P M I O T D R A Z A H R U YO PERCEPTION ☛

PARKED CARS: They might reverse into the road

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PEDESTRIAN: Could be about to cross the road

TRAFFIC LIGHTS: May change at any moment


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Spotting hazards isn’t just important when you take your theory test, it’s a vital part of safe driving, full stop

BLIND CORNER: What could be waiting around the bend?

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THINK ABOUT IT WHENEVER YOU DRIVE Don’t treat hazard perception as something that’s separate to the rest of your learning. Yes, you’re going to be tested on a computer, but you’ll learn more quickly if you practise spotting hazards every time you drive. The goal is to spot danger and stay safe on the road, not just to pass a test.

2 SCHOOL BUS: Children may run into the road

TALK OUT LOUD The most advanced police drivers are taught to give a running commentary as they drive. Talking about hazards while driving forces you to concentrate on potential dangers, rather than running on autopilot. Saying out loud what you see – and how you are going to respond – makes sure the brain is fully engaged with driving, and helps you learn to process lots of information at once. If you are giving a commentary as you drive there’s no mental capacity left to wonder what’s for dinner or to think where you will go out on Friday night...

3

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT Well, maybe not perfect but good enough to pass the theory test. Take lots of mock hazard perception tests before you tackle the real thing. That way you’ll know what to expect and will be able to sharpen

your skills. There are loads of them online and they’re often free.

4

UNDERSTAND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A STATIC AND DEVELOPING HAZARD Broadly speaking, there are two kinds of hazards. ‘Static’ hazards are things like roundabouts, traffic lights and junctions. You need to deal with them on every journey, but a roundabout isn’t going to suddenly jump out at you from behind a parked car. ‘Developing’ hazards are mobile and tougher to predict. Such hazards include a car pulling out in front of you, a child running into the street, or a cyclist getting ready to turn right. The sooner you spot a developing hazard, the sooner you can respond. Think about it this way – if you see a football roll into the road in front of you, it’s better to slow down straight away rather than wait for a kid to follow it.

5

REMEMBER THERE CAN BE MORE THAN ONE HAZARD Every video in the hazard perception test shows at least one hazard. But just to keep you on your toes, one of the 14 videos has two hazards. So, don’t switch off after you have spotted the first hazard. There could be another one appearing at any moment.

firstcar.co.uk | 27


The Hierarchy OF ROAD USERS The Highway Code includes lots of rules and advice to protect vulnerable road users. Here’s what you need to know

You can do a lot more harm with a lorry than a small hatchback. And a hatchback can do a lot more damage than a child crossing the road. That’s reflected in the latest Highway Code. Lots of changes were made in a big update in January 2022.

MOST VULNERABLE 28 | firstcar.co.uk

Some existing rules were tidied up or clarified, but the guiding principle is the ‘hierarchy of road users’ – those who can do the greatest harm must take the greatest responsibility. The likes of lorry and coach drivers have the greatest duty to look out for other road users, because they’re driving the biggest, heaviest vehicles with the most potential to do damage. Pedestrians are at the opposite end of the hierarchy, as they’re likely to come off worst in any collision. Car drivers must

take a great deal of responsibility, as although we are vulnerable to larger and heavier vehicles, we need to take extra care around horse riders, cyclists, and people on foot. These updated rules are sometimes misrepresented as allowing vulnerable road users, in particular cyclists, to do as they please with the car driver always getting the blame. That’s not what the changes are all about. Everyone needs to stick to the rules, and use the roads safely, however they choose to get from A to B. Rather there’s a shift of emphasis


The Young Driver’s Guide

LEA RN ING

To maximise the benefits of some fantastic changes, the rules need to be widely communicated, understood, and ultimately backed up with visible and effective police enforcement.

SCAN

THIS QR CODE TO BUY YOUR HIGHWAY CODE!

Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s head of campaigns

– those with the greatest potential to cause harm shoulder the greatest responsibility. Just as a coach driver should remember that car drivers and passengers are more vulnerable than they are in a collision, so

car drivers should keep in mind that a horse rider, cyclist, or pedestrian is likely to come off worse if we hit them. We all need to take care of each other, and especially the most vulnerable people on the road.

GREATEST RESPONSIBILITY firstcar.co.uk | 29


’ TS N O D D N A S O g D n i Driv

DO

use the ‘Dutch reach’ when opening a car door. This means using your left hand to open the driver’s door, which encourages you to turn towards the road, giving you a better view of any vulnerable road users such as cyclists who may be passing close to your car.

DO

remember that cyclists are allowed to ride in the centre of the lane, or two abreast, while allowing you to overtake when it’s safe to do so.

DON’ T

make a close pass on a cyclist. Leave at least 1.5 metres when overtaking cyclists at speeds of up to 30mph, and leave more space when overtaking above 30mph.

30 | firstcar.co.uk


The Young Driver’s Guide

LEA RN ING

DON’ T

pass close to a horse or a horsedrawn vehicle. Give at least two metres of space and slow down to no more than 10mph.

DO

give way to pedestrians who are crossing (or waiting to cross) the road at junctions.

DO

give way to cyclists who are riding straight on when you are turning into or out of junctions.

The changes to the Highway Code are a reminder that all road users have a responsibility to look after one another, in particular the most vulnerable ones: pedestrians, cyclists, other two-wheeled transport and horse riders. Edmund King, AA president firstcar.co.uk | 31


The Young Driver’s Guide

In association with

LEA RN ING

After the

top hack

THEORY TEST

ory SA The to icial DV The off is a great way ore Test KIt ning theory m des clu ar make le le and fun. It in pass b to a r d memo ing you nee the everyth me. Find it in r first ti App Store o Apple le Play. Goog

I’VE PASSED... I’VE FAILED...

e bet you put in the hours to make W 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.

I t 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.

irst of all, well done! If you’re now F 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 by using the official DVSA Guide to Hazard Perception – hopefully both.

on’t forget what you’ve learned. D Keeping on top of your theory will help you pass the practical test.

32 | firstcar.co.uk

e’re sorry you didn’t pass. Think W what you could do to make the grade next time.

ost successful candidates will have M 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?

on’t be put off. The theory test pass D rate is around 50%, so if you failed the test you are not alone.

Lilly’s

TOP TIP

I failed the theory first time. I thought it would be easy. Don’t make the same mistake! The next time I passed after spending hours using theory test apps.


Everything you need to pass first time!

Safe Driving for Life website! Visit www.safedrivingforlife.info for help passing your theory test. Enter code LD20 at the checkout for 20% off your order!

Safe Driving for Life, not just for learners

12303 DVSA First Car magazine advert v1_1.indd 1

08/02/2023 11:38


PARENTAL

l o r t n o C

Unless one (or both) of your parents is an ADI, they’re almost certainly not the best choice for driving instruction – but don’t avoid using their help altogether. Use time with them as a supplement to paid-for time with a professional instructor, reinforcing the lessons you’ve been learning. Don’t take anything a parent tells you as gospel – it’s your instructor you must listen to. If you do practice with a parent, here’s how to ensure you spend that time as effectively as possible:

34 | firstcar.co.uk

1

Parents should read a current copy of The Highway Code and work with you on the theory exam.

2

Plan before you set out. Choose a suitable area and route, and know what you want to achieve before you get behind the wheel.

3

Use quiet roads until you’re confident, especially in traffic.

4

Stay below the level you’ve reached with your driving instructor.

5

Avoid carrying passengers – they’re a distraction you don’t need.

6

Work with a professional instructor who tells your parents what you’re being taught and what techniques are being used. Then you won’t get conflicting advice.

7

You’re not ready for all the challenges of the road, so your parent must be aware of all hazards at all times. They must be constantly anticipating the moves of others.


The Young Driver’s Guide

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A PARENT'S PLEDGE

Getting behind the wheel with mum or dad? Ask them to have a read of this first. LEAD BY EXAMPLE It won’t be easy to persuade a young driver to stick to the limit or leave their phone alone if you tend to speed or sometimes check a text at the lights. Set the best example you can by driving by the book.

PLAY FOR THE TEAM Work with your child’s instructor to understand how you can best support professional lessons. Decide how soon to start practice drives, and make sure you stay below the level your learner has reached with the instructor.

8

Your parent should be sparing with their comments, but problems must be identified while still fresh in the memory. Confidence needs to be built first.

BE PATIENT Practice lessons aren’t easy for anyone. Nobody likes being criticised, least of all by a parent. Equally, it’s

understandable if you are nervous about pranging the family car. That’s one of the reasons why it’s good to keep practice well below the difficulty reached in professional lessons. Learner and parent need to be patient and build up slowly to more complex driving. That way you will both become more confident. BUILD CONFIDENCE It’s important to point out mistakes, but make sure you give praise too. You need to build your child’s self-belief as well as correcting faults. STAY CALM Anxiety is catching. If you seem nervous, your child will be. And don’t become angry – a shouting match at the traffic lights won’t help anyone. Think back to when you were learning, and be the calm and supportive parent you would want if you were the one with the L-plates.

YOU SAY...

9

Keep calm – parents shouting isn’t effective, and don’t get angry if given constructive criticism.

“I found that practising with mum was a great way to get more time behind the wheel. I think it really helped me to pass first time!” Joanna, Leicester

10

“You need to be careful when driving a car without dual controls. That safety net isn’t there if you are practising in the family car, so don’t rush to tackle complex situations without an instructor.” Jake, Stourbridge

Make learning enjoyable. Your parent must keep their cool so you both enjoy the process. You shouldn’t dread getting into the car.

firstcar.co.uk | 35


How to rule...

REVERSING

The practical test’s reversing manoeuvres need the right technique, concentration, and plenty of practice. Here’s how to reverse like a pro!

PULL UP ON THE RIGHT AND REVERSE

STEP 2: REMEMBER: MIRROR, SIGNAL, MANOEUVRE

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

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.

36 | firstcar.co.uk

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.


The Young Driver’s Guide

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REVERSING INTO A PARKING BAY STEP 2: SWING IN

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.

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

top hack

Practise the manoeuvres b se etw lessons. You’ll een ge the hang of th t em more quickly.

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.

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.

firstcar.co.uk | 37


The Young Driver’s Guide

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PARALLEL PARKING 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.

STEP 2: BE READY 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 passengerside window turn the wheel to the left one full turn.

1

2

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.

38 | firstcar.co.uk

5

3

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.



t s e T l a ic t c a r P The

K C U T S F F IC A R T N I

take vers waiting to lay, ri d w e n f o g klo de , there’s a bac e most of the Unfortunately st. Here’s how to make th l te their practica ghts to avoid li d BOOK MORE LESSONS re e and som

The more time you spend with a professional instructor, the better your driving will be when you do get to your test.

UPDATE YOUR DRIVING RECORD Keep a log of progress with your instructor. Use the wait for a test to tick off the core driving skills and more.

40 | firstcar.co.uk

GET READY FOR INDEPENDENCE Learning to drive isn’t just about passing a test. Becoming a better, more experienced driver before your practical test will prepare you for the challenge of driving safely on your own.


The Young Driver’s Guide

LEA RN ING DRIVE IN ALL CONDITIONS Use the wait to drive in bad weather, at night, and on rural roads. You’ll be better prepped for the practical test.

PRACTISE WHAT YOU LEARN Back up your time with an instructor with plenty of practice with a parent or family member. Ask your instructor what to focus on.

LEARNING WITH PARENTS Learning with parents rather than an instructor leads to bad habits, making it harder to pass.

BOOKING A TEST TOO EARLY Book too soon and you’ll waste the test fee. Your instructor is the best judge of when you are ready.

Keanan’s

YOU’VE PASSED!!

TOP TIP

It’s a tough time to be learning to drive, but hang in there! Trust me, it will all be worth it on the day when you hold a pass certificate in your hands!

firstcar.co.uk | 41


Ask the

R E N I M A X E mon of the most com We’ve put some to the practical test questions about at h w s aminer. Here’ a driving test ex they had to say! 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 DRIVE?

“I’ll ask you to read a numberplate from 20 metres away, so don’t forget your glasses or contacts if you need them to see clearly.”

THEN WHAT?

“Next comes the ‘tell me’ question, something like ‘How would you check the headlights and tail lights are operating correctly?’”

WHAT HAPPENS ONCE WE START DRIVING?

“For 20 minutes out of the 40 you’ll be driving independently, which means following road signs or sat nav to a destination. Taking a wrong turn is no big deal, I want to see that you can drive safely.”

42 | firstcar.co.uk

WILL I BE ASKED A ‘SHOW ME’ QUESTION?

“Yes. It could be something as simple as showing how you would turn on the rear demister, or wash and clean the windscreen.”

WHAT MANOEUVRES WILL BE PART OF THE TEST?

“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.”

HOW GOOD DO I NEED TO BE TO PASS?

“You need to prove you are safe and competent. I’m not expecting perfection! So long as you make no more than 15 driving faults (sometimes called ‘minors’) and no serious or dangerous faults

(sometimes called ‘majors’) you’ll be okay.”

WHAT IF THE EXAMINER DOESN’T LIKE ME?

“Examiners are professionals, doing their job. We’re going to judge you on your driving ability, nothing else. Honestly, we’re just regular people!”

AND AFTER THE TEST, WHAT


The Young Driver’s Guide

LEA RN ING

top hack

Get an early before the big night day want to be as . You and alert as p fresh ossib when you take le the test.

Your checklist for

PRACTICAL TEST

SUCCESS

THE GREEN LIGHT FROM YOUR INSTRUCTOR

If they say you are ready, you’re ready.

PLENTY OF PRACTICE

Don’t avoid tricky manoeuvres or difficult junctions. Work on any weaknesses before the test.

A POSITIVE ATTITUDE

Believe in yourself! You can do this!

STRATEGIES FOR HANDLING PRESSURE

HAPPENS THEN?

“Whether you pass or fail, we’ll talk you through any faults. Around half of candidates fail, so don’t be surprised if this happens to you. We’re not trying to catch you out, though. If you make the grade, you’ll pass! And if you don’t, come back stronger!” There are loads more tips on preparing for your practical test at firstcar.co.uk.

Don’t tell your friends your test is coming up if this will add to your nerves.

YOUR PROVISIONAL LICENCE AND THEORY TEST PASS CERTIFICATE

You’ll need to take both to the test centre.

SENSIBLE CLOTHES AND FOOTWEAR

Wear something comfortable and shoes that make it easy to use the pedals.

BE WILLING TO LEARN

If you don’t pass, understand why so you can be better prepared for your next test.

firstcar.co.uk | 43


top 10practical test faults

FIXED

These are the 10 most common reasons for failing the practical test and how to avoid them

2

1 OBSERVATION AT JUNCTIONS FIX Practise ‘eye scanning’.

Instead of fixing your eyes directly in front of you, keep looking all around you and in your mirrors. Take particular care to look for other road users who have the right of way over you at junctions, so you can wait for a safe gap to pull into.

4 TURNING RIGHT AT JUNCTIONS 44 | firstcar.co.uk

3

MIRRORS (CHANGING DIRECTION)

POOR CONTROL (STEERING)

FIX To have a strong chance

FIX Eye scanning can help with this one too. You need 360˚ awareness of what’s going on around you, especially before changing direction. Always look in the mirrors and check your blind spot before making any direction change.

FIX Some new

drivers hate turning right at a junction, but it’s nothing you can’t handle. Don’t get anxious, just remember your Mirror, Signal, Position, Speed and Look routine (MSPSL). Be cautious in judging the speed of oncoming traffic and make the turn once you are sure it is completely safe.

5

of passing the practical, steering the car should be second nature. If it’s not, keep practising. The push-pull method is best under most circumstances, but the important thing is to keep control of the car’s direction.

FAILING TO RESPOND TO ROAD SIGNS

FIX Continually look for signs and road

markings, interpret the information they are giving you, and respond appropriately. Don’t let your theory knowledge slip between your theory and practical tests. Your theory know-how is still important!


The Young Driver’s Guide

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SLOPPY REVERSE PARKING

6

FIX Reverse parking requires accuracy and control, not speed. Don’t get flustered, take your time, and get in plenty of practice. Remember to keep checking around you for cars and pedestrians so you can reverse park safely.

7

8

9

FAILING TO MOVE OFF SAFELY

POOR POSITIONING IN NORMAL DRIVING

FAILING TO MOVE OFF UNDER CONTROL

FIX Stay within your lane

FIX Clutch and throttle

FIX Go by the book each

and every time. Remember Mirror, Signal, Manoeuvre (MSM). That way you won’t pull away until it is safe to do so, and you will have shown your intentions to other road users. Observation and good judgement are key.

10 RESPONDING TO TRAFFIC LIGHTS

unless you are changing lanes or pulling out to overtake. Otherwise, don’t let the car wander towards the lane markings. When overtaking cyclists, always leave a car’s width of space.

control should be second nature by the time of your practical test. Practise pulling away smoothly while accelerating to a safe and legal speed. You must keep the car under control.

FIX Look ahead to spot traffic lights, and prepare to slow down and stop if necessary. Watch the lights as you wait for them to change colour. Get ready when the lights turn to red and amber, but don’t move until they are green. firstcar.co.uk | 45


A E K A M ! N R U-T U Did your practical test go in the wrong direction? Here’s how to turn things around...

46 | firstcar.co.uk


The Young Driver’s Guide

LEA RN ING TALK TO YOUR INSTRUCTOR

Lilly’s

Discuss what went wrong in your test and how you can correct any mistakes.

TOP TIP

DON’T GET DOWN

Around half of practical tests end in failure. It’s normal! Don’t beat yourself up, just come back stronger.

PRACTISE!

Back up professional lessons with lots of practice with a parent or family member. Ask your instructor what to work on.

GET MORE EXPERIENCE

Not making the grade is a setback, but it also gives you the opportunity to get extra time behind the wheel in all conditions.

DON’T FORGET DRIVING THEORY

The knowledge that helped you pass the theory test will help you pass the practical, so don’t let it slide!

BOOK A RETEST

There’s a backlog of drivers wanting to take their practical test. So if your instructor agrees, book another test ASAP.

REMEMBER, YOU ARE STILL LEARNING

More lessons and another test may hurt your pride and your pocket, but play the long game – this will make you a better, safer driver.

Don’t get down if you’ve failed. Instead, think about how it can make you a better driver in the long run! Here’s how to do better next time...

1

GET MORE REST Try to get a good night’s sleep, not just the night before the practical test, but for several nights before the big day. That way you’ll be really well rested.

2

AVOID PEER PRESSURE Your mates mean well, but people asking “Do you think you’ll pass?” can make pre-test nerves worse! Keep your test date a secret if you think it will help you stay calm.

3

TAKE MOCK TESTS TO CALM YOUR NERVES A mock test, with your instructor taking the role of examiner, is a great way to get used to test day pressure.

4

BELIEVE IN YOUR INSTRUCTOR Your instructor won’t have put you forward for the practical unless you were ready. Trust their judgement, even if you doubt yourself!

5

ENJOY LEARNING Everyone wants to pass first time, but most of us don’t. Not making the grade is a setback, but don’t let it put you off driving. The day you pass will make it all worth it!

firstcar.co.uk | 47


Francis...

V! N ON T E E S S A Francis Catch arlett’s on Scg School Drivinthe BBC! on

THE TIKTOK STARS MAKING LEARNING

n t Keanan and Francis i ee M a g fun a – they’re on a mission to help you pass

48 | firstcar.co.uk


THE YOUNG DRIVER’S GUIDE

CEL EBR ITY INT ERV IEW

H

Keanan

OW DO YOU LIKE TO LEARN? SOME PEOPLE WILL READ THE HIGHWAY CODE OVER AND OVER, SUCKING IN KNOWLEDGE LIKE A VACUUM ON FULL POWER. Or maybe an app suits you better, especially one that turns learning into a game. Then again, maybe you’re a visual learner who likes to be shown new skills. Whatever way suits you best, there have never been more books, apps, and other learning aids to help you prepare for the theory and practical tests. Some of the very best content is on YouTube and TikTok. Yes, TikTok. It’s not just for pranks and make-up tutorials, there’s lots of really useful content on learning to drive as well. FirstCar – that’s us, the people behind The Young Driver’s Guide – has its own TikTok channel. Our videos are presented by Keanan Lloyd-Adams. Recently, Keanan has been working with Francis Noakes, founder of Driving School TV. Between them they know a thing or two about social media and learning to drive. We caught up with Keanan and Francis in between takes.

The Young Driver’s Guide : Hey, Keanan. Let’s

talk about TikTok. How did you get into content creation and how long have you been doing it?

Keanan : I’ve been acting

all my life, and with training comes a lot of creativity and

The plan is to keep growing and create a hub for all things learning to drive, packed with info and fun content devising pieces. Combine that with higher-thanaverage meme and internet culture knowledge, and you get a notes app full of content ideas. My relationship with FirstCar formed right at the start of my professional career in 2016. My first ever audition after moving to London was with them and we’ve not looked back since. During tough times in the Covid lockdowns, FirstCar continued to work with me which sparked the idea of tackling the mountain that is TikTok. Starting June 2021 and fast forward to now, I have been creating and creating, I appreciate it every day.

TYDG : How many followers do you have now? Keanan : Just shy of 50k

followers now, the most on any of FirstCar’s media channels! (Might need a fact check on that one but pretty sure ha!) The plan is to keep growing and create a hub for all things on learning to drive, a page you can come back to for quick information and funny content.

TYDG : What about you, firstcar.co.uk | 49


Francis? How did you become a driving instructor?

Francis : I’ve been a driving instructor for eight years. I’ve always loved cars, and I have a background in teaching, which I think gave me a good foundation. I haven’t looked back!

TYDG : You’re a lot younger

than your stereotypical driving instructor.

Francis : Not many people

grow up thinking that they want to be driving instructors, which is why there aren’t many young people doing the job. It’s often older people who have changed careers. I’m quite

similar but switching from further education rather than an office job means I get it more than most driving instructors do – teaching is my thing!

TYDG : What do you like most about being a driving instructor?

Francis : Hmm, good

question… It’s so clichéd and I guess most driving instructors would say the same thing, but when people pass is the best! When you take someone from “I don’t know what a clutch is” to “I’ve got my driving licence” that is such a good feeling, especially when they keep in touch afterwards. But I also enjoy meeting and teaching new people.

Some young drivers think they’re amazing because they play GTA, and you have to pull them back 50 | firstcar.co.uk

Everyone is so different. Young or old, all races and religions, helping people learn is rewarding and so interesting. Different people learn in different ways, and you have to tailor your teaching to suit them.

TYDG : How do you change your teaching style? Francis : For nervous

drivers, you really need to motivate them and show them that even if there is an emergency they can deal with it safely. Some young drivers think they’re amazing because they play Grand Theft Auto, and you have to pull them back and point out the dangers. They have to realise that driving isn’t GTA and they need to take it seriously!


THE YOUNG DRIVER’S GUIDE

CEL EBR ITY INT ERV IEW

Follow us...

For great co nte Francis & K nt from eanan, @drivingsc hooltv @firstcaru k

TYDG : When did you start making videos? Francis : Without YouTube, I was just one of a long list of driving instructors on the DVSA website. I wanted to show that I was young and fun, and that learners would have a good lesson with me. And it worked a treat! Also, I wanted to make revision videos for my students, things like tips on how to reverse park which they could watch before and after their lessons. And then it kind of took off! I was choosen by Yianni from the Yianni: Supercar Customiser TV show to be the face of his driving school YouTube videos. I recorded a

whole learning to drive syllabus, which is still on their YouTube channel. I learned so much from them!

TYDG : How did the

collaboration with FirstCar come about?

Keanan : I made a TikTok

about the difference between single and double yellow lines, it took a significant amount of time as it was a rap, so I had to make the music, write the lyrics and edit all of it together. Francis messaged to share his support on the video and production, which was very kind of him. It was all

downhill from there!

Francis : I follow the

FirstCar TikTok account. Keanan is amazing! He is an actor, a presenter, a performer. He has so much energy in real life, and he can switch it on double for the videos. I learned so much working on those videos with Keanan.

TYDG : What topics have you covered? Keanan : We recently made videos about all the manoeuvres that might pop

firstcar.co.uk | 51


up in the driving test. Francis had all the info on lock and had no need for a script. He’s crazy with it!

TYDG : Francis, is Keanan a good driver? Did you give him any tips? Francis : He cares a lot

about his driving. Like anyone who passed their test a long time ago, there are a few things he could brush up on. But on the whole he’s a really safe and conscientious driver. He knows his stuff.

Keanan : Francis is filled to

the brim with knowledge and can flow into any fact or piece of guidance on a whim. I now know that there is less need to indicate while reversing as the reverse light does that for you. I now know that the wheel can spin in your hands as long as you have control and my reference points for a parallel park have changed, a much welcome update.

TYDG : How important is humour to your presenting style? Keanan : Humour is the

cherry on top for our road safety TikToks. Adding some laughs to a serious subject like road safety can make it feel less intimidating and more enjoyable for our viewers. The main goal for the educational videos is always to inform and spread awareness about safe driving or road laws. So, while using humour can make our videos stand out, it’s important to balance it with the important message. Make ’em laugh, make ’em learn.

52 | firstcar.co.uk

Francis : Humour is really

important. It’s one of the things that I wanted to focus on. I wasn’t the first driving instructor on YouTube, but some of the channels have a dry style of teaching. They want to convey the information in a professional manner, but in my experience as a teacher, you get switched off students. Keeping it lighthearted and fun but safe and educational is my teaching style. I would switch off after five minutes if someone was just reading the Highway Code at me.

TYDG : You must be doing something right to have so any subscribers. Francis : We’re biggest on

TikTok. We’ve got nearly 90,000 followers, and 23,000 on YouTube. On TikTok, people are interested in driving in general as well as learning to drive. YouTube is more for education, and TikTok for fun. We get around 100 messages a day across the various platforms.

TYDG : Do you wish you’d had advice on YouTube when you were learning to drive? Francis : It would have

helped, definitely. If you have one lesson a week for a couple of hours, you need to keep on it between lessons so you don’t get skill fade. If I’d had YouTube when I was learning to drive I think I would have passed more quickly. I feel that our videos and social channels foster a community of learner drivers who come to us and ask

If you don’t pass your test, you haven’t really failed – you’ve learned loads. Pick yourself up and do better questions and help and support each other, swapping ideas and sharing experiences. People realise they are not alone. It would have been great to have been part of that when I was learning.

TYDG : Keanan, what’s the most embarrassing thing that happened to you when you were learning to drive? Keanan : After starting a

lesson, still on my road, I realised that my seat was way too close to the pedals. The instructor said “no problem, just don’t move it now, we’ll find a place to stop so you can adjust.” I definitely heard him say this, and I confirmed that I understood. But within moments I decided that I could save time and go against his wishes. I pulled the seat handle, went flying backwards, my hands slipped off the wheel and I stalled the car in the middle of the road. The moment of silence after that is what my brain reminds me of at 2am.

TYDG : And what’s your most embarrassing experience as a driving instructor, Francis? Francis : Umm, I’m not sure if I can share it! Let’s go with something vanilla… The most


THE YOUNG DRIVER’S GUIDE

PHOTOS: FRANCIS NOAKES AND KEANAN LLOYD-ADAMS

CEL EBR ITY INT ERV IEW

embarrassing thing that happens regularly is probably needing the toilet on a lesson. You have to tell the learner that you really need to go so we’re going to stop at a petrol station. Why is that embarrassing? It’s a normal human function. The learners never mind but it’s still so awkward.

TYDG : For all sorts of reasons, now is a tough time to be learning to drive. What advice would you give? Keanan : Be proactive.

There are resources that can help you prepare for the road: theory apps, hazard perception mock tests, fun

driving pages on TikTok… The key is to keep a positive attitude and stay motivated.

Francis : Don’t pay an

I

unscrupulous company extra money for a driving test – they’re like ticket touts, booking up test slots and then selling them on. You will find a driving test you just have to be persistent. Look on the DVSA website. There’s a shortage of driving instructors, but you should still be picky. Go with recommendations, not the first person with space. You may have to sit on a waiting list for a while. There’s so much pressure

..

p. a r w t's a

on every test, and the worst feeling for a driver and driving instructor is when a student fails. But if you don’t pass your test, you haven’t really failed – you’ve learned loads. Pick yourself up and do better next time.

TYDG : What’s coming next for you both? Keanan : We will definitely

work together again. I also want to pry that brain even more for info that would take me hours to go through but takes him a single take. Together we will be unstoppable! Unless there’s a stop sign of course, we know the rules...

firstcar.co.uk | 53


NEW 2023 model

New cars have long warranties, lots of tech and plenty of safety kit

Why buy new? ● Low-interest PCP schemes make new cars more affordable than you’d expect ● Some finance schemes include motor insurance ● New cars are safer than older designs ● At least three years of warranty cover

54 | firstcar.co.uk

Why think twice? ● An older car will cost less to buy ● New cars lose value more quickly than used ones ● With a PCP scheme, there’s a large final payment to make if you want to own the car

VS WHAT’S A PCP? Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) is a type of finance with low monthly payments. You pay a deposit, followed by regular amounts each month for the period of the loan. Then there’s a large final payment to make if you want to own the car, or you can simply hand it back. If the car is worth more than this final payment (sometimes called the Minimum Guaranteed Future Value) you can use the difference as the deposit to buy another car.

VISIT FIRSTCAR.CO.UK to find your ideal first car


VS

The Young Drivers Guide

BUY ING A CAR

USED 2019 model Used cars should cost less to buy, but won’t always have warranty cover

WHERE TO BUY?

Why buy used? ● A used car is typically cheaper to buy than a new one ● Used cars generally lose value more slowly than brand new ones ● No interest to pay if the car is cheap enough to buy outright

Why think twice? ● Used cars have much shorter warranties, or sometimes none at all ● You’ll have to pay for insurance separately ● Any unexpected bills will eat into the saving over a new car

■ Privately A cheap source of used cars, but no warranty if the original cover has expired. ■ Online In the past few years lots of companies have started to sell online, and will usually deliver to your door. ■ Independent dealers Several brands, and usually cheaper than main dealers. ■ Car supermarkets These are independent dealers on a big scale. Lots of choice, keen prices, but limited warranties. ■ Franchised dealers New cars as well as used. Even second-hand cars usually come with warranties, but prices can be steep.

first car and great deals on finance and insurance

firstcar.co.uk | 55


Think very carefully before you sign on the dotted line...

top tip

Look fo ra that com finance offer insuran es with free c cost of c e, or has the over inc luded. This can sav drivers e young a sm fortune all .

G N I C N A N I F YOUR CAR From HP to PCP to PCH, there’s a whole alphabet soup of different finance options. The good news is interest rates are rockbottom, so financing is surprisingly affordable. In fact, with low interest rates and special schemes aimed at young drivers which include the cost of insurance, a new car could be surprisingly affordable. We’ll talk you through the pros and cons of the different finance options.

56 | firstcar.co.uk

PERSONAL CONTRACT PURCHASE (PCP) PCP is the most popular finance option, and it’s not hard to see why. A PCP makes a new car more affordable by reducing the monthly payments. If you see a car advertised as “from just £99 per month”, you can bet it’s a PCP deal. After stumping up a deposit you pay a set amount per month for, say, three years, but at the end of the loan you’ll need to find a lump sum of several thousand pounds if you want to own the car. You don’t

have to pay up, you can just hand the car back. Or you can part-exchange the car and use the difference between the final payment and the car’s value as a trade-in as the deposit to start a new deal. Sometimes the cost of servicing is included in the monthly payment. Schemes like Marmalade’s Cars for Young Drivers include insurance. Just be aware that PCPs will have an annual mileage limit, with penalty charges if you drive too far.


The Young Drivers Guide

BUY ING A CAR GOOD Affordable monthly payments; some PCPs include servicing and insurance BAD You won’t own the car at the end of the loan unless you make a big final payment; watch out for penalties for exceeding mileage limits PERSONAL CONTRACT HIRE (PCH) Think of Personal Contract Hire as a less complicated alternative to PCP. There’s no big lump sum to pay at the end of the loan, so there’s no decision to be made about whether to buy the car, hand it back, or use it as a deposit to buy another. That’s because a PCH is really a long-term rental agreement, so you’re not buying the car at all. Otherwise PCH is much like a PCP. You make a deposit (often the equivalent of three months’ rental), then pay a set amount each month. Sometimes servicing and insurance costs are included. GOOD Low deposit; predictable costs BAD No option to buy; penalty payments if you drive too far HIRE PURCHASE (HP) You pay a deposit, followed by a series of equal monthly payments (generally over two, three or four years). At the end of the loan you’ve paid for the car in full, and unlike a PCP or PCH mileage isn’t restricted. The trouble is, without PCP’s big final payment, monthly bills are much higher. However, if you want to own the car at the end of the loan HP can

be cheaper when you add up the total cost. GOOD Easy to understand; no big final payment BAD Higher monthly bills than a PCP PERSONAL LOAN Rather than borrowing money from whoever is selling you the car, you could take out a personal loan from a bank or finance company. However, lenders will want you to be 18 (or in some cases 21) before they’ll consider loaning you money. It may be easier to find a willing lender if you have a guarantor for the loan (usually a parent) but they’ll have to pay up if you don’t, which could make for a frosty atmosphere at the dinner table... GOOD No need to find money for a deposit BAD Can be expensive; young drivers may not qualify CREDIT CARD You’ll need to be 18 or over to have your own credit card. Interest rates are usually high, so a credit card makes most sense as a way to pay for a car if the card has a 0% interest rate for a limited time and you’re in a position to pay off the car before the interest-free period ends. These 0% deals are usually only available to borrowers with a good credit score, so in practice you may have to lean on mum or dad to use their credit card. GOOD 0% special offers; additional legal protection BAD High standard interest rates; not available to under 18s. For more advice on financing your first car, visit firstcar.co.uk.

How to get the

best deal Shop around – including online – and haggle. ■ Ask to see examples of repayment plans with and without extras such as payment protection and other insurances – these push up the cost. ■ If you don’t understand anything or the lender uses jargon, ask questions. ■ Contact your lender if you’re struggling to repay. All reputable lenders will help as it’s in their interests that you continue to repay the loan. ■ Don’t be taken in by low percentage flat-rate deals; check the APR. ■ Don’t assume a dealer has the best rate; compare with other lenders.

APRs

Lenders charge interest on your loan, referred to as the Annual Percentage Rate (APR). Any APRs quoted are usually a guide only; the exact rate is decided on an individual basis. Unlike a flat interest rate, an APR gives you a bigger picture when shopping for the best deal on a loan. Even though lenders are required by law to show a loan’s APR, they don’t all use the same fees in their calculation, skewing the comparison, so always check to make sure any APRs you’re comparing include similar fees.

firstcar.co.uk | 57


the best

NEW CARS FOR YOUNG DRIVERS

Our pick of the coolest and affordable small cars

RENAULT CLIO Euro NCAP safety rating

Five stars (2019) Autonomous emergency braking Standard Insurance From Group 14E DAB Standard Bluetooth Standard Apple CarPlay/Android Auto Standard 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.

Citroen C3 Euro NCAP safety rating

Four stars (2017) Autonomous emergency braking Shine Plus spec

FR £ 1 OM 3,9 95

58 | firstcar.co.uk

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 an expensive version to get plenty of safety kit. Autonomous emergency braking is standard even if

Insurance 14E DAB Standard Bluetooth Standard Apple CarPlay/Android Auto C-Series Edition and above Small cars don’t come much cuter than the Citroën C3. There's a choice of mono-tone and bi-tone finishes which show off the good looks.

OM 5 FR 8,99 1 £

you buy the most affordable Clio, with sensors to detect bicycles and pedestrians as well as other cars. Even the cheapest model comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

It’s not just a pretty face. The C3 is one of the cheapest superminis you can buy. The flipside is that it’s not as affordable to insure as some. Inside, the Citroën’s cabin is just as fresh and original as the outside. All models have a digital radio and Bluetooth as standard, and all but the most basic spec cars have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto so you can connect your smartphone. To drive, the C3 puts comfort first with a smooth and forgiving ride. It’s easy to drive too – just what you want from a first car.


The Young Drivers Guide

BUY ING A CAR

TOYOTA YARIS Euro NCAP safety rating

FR £2 OM 2,1 10

Five stars (2019) Autonomous emergency braking Standard Insurance From Group 13E DAB Standard Bluetooth Standard Apple CarPlay/Android Auto Standard You (or your parents) will need deep pockets to buy the new Toyota Yaris. With prices starting from just over £22,000, this an expensive small car. But there are good reasons to take a closer look. For one thing, every Yaris is a hybrid, with the promise of small fuel bills and low carbon dioxide emissions. It should be cheaper to fuel

than most superminis. For another, the Yaris comes with an automatic gearbox. So if you find manual cars tricky to drive, or pass your test in an auto, the Toyota could be just what you are looking for. You get plenty of kit for your cash, too. There’s no

need to look beyond the entry-level Icon model for a digital radio, smartphone mirroring, and lots of safety kit including autonomous emergency braking. It’s not the roomiest small car, and insurance won’t be cheap, but otherwise the Yaris has a lot going for it.

OM 5 FR 4 , 9 9 1 £

PHOTOGRAPHY: MANUFACTURERS

HYUNDAI i10 Euro NCAP

safety rating Three stars (2020) Autonomous emergency braking Standard Insurance From Group 3E DAB Standard Bluetooth Standard Apple CarPlay/Android Auto Optional extra

The i10 is one of the most affordable new cars, as well as being easy to drive and well equipped. It’s rare to find a city car with autonomous emergency braking as standard, even on the most

basic versions. But every i10 comes with this brilliant bit of safety kit included in the price. Every model has a digital radio and Bluetooth, and it looks good too, doesn’t it? We want one!

firstcar.co.uk | 59


5 OM 6 FR 18,0 £

VAUXHALL CORSA Euro NCAP safety rating

Four stars (2019) Autonomous emergency braking Standard Insurance From Group 12E DAB Standard Bluetooth Standard Apple CarPlay/Android Auto Standard There’s lots of scope to personalise the Corsa with styling accessories, decal kits and pedal covers, and even the entry-level models are well equipped. The ‘want’ factor has gone through the roof with the latest generation!

F £1 ROM 9,5 05

VOLKSWAGEN POLO Euro NCAP safety rating

Five stars (2022) Autonomous emergency braking Standard Insurance From 9E DAB Standard Bluetooth Standard Apple CarPlay/Android Auto Standard

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!

OM 4 5 FR 31,3 £

Peugeot e N208 Euro NCAP safety rating

Four stars (2019) Autonomous emergency braking Standard Insurance From 27E DAB Standard Bluetooth Standard Apple CarPlay/Android Auto Standard New drivers will need pretty deep pockets to buy an e-208 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 Peugeot emits no carbon dioxide (or any other gas) and recharging at home costs much less than a tank of petrol.

60 | firstcar.co.uk


The Young Drivers Guide

BUY ING A CAR FR £17 OM ,99 0

Skoda Fabia Euro NCAP safety rating

Five stars (2021) Autonomous emergency braking Standard Insurance From 4E DAB Standard Bluetooth Standard Apple CarPlay/Android Auto Standard

FR £15 OM ,97 5

If you want a roomy and safe first car, take a closer look at the Skoda Fabia. The latest model is packed with the latest safety kit and loads of clever features. The safety experts at Euro NCAP have given the Fabia a five-star rating, and

every model comes with autonomous emergency braking just in case you lose concentration. Front and side airbags are included in the price of every model too. Tech-wise, every model gets a digital radio and Bluetooth connectivity. All but the most basic cars have a 9.2-inch infotainment system with

TOYOTA AYGO X Euro NCAP safety rating

Four stars (2022) Autonomous emergency braking Standard Insurance 5A DAB Standard Bluetooth Standard Apple CarPlay/Android Auto Standard The Aygo X makes a fine first car. Even the most affordable Pure-spec models come with autonomous emergency braking and smartphone connectivity. The mini-SUV styling looks great.

are our favourites. For lots more on car buying and reviews of many new MORE These CHECK OUT INFO... models, www.firstcar.co.uk/reviews

firstcar.co.uk | 61


? E F W A S A CAR s e k a m hat

At the risk of sounding like a driving instructor, the most important safety feature in any car is you, the driver. But there are lots of clever technology in modern cars to help you survive a crash – or much better still avoid one in the first place. The cleverest technologies are sometimes called Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS for short), and use all kinds of sensors to help you stay safe. Here are some of the ADAS features to look for in your first car.

62 | firstcar.co.uk

AUTONOMOUS EMERGENCY BRAKING (AEB) What is it? This uses sensors (often radar, cameras or both) to detect vehicles up ahead. AEB will warn the driver if a collision is likely, and if they don’t respond the system applies the brakes to prevent a crash or at least reduce its severity. Some systems only operate at low speeds, but the best AEB systems are increasingly sophisticated and can operate over a wide range of speeds. They also detect pedestrians and cyclists as

well as other cars. Lots of modern cars have AEB, even the smaller and more affordable models that are likely to be bought as first cars. It could be called Active City Brake, City Emergency Braking, or Front Assist. Should my car have it? According to one study, AEB can cut fatal collisions by 20-25%. So yes! It’s a brilliant safety feature! ELECTRONIC STABILITY CONTROL (ESC) What is it? By easing off the


The Young Drivers Guide

?

BUY ING A CAR

Understanding

Euro NCAP throttle or braking individual wheels, stability control systems help the driver maintain control if they corner too quickly for the conditions, leading to a loss of grip. Different car makers use different names for stability control, including ASC, DSC, DSTC, PSM, VDC, and VSC. Should my car have it? All new cars have been fitted with ESC since 2014, and many had it before this date. Most cars on the road will have ESC, but check if your first car is an older model.

LANE DEPARTURE WARNING SYSTEM (LDWS) What is it? Sensors detect if a car is drifting out of its lane when the driver isn't indicating. The driver is alerted by a warning light, a sound, or a vibration through the wheel. A Lane Keeping System (LKS) goes further, gently steering the car. Should my car have it? It can help you stay in lane if you are tired or distracted, so it’s worth having. But it's better to stay alert so the system isn’t needed.

Euro NCAP has been testing new cars for safety since 1997. The organisation scores cars out of five stars, looking at how well they protect adult and child occupants, pedestrian protection, and the car’s driver assistance systems. You can be confident that a car with a five-star rating is among the safest on sale. Just remember that Euro NCAP updates its tests to keep pace with changing technology, so a five-star car from 10 years ago isn’t necessarily as safe as a five-star car now.

firstcar.co.uk | 63


Before you hand over your money, check the car thoroughly

g n i Buy

A USED CAR KEY CHECKS

reprogrammed – which can cost hundreds of pounds. ■ Is the interior undamaged, along with all the glass? Are ■ Look for there stickers on the windows bodywork to cover an old registration damage. number etched into the glass? Poor panel fit ■ Have the steering wheel suggests crash and gearknob been worn repairs. smooth? Does this tally with ■ Have the tyres worn evenly the recorded mileage? or are they bald? Uneven ■ Do the speedo digits line wear suggests poorly The V5C is the most up properly? Are the old aligned tracking (usually important document of the MOTs to hand? Does the easily sorted) but could be lot; the name on this piece of mileage recorded on something more serious. paper is the person to whom any these tie in with what’s ■ Does the chassis speeding tickets or other motoring displayed? number (usually at the fines will be sent. If that person ■ Check for rust that’s base of the windscreen doesn’t deserve them, they have been painted over, plus on the passenger side) to prove why – and not telling filler in the wheelarches. match the one on the the DVLA of a change in ■ Ensure all the electrics registration document? Also vehicle ownership is work – check everything. check the engine number, an offence.

1

which is usually on the top of the block, down the one side. ■ Are all the keys available? Think carefully about buying a car without a spare. Lose the only key and you may have to have everything

IT ’S A FACT

64 | firstcar.co.uk


The Young Drivers Guide

BUY ING A CAR

TAKE A TEST DRIVE

2

Never buy a car without test driving it first, unless you are buying over the internet and you have the legal right to return it if you change your mind. Start the car from cold, and make sure it ticks over happily. Let it warm up then take it for a good run so you can check everything. While you’re driving, check for a smoky exhaust, ensure there’s no misfiring (that the engine pulls cleanly) and also feel for pulling to one side under braking. Listen out for any odd sounds and weird noises.

Watch out for lame excuses for faults from the seller

DOING THE DEAL CHECK THE PAPERWORK

3

Make sure all the paperwork is in order. The key documents you need are: ■ Service history: for proof of regular servicing and to see if the mileage is correct. ■ Tax: When a car is sold, the vendor has to cash in the car tax so you’ll have to buy your own. Current rates are listed at gov.uk/vehicle-tax-rate-tables – the DVLA no longer issues tax discs though.

■ Registration document or V5C: This tells you the basics about the car, such as how many owners it’s had and who it’s currently registered to. The person named on this form isn’t necessarily the legal owner of the car though. Don’t buy a car without a V5C and make sure it’s genuine by looking for the watermark. ■ MOT: If a car has no MOT it can’t be taxed, and it probably isn’t roadworthy.

4

Your goal is to pay less than the asking price. Any seller should set the price above what they’re prepared to accept – so don’t pay a penny more than you have to. Any discount on the initial asking price is a victory though, so don’t be greedy.

Haggle hard so you’re paying as little as possible

firstcar.co.uk | 65


top tip

by a Don’t be put off if it’s r ca high-mileage r. Highbeen cared fo ndition co milers in good ice rv se ll fu with ake histories can m . ys bu od go

o t e r e Wh

R A C D E S U A Y BU There are loads of different places to buy a used car. From main dealers to private sales, there are pros and cons wherever you buy. Here’s what you need to know about your options.

MAIN DEALER Big franchised dealers will have plenty of used cars. As a rule they’ll mostly stock the make they sell new,

66 | firstcar.co.uk

but they will also sell other makes if they’ve taken them as part-exchange. GOOD ■E xpect at least a year’s warranty ■C ars should be well prepared BAD ■H igh prices ■M ostly one make ■U nlikely to stock bargain-priced older cars

CAR SUPERMARKETS If you want a wide choice of makes and models, keenly priced, then car supermarkets are a good bet. Many have a no-haggling policy, so the price you see is the price you pay. GOOD ■ Lots and lots of choice ■ Keen prices, often with no-haggling BAD


The Young Drivers Guide

BUY ING A CAR

buying

advice BE FLEXIBLE Don’t set your heart on one car. There’s more than one model out there to suit your needs. LOOK ONLINE Some retailers sell cars over the internet with delivery to your door. You could pick up a bargain, but check the policy on returns. WARRANTY COVER If you buy a used car without a warranty, think about arranging one through an independent company such as Warrantydirect.co.uk.

than you would at a dealer, but there are pitfalls. GOOD ■S ome keenly priced cars ■N o hard-sell BAD ■Y ou won’t have the same legal protection ■W atch out for dealers pretending to be private sellers to dodge their legal obligations

ONLINE ■ Service can be no-frills ■ Warranty cover likely to be shorter than a main dealer offers

INDEPENDENT DEALERS Smaller independent dealers won’t offer as much choice as the big boys, but the best offer a more personal service than a big car supermarket. GOOD ■ Should be cheaper than a main dealer

■ The best small dealers really look after their customers BAD ■ Limited stock compared with a franchised dealer ■ Warranties can be short unless you pay extra

PRIVATE SALE For a real bargain, look through the classifed ads and find a car for sale privately. You should pay less

There’s been an explosion in the number of online car retailers in the past couple of year. The likes of Cazoo and Cinch will deliver to your first car to your door. GOOD ■L ots of choice ■Y ou can return the car if it’s not for you BAD ■N o chance to test drive before you buy ■S tandard warranties may be short

firstcar.co.uk | 67


the best

USED CARS FOR YOUNG DRIVERS

Find the right car at the right price

HYUNDAI i20 (15-20)

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, thanks to an impressive range of talents. One of the big plus points of choosing the i20 is the transferable fiveyear warranty. Even as the second or third owner, cover continues until the car is five years old with no mileage limitation. So depending on

68 | firstcar.co.uk

the age of the i20 you are thinking of buying, you may be protected against any unexpected bills. There’s a good chance you 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.

OM 0 FR 525 £

From the driver’s seat, the i20 is very easy to get on with – just what you want from a first car. The light controls make for easy manoeuvring, and the soft suspension makes the i20 very comfortable. It’s practical as well as comfy. Your mates won’t feel cramped in the back seats, and the boot is big enough for festival camping gear. There’s a choice of petrol and diesel engines. The diesels are best for fuel economy, but you'll be able to afford a newer, lower mileage car if you stick with petrol. The 75PS 1.2-litre petrol is the most affordable, achieves decent fuel economy, and sits in Group 4 for insurance.


The Young Drivers Guide

BUY ING A CAR FR £4 O M 78 9

ULEZ

what you need to know...

KIA PICANTO (17-) Euro NCAP safety rating

Three stars/Four stars with safety pack Warranty Direct Reliability Index/repair cost 18/£155.47 Insurance From Group 4 At FirstCar, we’ve always been big fans of the Kia Picanto. It’s great value as

a used car and, thanks to impressive fuel economy and low cost insurance, it will be cheap to run. The Picanto is cheerful as well as cheap, with good looks, a nippy drive, and lots of equipment. The Picanto is reliable, while the seven-year warranty should guard against unexpected bills. You can’t really go wrong.

PHOTOGRAPHY: MANUFACTURERS APPROX USED VALUES AS OF MARCH 2023

Euro NCAP safety rating Three stars (2019) Warranty Direct Reliability Index /repair cost NA Insurance From Group 1 Take off the Skoda badges, and the Citigo is

❏ A petrol car must meet the Euro 4 standard (NOx) ❏ A diesel car must meet Euro 6 (NOx and particulate matter) ❏ Electric cars are exempt.

F £2ROM 79 5

Skoda Citigo (11-19)

LONDON’S ULTRA LOW EMISSIONS ZONE (ULEZ) is expanding on 29 August 2023. From this date on it will cover all London boroughs. If you live in London, or plan to head into the capital after the ULEZ expands, you will be charged unless your car meets the required emissions standard:

much the same car as the Volkswagen Up. You get the same cheap-to-run, funto-drive car, but expect to pay a little less than you would for a VW. There’s more space inside than you’d think from the outside, and the Skoda is extremely reliable. Look for an early car, and used prices start from just under £3000.

You can check if your car meets the standard by entering the reg at tfl.gov.uk/modes/ driving/check-yourvehicle. If you drive an older car that doesn’t meet the standard you can still drive in London, but you’ll have to pay £12.50 per day. That’s on top of the Congestion Charge, which is £15 per day. Many other cities have low emissions zones. If there’s one where you live, check what the requirements are and don’t buy a car unless you know it’s green enough.

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The Young Drivers Guide

BUYIN G A CAR OM 0 FR 24 9 £

VW POLO (09-17)

Euro NCAP safety rating Five stars (2009) Warranty Direct Reliability Index/ repair cost 23/£184.27 Insurance From Group 3 The previous generation Polo makes a very grown-up, classy first car. Safety standards are high, reliability is good, and running costs are affordable. Although it’s not as much fun as a Ford Fiesta, the Polo is easy to drive and very comfortable. There are plenty to choose from, so you can afford to be picky.

FORD FIESTA (08-17) Euro NCAP safety rating

OM 5 FR 149 £

Five stars (2012) Warranty Direct Reliability Index/ repair cost 29/£214.17 Insurance From Group 3 The Fiesta is one of our favourite used cars. As the Ford sold in huge numbers as a new car, there are loads to choose from on the second-hand market. What’s more, the Fiesta is very safe, easy to drive and great fun. Data from Warranty Direct shows it rarely goes wrong and is cheap to put right when it does.

OM 5 FR 3 9 9 £

TOYOTA AYGO (14-22) Euro NCAP safety rating Four stars (2014) Warranty Direct Reliability Index/repair cost 29/£209.63 Insurance From Group 5

Being a Toyota, the Aygo is reliable. And if you can find one within your budget that’s less than five years old, you’ll benefit from what’s left of the original warranty. Being so small, the Aygo is easy to manoeuvre, and efficient engines make it very cheap to fuel. It’s not quite as cheap to insure as some small cars, however.

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S R A C D US E ELY ON R N A C U O Y ya a rs , b a c ke d b c d e k c e h c e Q u a li ty a c k g u a ra n te a n d m o n ey b

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FORD FIESTA (02-08) Euro NCAP safety rating Four stars (2002) Warranty Direct Reliability Index/repair cost 50/£263.93 Insurance From Group 5

OM FR495 £

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.

OM 5 FR 149 £

Citroen C1 (05-14) Euro NCAP safety rating Three stars (2012)

Warranty Direct Reliability Index/repair cost 14/£256.08 Insurance From Group 1 The C1 is small enough to squeeze into the tiniest parking space, and its cute styling still looks fresh several years after this model was replaced. With insurance as low as Group 1 and efficient petrol engines the Citroën is a good choice for any driver on a meagre budget, but safety standards could be higher.

Toyota Yaris (06-11) Euro NCAP safety rating Five stars (2005)

FR £9 OM 95

Warranty Direct Reliability Index/repair cost 31/£245.09 Insurance From Group 2 Yes, we’re recommending another Toyota – but that’s because they make such good used buys! Nobody would pretent the Yaris is the most exciting small car around, but it is reliable, practical and affordable. Go for a 1.0-litre petrol and insurance starts from Group 2, helping drive down your first premium.

are our favourites. For lots more on car buying and reviews of many new MORE These CHECK OUT INFO... models, www.firstcar.co.uk/reviews

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The Young Drivers Guide

BUY ING A CAR

ALTERNATIVES

TO OWNING A CAR You don’t need to buy a car to stay mobile Cars are expensive. They cost thousands to buy, hundreds to insure, and then there’s the cost of fuel and maintenance. If you are going to drive most days, then the cost is probably worth it. But what if you only need to drive a car from time to time? There are plenty of alternatives to owning a car that still make use of that hard-earned driving licence.

CAR-SHARING INSURANCE You can get insured on someone else’s car for short periods. They can either add you to their cover as a named driver, or you can arrange your own policy from the likes of Cuvva.com or Veygo.com.

Policies last from just an hour to around a month, and can be set up in a few minutes online. Car-sharing insurance is ideal if you want to share the driving on a long trip or a holiday.

CAR HIRE Hiring a car is another option if you only need to drive once in a while. However, daily rental companies tend to get nervous about hiring cars to young and inexperienced drivers, and are likely to apply a young driver surcharge. They are also likely to restrict the type of car you drive to something small. Some may not hire cars to young drivers at all. For example, Europcar

has a minimum age requirement of 22 and you must have held a full licence for at least a year.

CAR CLUBS An alternative to conventional car hire, car clubs tend to be based in big towns and cities. You pay a fee to join (say, £60 per year), and then have access to a pool of locally parked cars that can be booked online, over the phone, or through an app. You’ll pay a few pounds per hour. However, a minimum age is likely to apply. For example, to join Zipcar. com, you need to be 23. Enterprisecarclub.co.uk has a minimum age of 19 years.

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Should

.. . n a y I bu

C I R T E L EC ? R A C

Battery electric vehicles are more popular than ever, and prices are steadily coming down for these green first cars Sales of electric cars are booming, and the choice of different makes and models has never been wider. Electric cars are steadily becoming more affordable, and there’s a growing number of EVs (electric vehicles) on the used market. Running costs are really low, so long as you can charge at home.

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HOW MUCH DOES AN ELECTRIC CAR COST?

Our favourite EV, the Peugeot e-208, costs from £31,345, but there are cheaper models costing around £26,000.

HOW ABOUT A SECOND-HAND ELECTRIC CAR?

There are more and more

to choose from. For example, a used Renault Zoe starts from around £6000.

ARE THEY DIFFICULT TO DRIVE?

No. In fact they are extremely easy as they’re all automatics. The pedal on the right makes an EV go, the pedal on the left makes it stop. Simple.


The Young Drivers Guide

BUY ING A CAR

Hybrid vs electric Hybrids use an electric motor and a petrol (or diesel) engine. A hybrid can be really cheap to fuel, and they’re usually cheaper to buy than a pure electric car. A plug-in hybrid can top up its batteries from a charging point. A full hybrid charges its battery with energy that would otherwise be wasted while slowing down.

ADVANTAGES OF A HYBRID

DISADVANTAGES OF A HYBRID

❏ Usually cheaper to buy than an EV ❏ You don’t have to plug in to recharge ❏ No range anxiety

❏ Still burns fossil fuel and emits carbon dioxide ❏N ot as quiet to drive as an electric car ❏F ull hybrids can only spend short periods running on electricity alone

WHAT ABOUT RECHARGING?

EV SAFETY EVs are very quiet compared with petrol or diesel cars. Since July 2019, all new types of EV have been required to produce a sound when reversing or driving below 12mph to improve safety for vulnerable road users.

It really helps if you have a driveway or garage so you can install a charging point at home. Charging times vary from model to model, but plugging a car in overnight should be enough for a full recharge.

WHAT ABOUT PUBLIC CHARGING?

Some say the charging infrastructure isn’t sufficient, but did you know there are now more electric charging locations than fuel stations? Just keep in mind that public chargers are pricier than home charging.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COSTTO CHARGE AN ELECTRIC CAR?

According to the charging network, Podpoint, topping up a 60kWh battery for a range of around 200 miles costs £8.40, based on charging at home at a price of 14p per kWh. Discounted overnight charging could cost as little as 10p per kWh. On the other hand, public charging could cost 75p per kWh or more. Enough petrol to go 200 miles in a car that achieves 40mpg would cost more like £33. So, as long as you charge at home lower fuel costs help offset the high price of an EV.

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top hack

e on pric ll st rely a Don’t ju on sites. Not sy to ris ea compa on them. It’s k up t pic s are insurer otes online bu a real get qu ne and talk to ing th the pho if there’s any person are unsure you about.

car insurance

DOS & DON’TS Stumping up for insurance is one of the least fun things about becoming a new driver. Here’s what to do – and what not to do – to make insuring your car just that little bit less painful

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THE YOUNG DRIVER’S GUIDE

INS UR AN CE

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 extra 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. If you find anything about an insurer’s online form confusing, a phone call should put you straight. It could save you from making a mistake with your details which could come back to bite you if you later need to 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 or 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

Keanen’s

TOP TIP

Be wary of fake insurance ads on social media. Always check for a website and a UK address and phone number. 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!).

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. For more money-saving advice on car insurance visit firstcar.co.uk.

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THE YOU NG DRIV ER’S GUID E

INS UR AN CE

insurance WHILEEARN YOU L

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

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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. Want to know more? Visit firstcar.co.uk.

LEARNER DRIVER INSURANCE: Good to know ● You’ll need to be supervised by a qualified driver at all times. Some insurers allow that driver to be 21, others insist they are over 25. ● Restrictions will apply to the type of car you can drive, but different insurers will have different rules. For example, Adrian Flux covers cars worth up to

£30,000 with an insurance group of up to 45. ● Live in a two-car household? Check if there’s a discount on being insured on a second car. ● As well as comparing premiums, check the policy excess – that’s the amount you’ll have to pay if you make a claim.


Learner driver insurance GET THE BEST INSURANCE QUOTE OVER THE PHONE!

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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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Call our UK team on 0800 085 6491

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TELEMATICS INSURANCE Black box cover could make insurance more affordable – and improve your standard of driving too! Insurance is one of the most painful things about being a young driver – unfortunately there’s no way around it. According to the GoCompare website, the average annual motor insurance bill for an 18-yearold driver is a massive £2254. Ouch. Telematics (or ‘black box’) insurance is one way to reduce the price of cover and encourage good driving habits at the same time. So if you drive well it should be a win-win.

What is telematics insurance?

If you opt for a telematics policy, a ‘black box’ is fitted to your car. This combines a GPS unit, a motion sensor and a SIM card to transmit data. It

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detects where the car is, how fast it is being driven, and how violently the car is accelerating, braking and cornering.

How is the data used??The information the black box collects is fed back to the insurer, and used to reassess your premium at regular intervals. Obeying the speed limit, avoiding harsh acceleration and braking, and driving at low-risk times of day can all contribute to a reduced bill. In some cases there are other forms of reward or special offers for safe and responsible driving. This could mean extra miles are added to a limited mileage policy, or you will receive vouchers and free gifts.

explained Can I check up on how well I am driving? Yes. Telematics

insurance providers usually have a portal or app through which drivers can see if their driving is up to scratch. By checking back regularly you can tell if you are improving or slipping into bad habits.

Are my parents also able to see my driving scores?

Typically any named driver will have access to the feedback scores, so if your parent is named on the policy they will be able to see how well you are doing. Some insurers have found that simply knowing that mum or dad can see the feedback improves young people’s driving.


THE YOUNG DRIVER’S GUIDE

INS UR AN CE Can my parents have a telematics policy with me as a named driver? There

are plenty of telematics insurance providers who insure older drivers. But don’t be tempted to name your parent as the main driver unless they really are going to do most of the miles. If your insurer finds out that you’ve fibbed about who the main user of the car is, they’ll have caught you committing fraud. It could invalidate your insurance cover. Also, if you aren’t the main driver on the policy then with most insurers you won’t build up a no-claims discount. So in the long run it’s best for you to be the main driver, even if the car is also sometimes used by a parent.

What are the drawbacks of telematics insurance?

Some policies set curfews that restrict young drivers from getting behind the wheel at night. Whether that’s a good or bad thing depends on your point of view. You may be frustrated that you can’t give your mates a lift home from the pub, but your parents may be relieved... Also, just as good driving can be rewarded with a lower premium, so poor driving can lead to a higher insurance cost – even if you haven’t had an accident. That’s not universal, though. Some companies are all carrot and no stick, and don’t increase premiums for bad driving unless it has led to a claim.

What other restrictions might there be? We’ve

mentioned curfews, which are actually quite rare. Mileage limits are a lot more common. Generally these are set when the policy is taken out, and can be extended at extra cost. Some insurers offer bonus mileage as a reward for consistently safe and careful driving.

Is telematics insurance right for me? In most cases,

yes. You should be able to find a better price by choosing a telematics policy rather than conventional insurance cover. And it encourages safe driving too. For more advice about black box insurance, take a look at firstcar.co.uk.

top hac

k

Being in car is o sured on the n family but wit e way to ge t co hy policy our own ca ver, r y claims ou’ll build a and nodiscou nt, s money long-te aving rm.

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a h it w e iv r d o t How

...

X O B K BLAC a sm a ll a new d rive r e v d sa n a c e c ra n ut you’l l ne e B lack b ox in su d w it h a reg u la r p olicy, b re’s how... p a re fort u ne com u r sav ing . He o y e is im x a to m to d rive we ll

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THE YOUNG DRIVER’S GUIDE

INS UR AN CE

Stick to the limit Pretty obvious really. Don’t speed! Not only will you stay the right side of the law and avoid penalty points that could cost you your licence, you’ll be scoring brownie points with the black box. Don’t confuse obeying the speed limit with driving slowly. Your insurer isn’t expecting you to dawdle along with a queue of frustrated drivers behind you. Just choose a speed that’s appropriate for the conditions, and never more than the speed limit.

Brake early Keep your black box happy by braking early and smoothly to slow down for bends and junctions. Look well ahead so you can anticipate the need to change speed, rather than reacting at the last minute. That said, if you need to really jump on the brakes to avoid an accident, make sure you do!

Accelerate smoothly

BLACK B OX:

ONBOARD

The black box measures how hard you accelerate, so don’t bury your right foot every time you pull away. Drive smoothly, and change into a high gear without letting the engine labour. Driving this way won’t just please your insurer, you’ll save money on fuel too.

Avoid late night driving Being the designated driver once in a while isn’t going to push your premium through the roof, but regular

night drives could increase the price of your policy. That’s because accidents are more likely at certain times, and late at night is one of them. So don’t make a habit of nighttime driving. If you can’t avoid it (perhaps because you work shifts), a telematics policy may not be right for you.

Keep an eye on your mileage You’ll be asked to estimate your annual mileage when you take out a policy. Some insurers will set a cap on how far you drive. If you are going to go over the cap, talk to your insurer. They may be able to adjust the premium or you could topup the mileage allowance. Even if there’s no set maximum mileage, driving less is likely to lead to a lower premium.

Don't let an uninsured driver behind the wheel It’s okay to have named drivers on your policy, such as your parents, so they can drive your car too. But you should never let someone who isn’t insured drive your car. Not only is this illegal, but you won’t be covered if they crash. Even if they don’t have an accident, your premium could go up if they drive badly.

Use feedback Most telematics insurers provide feedback online or through an app. Regularly check to see what your insurer makes of your driving, and take on board any pointers.

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THE YOU NG DRIV ER’S GUID E

INS UR AN CE

T I K L C dont lose it

Modern cars are packed with security features, but car thieves aren’t daft. Criminals have learned how to exploit technology like remote central locking and keyless entry, so car thefts are on the rise. Here’s how to beat the modern breed of cyber-smart car thieves. LOCK IT Never leave your car unlocked. It doesn’t matter if you are just nipping to the shop for 30 seconds, or paying for fuel at a filling station. Always lock your car, or risk coming back to find your phone, sat nav or other valuables have gone. And never, ever leave the engine running – it’s an open invitation to an opportunistic thief.

HIDE IT One low-tech way thieves defeat modern security systems is to steal the keys before pinching the car. So, keep keys out of sight rather than leaving them on a table in a café or on display in an open bag, and don’t hang them

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up in a jacket or coat in any public place. Be wary of leaving keys on a key hook by the front door, too. Thieves have been known to use metal coat hangers or even fishing rods to hook the keys through the letterbox.

KEEP IT If your car is stolen, there’s a much better chance of getting it back if you fit it with a tracking device. Purpose-made car trackers are best, but can be expensive for new drivers. If you don’t have the budget, think about hiding a small tracker like an Apple AirTag or a Samsung Galaxy SmartTag inside the car. These connect to other smartphones nearby, and can be a surprisingly effective budget option.


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OWNING A CAR You’ll never forget your first car! Keep on top of the paperwork and maintenance, and you’ll remember it for the right reasons

GETTING YOUR FIRST car is a milestone, and a lifechanging one at that. Few things compare with your new-found independence, but when you own a car you need to stay on top of a lot

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of things. Stuff like your car’s MOT, tax and insurance may seem like hassle, but if you fall behind on any of these, the long arm of the law will catch up with you. Probably sooner rather than later.

Over the next few pages we’ll guide you through what you need to know to stay safe and legal with your car. Take our advice and you’ll find car ownership a delight rather than a chore.


The Young Driver’s Guide

OW NIN G

KEY DOCUMENTS DRIVING LICENCE You must renew this every 10 years or if you move. It’s free to change the address on your licence, but if you lose it and need a new one, it’ll cost you £20. gov.uk/browse/driving/driving-licences V5C Your registration document, or V5C, is a record of your car and its owners. It logs the registered keeper – who may be different from the legal owner. When buying a car, the registered keeper should be the person you’re buying from, and the VIN, or chassis number, should match the one on the car. Check the watermark to see if the V5C is genuine. It’s illegal to sell a car without a valid V5C, so don’t accept it’s been lost, as you can easily apply for a replacement. gov.uk/vehicle-log-book

top tip

You’ll be se nt a remin when you der r ta your MOT. x is due, but not To ensure you’re not drivin g MOT, put a around with no reminder in your phone. Th e MO done up to T can be am before it’s onth due.

VEHICLE EXCISE DUTY Any vehicle must be taxed if it’s used or kept on a public road. If you take your car off the road (keep it untaxed), you must declare it SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification), so you can’t keep it on a public road. Known officially as Vehicle Excise Duty (VED), how much tax you pay depends on the car’s engine size or CO2 emissions, depending on its date of first registration (shown on the V5C). A new system for new cars came into effect in April 2017. You can tax a car for six or 12 months, but if you scrap it or take it off the road you can cash in the tax at any time. When your tax is due, the DVLA will send a reminder which explains everything you need to know. gov.uk/calculatevehicle-tax-rates THE MOT Once a car reaches three years old it needs an annual roadworthiness test, the MOT. This checks lots of things to see if they’re worn or working properly. As the test costs up to £54.85, you can save cash by making sure your car passes first time. The MOT takes lots of stuff into account, and while you can’t check everything yourself, there’s lots you can do to prepare. gov.uk/getting-an-mot

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HOW TO...

... look after your car. Following these simple tips will help you to stay safe, avoid hassle, and save money!

how to...

CHOOSE BREAKDOWN COVER It makes sense to have cover in case your car breaks down, as even simple faults can be costly to fix. Don’t just go for the cheapest breakdown policy, though. Here’s what to look for... ● Make sure the package

covers everything you need. Some include homestart (fixing the car if it breaks down at home), some don’t.

● On the other hand, don’t

pay for something you don’t need. There’s

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no point in having European cover if you never expect to leave the UK. ● If you drive more than

one car, consider a breakdown package that covers you personally rather than a specific car.

Lilly’s

TOP TIP

You don’t need to be a mechanic to do basic jobs like change wiper blades. You’ll save time and money if you do some easy maintenance yourself. This is when you’ll be glad you took out breakdown cover...


The Young Driver’s Guide

OW NIN G

how to...

CHARGE AN EV ● Ideally, charge an EV using a home charger. This is cheaper than using the public charging network. A 3kW wallbox charger is generally cheaper to install than one rated at 7kW, but a more powerful charger will take less time to top-up the car’s battery. ● Make sure you are using a dedicated EV charger. It’s possible to recharge from a domestic three-pin socket, but this will take a very long time and household sockets aren’t always rated for heavy use over several hours. ● Don’t fully charge the battery unless you are about to go on a long journey. Charging to 80% is better for the longterm performance of the battery. ● Look for an electricity tariff that makes charging overnight cheaper than in the

day, and recharge the car while you sleep. ● Download a mapping app like Zap-Map to your phone. This will help you find nearby chargers if you need to recharge away from home. ● There are lots of different public networks. It’s worth finding which ones have chargers on your regular driving routes, and setting up accounts with several companies. That way you won’t waste time downloading apps and entering payment details when you need a top-up.

SAVE MONEY ON FUEL ● D on’t break the speed limit!

Not only is speeding unsafe, it burns more fuel which is bad for the environment and your bank balance. Driving at 80mph rather than 70mph on the motorway uses 10% more fuel, according to the Department for Transport. ● Ditch the clutter. Leaving a roof rack, bike carrier or roof box on your car will hit fuel consumption hard. ● Drive smoothly. Don’t stamp on the throttle or brake, be gentle

with the controls and look well ahead to anticipate what other road users are doing. ● Find more hacks and tips to help cut the cost of running your car at firstcar.co.uk.

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how to...

CLEAN A CAR

You could take your car to a car wash, but cleaning it yourself will be cheaper and it doesn’t take long. ● Rinse off the car with a hose to remove any loose dirt. ● Mix some car shampoo in warm water. Don’t use other detergents as they may wash off any wax which is protecting the paintwork. ● Dip a soft sponge or a special washing mitt in the soapy water. Begin washing at the top of the car and work your way down. ● Rinse the sponge or mitt with a hose before you put it back in the soapy water – you don’t want to mix in dirt and grit. ● Once the whole car has been cleaned, rinse it with the hose. ● Dry the car with a clean cloth of chamois leather to prevent any streaky drying marks. ● For a professional finish, apply a thin layer of wax and buff to a shine with a clean cloth or a microfibre towel.

how to...

TOP UP YOUR OIL

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An engine won’t last long without enough oil. Here’s how to check the level...

●P ark the car on level ground and let the engine cool down for 10 minutes or so. This will allow the oil to drain back into the sump (which is where the oil is stored). ● Open the bonnet and find the dipstick. It should be easy to spot but if in any doubt, check the car’s handbook. ● Pull the dipstick out fully, and wipe it with a rag or paper


The Young Driver’s Guide

OW NIN G

how to...

FIX MISFUELLING

Don’t panic if you put diesel in a petrol or petrol in a diesel...

● Don’t start the engine! ● Tell the petrol station what has happened, and find someone who can help you push the car to a safe place. ● If you have breakdown cover, call them to arrange for the tank to be drained, flushed and refuelled. ● If you don’t have breakdown cover, find a local garage who can recover your car and drain and flush the tank. Check with your insurance company if you can claim back the cost.

cloth before putting it all the way back in. ● Take the dipstick out again and hold it horizontally. Look for two lines on the stick. One marks the minimum level, one the maximum. Oil should show somewhere between the two, ideally close to the maximum.

● If it’s too low, you’ll need to buy the correct grade of oil to top up the level (check the handbook or use an online oil checker). ● Add oil through a funnel a little at a time, and repeat the dipstick check. Keep going until the oil is between the two lines.

Keanan’s

TOP TIP

Fuel is so expensive! If you don’t speed, you’ll use less fuel. Your black box insurance score will improve too. It’s a win-win! firstcar.co.uk | 91


how to...

SAVE MONEY ON SERVICING You could take your car to a main dealer to get it serviced, but that’s not necessarily the cheapest option.

Main dealer servicing is not necessarily the cheapest option. ● Ask for quotes from different garages – they won’t all charge the same price for the same work. ● Don’t limit your search to main dealers. Other garages may well do the same work for less. ● Look for an independent specialist in your make of car. These are often run by experts who used to work for a main dealer but have set up on their own.

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● Don’t just focus on price. Look for a local garage with good reviews on Google, and members of the Good Garage Scheme (goodgaragescheme. com). ● Simple work can be done yourself. There are loads of online tutorials on YouTube for easy jobs like changing wiper blades. Don’t pay a professional to do something you could tackle on your own. ● Look after your car. Checking the oil level and tyre pressure and tread depth regularly will

help avoid a big bill further down the road.

Keanan’s

TOP TIP

Learning to do simple maintenance can save a lot of money. Why pay when you can do it yourself with a bit of practice?


The Young Driver’s Guide

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how to...

left-front wheel). If you don’t have a chock, a brick or a large rock can do the job. ● Loosen the wheel nuts, but don’t take them off Sooner or later (hopefully completely yet. later), you’ll need to change ● T he car’s tool kit will have a tyre. It’s not hard to do with a jack for lifting the car up. the right tools and some All cars have dedicated basic knowledge. jacking points. Look in the handbook to find where ● Make sure you are in a they are. Position the jack safe place. You should under the jacking point be off the road and on and use it to raise that level ground. If you can’t corner of the car off the get away from the road ground by 10 centimetres completely, make sure or so. your hazard warning lights are on. ● Put the handbrake on. Take the spare wheel and the tools you will need out of the boot. ● It’s really important that the car doesn’t roll away while you are working on it. So, chock the opposite wheel to the one with the puncture (so, the right-hand rear wheel if the puncture is on the

CHANGE A FLAT TYRE

how to...

AVOID A ULEZ FINE London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone expands on 29 August 2023. Don’t get caught out! ●D rive a petrol car that meets the Euro 4 (NOx) emissions standard. Any car made from 2005 onwards should be okay, but you can check at tfl.gov.uk/modes/ driving/check-your-vehicle ●D rive a diesel car that

meets the Euro 6 (NOx and PM) emissions standard. This was introduced in 2014/15. To be sure if your car meets the standard, check on the TFL website. ● Electric cars are exempt. ● If your car isn’t ULEZ compliant, you can still drive in the zone but you’ll have to pay a daily charge of £12.50.

● Now unscrew the nuts fully. The wheel should now pull off easily. Place it flat on the ground so it doesn’t roll away. ● Slide the spare wheel onto the hub. You’ll need to line up the bolt holes. Replace the nuts and tighten them by hand. ● Now lower the car back to the ground with the jack. Once the tyre reaches the ground tighten all the wheel nuts. ● Lower the jack until it is clear of the jacking point. Give the wheel nuts one last check. ● Once you have packed the tools away and put the flat tyre where the spare wheel was, find a nearby garage and check the tyre pressure is correct. Or use your own compressor if you have one. ●G et the punctured tyre repaired or replaced as soon as possible.

● Don’t forget to pay! If you do, the penalty charge is £180 (reduced to £90 if paid within 14 days). ● Emissions zones apply in lots of other cities, not just London. Make sure you check if there’s a charge to pay when you drive into a city near you. ● Think about alternatives to driving in cities: you could take a bus, train, or cycle instead.

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v a N t a S

ON THE RIGHT ROAD It’s not easy to stay safe and find your way at the same time. Used responsibly, sat nav or a smartphone can really help

Ever tried reading a map and driving at the same time? It’s not easy. More importantly, it’s not very safe. Driving well demands your full attention, and that’s not possible when you’re reading a road atlas rather than reading the road. Used carefully, satellite navigation systems can make travelling somewhere you don’t know less stressful and – more importantly – safer. Used badly, a sat nav can be just another distraction, so make sure you know how to use sat nav carefully.

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The Young Driver’s Guide

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Mobiles

You can u se a smart a sat nav, so long as phone as it is mounted, does not b securely view, and you don’t lock your touch it w driving. Th hile ere navigating are lots of apps for by phone, su Google M aps and W ch as aze.

Sat Nav IN THE DRIVING TEST Following directions from a sat nav is usually an important part of the practical driving test. Most tests now have the sat nav element, but one in five don’t. If it is included in the test, the examiner sets the destination for you. The important thing isn’t that you follow every last twist and turn of the directions perfectly, but that you show you can continue to drive safely. Don’t let sat nav distract you.

HERE'S HOW TO USE SAT NAV RESPONSIBLY 1

Keep a clear view Position your sat nav or phone carefully so it’s not obscuring your view.

2

Set the destination before your leave If you’re in a rush it’s tempting to set off and enter the destination as you go. This simply isn’t safe.

3

Check the route It’s easy to head to Farnborough in Kent when you meant to go to Farnborough in Hampshire. So before driving off make sure you are definitely heading where

you want to go.

4

Listen more than you look Research by Royal Holloway University has found that the safest way to use sat nav is to rely on verbal instructions rather than the map screen.

5

You’re driving, not the sat nav If a sat nav tells you to drive the wrong way up a one-way street, ignore it.

6

Keep your device up to date Refresh the device’s mapping regularly to take account of new roads and changed layouts.

SAT NAVS: WHAT CAN I GET FOR MY MONEY? Garmin Drive 52 & Live Traffic £119.99 This clever device can be linked to a smartphone app to give live traffic updates, weather forecasts, and more. buy.garmin.com TomTom GO Classic £119.00 This smartlooking sat nav has a four-inch colour screen and free map updates for life. TomTom provides the sat navs used in the practical test. tomtom.com

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WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A DASH CAM

1

Good quality footage This has to be the top priority when choosing a camera. Grainy footage with blurry number plates is no use to anyone. You want to be able to read plates clearly, and see how many people are in the car to guard against false whiplash claims. Expect cameras to record in 720p resolution which should be clear and detailed. More expensive cameras may offer 1080p resolution. It’s not just the resolution that’s important – a wide angle view will show more of what happens.

2

DASH CAMS YOURs IMPARTIAL Witnes A camera could prove you were driving safely and save you money

Touch wood, you’ll get through your first few years on the road without a crash. But as a young driver, there’s a strong chance you will have a mishap at some point, even if it won’t necessarily be your fault. How do you prove the other driver was to blame? A dash cam doesn’t take sides. By recording any incident, you’ll have evidence of your actions and those of the other driver or drivers involved. It’s a lot harder to argue with a video recording

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than somebody’s fallible memory of who did what. Being in a crash can be stressful and intimidating, especially the first time. It’s easy to forget to write down details like the number plate of the other car. A dash cam will remember what you forget. And if the other driver sees you have a camera, they’re more likely to behave calmly as they know they are being filmed. Not only can dash cams help you prove you were driving

Auto start-stop You’d kick yourself if you had a crash and had forgotten to click ‘record’, wouldn’t you? That’s why most dash cams automatically start recording when you turn on the ignition.

3

GPS positioning A built-in GPS will confirm where an incident occurred, and will show what speed you were travelling at – so don’t speed!

responsibly, they can make a worthwhile investment even if you never have an accident. That’s because many insurers offer a discount for drivers who use a camera, which can be as high as 30%. This could save far more than the cost of the dash cam, given that you can pick up good quality cameras from around £50.


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Switch ON TO DAB

You can upgrade your old car radio to receive a DAB signal. Here’s how...

Analogue radio is about to go the way of the record player, VHS and cassette tapes (if you don’t remember those, ask mum and dad). The government hasn’t set a date for when it flicks the big switch and almost all radio goes digital, but it could be within the next few years. The trouble is, some new cars and many used ones don’t have a digital (or DAB) radio. But don’t worry, upgrading is usually easy and affordable.

Why should I upgrade before the switchover?

You don’t have to, but a DAB radio gives access to more channels. Tuning is less fiddly, sound quality is better, and you get more info about what you’re listening to. With the track and artist displayed on a screen, there’s no temptation to run music through Shazam while you are driving. What’s

more, a DAB unit is more likely than an older radio to have a USB port or Bluetooth connectivity so you can listen to music from your phone.

How do I get DAB if my car doesn't have a DAB radio?

If you have a conventional radio head unit (either single of double DIN) rather than one that’s built in and specific to the car, you can just swap it for a more up-to-date DAB radio. Expect to pay upwards of £100 for a single DIN DAB radio, rising to £300 plus for a high-spec double DIN unit. A replacement digital radio is likely to also come with an uprated aerial for receiving the digital signal. You can also buy roof-mounted aerials which generally receive a clearer signal but are more difficult to fit.

What if my car doesn't have a DIN radio?

Standard-sized radio units became less popular in the noughties, as many car makers switched to built-in units that were fully integrated with the dashboard and so couldn’t be stolen. If your car has this type of radio, you can still upgrade. The simplest option is a ‘plugand-play’ adapter. These plug in to the car’s 12v socket, and play DAB through your existing FM radio via the aux-in port. You could pay as little as £30, although higher quality devices with more features like the Pioneer SDA-11DAB cost around £60 or so. There are downsides to this type of adapter. If your car stereo doesn’t have an aux-in port, they won’t work. Even if it does, reception may not be as good as with a built-in DAB radio with a roof aerial. But so long as your stereo has an aux-in port this is the easiest and cheapest way to install DAB in your car.

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read T CAREFULLY It’s hard to get excited about car tyres. In fact, it’s all too easy to take them for granted. But you know what? Everything your car does depends upon your tyres. Accelerating, braking and cornering all rely on those four patches of rubber in contact with the road surface. That’s why it’s vital that you look after your tyres. For one thing, correctly inflated tyres will cut your fuel bill, saving you money. What’s more, if you neglect your tyres you could be breaking the law.

If the tread is too worn or the tyres have other defects you could be fined £2500 – for each tyre – and receive points on your licence. Now here’s the really important bit. Taking regular care of your tyres won’t just save you money at the fuel pump, and keep you the right side of the law. It’s absolutely vital to keeping you safe, especially in bad weather. Tyres with plenty of tread can make the difference between a near miss and not making it home in one piece at all.

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.

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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.

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.

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.


The Young Driver’s Guide

STOP SAFELY

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STOPPED SAFELY

70 -0 MPH WITH 3MM

While the car with 1.6mm is still travelling at 50mph

70 -0 MPH WITH 1.6MM

37 METRES

FURTHER TO STOP

The minimum legal tread depth may be 1.6mm, but tyres become less safe in wet weather well before the legal minimum is reached. Tests carried out by Continental Tyres and Auto Express magazine compared stopping distances for four cars from 70mph with 3mm of tread and with 1.6mm of tread. On average, the cars with 1.6mm of tread left needed another 37 metres to stop and were still travelling at 50mph when they would have come to a halt with 3mm of tread. So it’s much safer to change at 3mm than to wait until tyres are barely legal.

PART-WORN TYRES During your first few years on the road, the chances are you’ll be on a tight budget. It can be tempting to cut corners and partworn tyres are one way to save a few quid. Take care, though: an investigation by the Local Government Association found that as many as 83% of second-hand tyres in some areas don’t meet minimum legal standards. Some tyres were 23 years old. What’s more, the industry body TyreSafe found that 58%

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.

of part-worn tyres they examined had serious safety defects. Think about it. Do you really want an unsafe tyre someone else has thrown away on your car? And if you fail an MOT because your part-worn tyres are faulty then any saving will quickly disappear.

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

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.

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C . R A C T S FIR out on g n i t r a t s t s u ive r s j

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How long does it take to learn to drive?

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Major and minor faults in the driving test

LEARNING

Driving lessons aren’t cheap, so it makes sense to get your money’s worth. Being well prepared for the learning to drive journey by knowing what to expect can save time and money. Firstcar.co.uk has 40+ guides to help you navigate smoothly through that journey.

"

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Learner drivers: The effects of the Covid-19 lockdown survey

"

How to Apply for a Provisional Licence

P LU S W E ’V E D OZ E N S O F V ID E O S T O WAT C H T O O, F R O M M A ST E R IN G M A NOEU V R E S T O ‘H OW T O ’ G U ID E S

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PLU S W IN OV ER £6 0,0 0 0 WO RT H O F P R IZ ES IN CLU D IN G A N EW CA R INSURANCE

You may think that it costs a lot of money to insure a new driver, but there’s good reason – your risk profile is higher. Take a look at our insurance guides for things you can do to get that price down.

BUYING

Often a new driver’s first car is a secondhand one, so we’ve got handy advice on where to buy and what to look out for. There’s also some interesting info on how a new or even nearly new car might not be as costly as you think and a safer option.

t h e r s o m e, e g o t d e ll u a ls o p c e yo u’ve p a s s e d ll , we ’ve n a t n o n ’s t a h t t o e s u r edor ive r fo r li fe . But s e id u g y t r o a d s a feo u’l l b e c o m e a s a fe y


y t e f a s d Roa

WE’RE IN THIS TOGETHER

I

magine a future with no road deaths. That’s the ambition of Vision Zero, a global road safety project to end fatalities on our roads. Why zero? Well, if not zero, then how many? 15? 10? One? A single road death might not sound a lot, unless it’s someone you care about. Let’s not accept that road deaths are inevitable. We can make the roads safe for all but only if everyone works together. Whoever you are, and however you get from A to B, you can make a difference.

I'M A PEDESTRIAN “Whenever I cross the road I will check carefully for traffic. I’ll use a pedestrian crossing if there’s one nearby.”

T PROJEC D R A EDW very

dward (E Project E A Road Death) t u o Day WIth s best practice in . e s a c w o r the UK sh ty all ove road safe rojectedward on p Follow # dia to find out e social m ore. m

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I'M A YOUNG PASSENGER “I know my mate has just passed her test. I’ll make sure I don’t distract her so she can concentrate.”


The Young Drivers Guide

SAF ETY

I'M A LEARNER DRIVER “I’m going to focus on being a safe driver for life, not just passing my tests.”

I'VE JUST PASSED “To be a better driver I’m going to take a PassPlus course. It will make me safer and cut the cost of my insurance too!”

I'M A PARENT “Every time I get behind the wheel I’ll remember that I’m setting an example for my kids. How can I expect them to drive well if I speed or check my phone at the lights?”

I'M A ROAD SAFETY ENGINEER “Well designed infrastructure makes the roads safer for everyone. I will design road layouts that help all road users stay safe.”

I'M A CYCLIST “I will ride predictably and within the law. I’ll always use lights when riding at night.”

I'M A LORRY DRIVER “My truck can cause a lot of damage. I’ll always look out for vulnerable road users.”

Lilly’s

TOP TIP

Put yourself in the shoes of other road users. Understanding what the roads are like for cyclists and horse riders will help you to become a better driver.

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Drink

& DRUGS D

RINK, DRUGS AND driving don’t mix. Fortunately young people tend to 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”. 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

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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 220 deaths in 2020, 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.


The Young Drivers Guide

SAF ETY

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 bother to 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. The seat belt is probably the single most effective piece of

SEAT BELTS &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.

safety equipment in any car, credited with saving more than a million lives worldwide. Why wouldn’t you wear one?

REA DR I SAF

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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, pride can get the better of you. With the confidence a full licence brings, and no highly trained instructor or watchful parent keeping an eye on your driving, 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

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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 could 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...


The Young Drivers Guide

SAF ETY

T

Vulnerable ROAD USERS

HE DAY YOU get behind the wheel with your full driving licence, you’ll probably feel like the king or queen of the road. Good for you. Passing your test is a big achievement. Just remember, once you are a fully qualified driver the roads don’t suddenly belong to you. Other road users have the right to use the road too. That includes bikers, cyclists, horse riders and pedestrians. It’s important to share road space with all user groups, especially as vulnerable users are, well, vulnerable. Hit a cyclist with your 1.5-tonne metal box and it’s going to hurt them more than it hurts you.

THE RIGHT (AND WRONG) WAY TO DRIVE AROUND VULNERABLE ROAD USERS DO... overtake wide and slow, when you can see far enough ahead to do so safely. Give cyclists and horse riders plenty of room (at least 1.5 metres for cyclists and 2 metres for horses). Be especially careful with horses, overtaking at low speed then accelerating gently. Search ‘Dead Slow Road Safety BHS’ on YouTube to find videos giving great advice about overtaking horses. Type in ‘Too Close For Comfort Virtual Reality’

to find a film that gives a cyclist’s perspective on being overtaken.

DO... use the ‘Dutch reach’ when getting out of your car. This road safety technique involves opening a car door with the opposite hand (so the left hand opens the driver’s door, not the right hand). Having to twist around to open the door turns the head and upper body towards the road, encouraging the driver to look out for cyclists.

DON’T... assume other road users have seen you. In particular, look out for elderly pedestrians and children. Slow down, and be ready to stop. DON’T... be impatient if you feel you are being held up. Drivers are sometimes annoyed if cyclists use the road rather than a nearby cycle path, but cyclists are entitled to be on the road. Everyone deserves to get from A to B safely and without intimidation.

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REASONS TO DRIVE AT A SAFE SPEED

SPEEDING Y OUNG DRIVERS MAY have a rep for speeding, but that’s not entirely fair. Drivers aged 35-44 are the ones who are caught and convicted the most, far more than drivers aged 17-24. What’s

T U E CO S THE TREEDING OF SP ed can make

ore spe live A little m nce. Could you st fa ere o iff d to g ig b in v a ph rself if dri with you tal crash? At 35m to fa a ly e s lik led to is twice a a driver one as they are e m kill so h. at 30mp

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more, the chances are new drivers will have a telematics insurance policy, which means a higher premium for those who regularly drive too fast. So, be like most young drivers, and respect the limit. Better still, remember that it’s a limit not a target. Your driving instructor has probably spoken to you about ‘appropriate’ speed. You need to drive at a speed that’s appropriate for the conditions. Thick fog, heavy rain or other hazards could mean an ‘appropriate’ speed is well below the legal maximum. There are times when obeying the letter of the law isn’t enough to keep you safe.

✪ You’ll save money. Sticking to the limit burns less fuel. ✪ You’ll pay less for insurance. Driving at a sensible speed will reduce your premium if you have a black box policy. ✪ You’ll keep your licence. Rack up six points for speeding offences in your first two years on the road (or any other illegal driving) and your licence will be gone.

REASONS TO SPEED ✪ You might arrive at the back of the next queue of traffic a few seconds sooner. Really, that’s it. Not much of a reason, is it?


The Young Drivers Guide

SAF ETY

TIREDNESS B

ELIEVE IT OR NOT, fatigue is thought to be a bigger contributor to injury and death on the roads than drug-driving. Around 20% of collisions are reckoned to be fatigue-related, and up to a quarter of fatal and serious accidents. Fall asleep at the wheel, and you won’t brake or steer away from danger. You’ll go on to hit something – another car, a brick wall, or maybe a pedestrian – without slowing down at all. It only takes a

moment. If you nod off on the motorway for just six seconds you’ll have travelled nearly 200 metres. It’s not just falling asleep completely that can cause an accident. If you are drowsy, you’ll make worse decisions and will react more slowly to hazards. Some studies suggest driving while tired is just as bad as driving while just over the drink-drive limit. You wouldn’t drive drunk, so why drive tired? A quick coffee or an energy

drink might wake you up for a while, but when the effect wears off you’ll end up feeling more tired than you did before. So if you are really tired, the safest thing you can do is stop and rest. A nap of around 10-20 minutes should help. Better to arrive late than to not arrive at all.

FIVE WAYS TO BEAT FATIGUE et a good night’s rest 1 Gbefore a long journey. Avoid alcohol. Even 2system if it is clear of your by the time you

drive it reduces the quality of sleep. If it’s still in your system the combination of fatigue and drink can be deadly. Take regular breaks. Stop for a breather every two hours. Share the driving. Short-term insurance from companies like Cuvva.com, Dayinsure. com and Veygo.com make it easy to arrange quick cover so a mate can take a turn behind the wheel. Don’t drive late at night or in the early hours of the morning.

3

4

5

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DISTRACTIONS T HE BLEEP OF A TEXT, loud music, your mate messing around in the passenger seat – sometimes there’s a lot going on that can distract the driver. Not all distractions are against the law. Using a

handheld mobile phone is illegal, banter with your best friend is not. But anything that takes your attention away from the road is dangerous. Other people are one of the biggest distractions of all. Believe it or not, young drivers

FIVE WAYS TO AVOID DISTRACTIONS

1 Switch your phone to ‘do

not disturb’ mode. This will hold calls and texts for when driving is over. 2 Keep the volume down and set the music playing

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before you set off so you won’t need to use the controls. 3 Set the sat nav destination before leaving. Rely more on voice instructions rather than staring at the screen, so you

are up to five times more likely to crash when they have two or more passengers in the car. If you are driving, make sure you stay focused. And if you’re the passenger, don’t mess around. Let the driver concentrate on driving.

keep your eyes on the road. 4 Stop to eat and drink. Don’t snack at the wheel. 5 Talk later. Save in-depth conversations for when the journey is over.


The Young Drivers Guide

SAF ETY

HOW YOU CAN BE PHONE SAFE A ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode will hold your calls and texts. ANDROID PHONE Go into settings and enable ‘do not disturb’. It’s on all phones with Google 6.0 or later. IPHONE If you are running iOS 11 or later, turn on ‘Do Not Disturb While Driving’. Go to Settings, Control Centre, then Customise Controls.

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 for any reason 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

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 HANDSNFREE 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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MOTORWAYdriving If you’re terrified by the prospect of motorway driving, there’s nothing to fear. Motorways are our safest roads. And recent changes to the law mean you can now take lessons on the motorway before your practical test so long as you are with your ADI and in a car with dual controls.

LORRY You can drive at 70mph on the motorway, but articulated lorries have a lower limit. As a result, they can take ages to overtake each other, so if you come up behind one already in lane two, prepare to go into the outside lane to pass it.

5

KEY STEPS TO STAYING SAFE

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1

STUDS

SLIP ROADS Once you’re on the slip road to join or leave a motorway, you’re committed to keep going. It’s an offence to turn around, so if you’ve made a mistake you’ll have to keep going and get back on course later on.

Make sure that you’ve got plenty of fuel before you get on the motorway. Service stops can be few and far between and you don’t want to run out of fuel – even if you’ve got breakdown cover. Fuel is also much more costly on the

motorway, so you don’t want to be forced to shop there as the chances are you’ll end up paying much more than you need to.

2

As you get to the end of the slip road to join the motorway, match your speed to the

Reflective markers separate the lanes from each other (white ones), the slip road (green) the hard shoulder (red) and the central reservation (orange).

traffic in the inside lane. Slot between any vehicles already in the inside lane; they’ll hopefully make room for you but they do have right of way. You don’t want to stop at the end of the slip road; then you’ll have to start off from a standstill...


The Young Drivers Guide

DR IVI NG ADVIC E

OVERTAKING

PLANNING

You should treat overtaking on the motorway the same as anywhere else. That means you check it’s clear, signal, then pull out to overtake. There’s no rush to get past, but once you’ve overtaken make sure you pull back in.

Usually, the first sign for a junction is a mile before it, the next is at the half-mile point. A mile sounds a lot, but if you’re in the outside lane at the half-mile point, you might not be able to get across in time if it’s busy. Miss your junction and you’ll have to go to the next...

MARKERS

LANE HOGGING

BREAKING DOWN

Motorways can have anywhere between two and five lanes on each side of the central reservation. Unless overtaking, you should be in the inside lane. Lane hog and you risk a fine as you’re obstructing other traffic.

3

If you break down, make sure you know where you are. There are emergency phones every mile with markers every 100 yards that give you the direction to the nearest phone. These phones will instantly tell the control centre where you

If you break down on a motorway you must move to the hard shoulder. Get as far to the left as possible, get out of the car and stay away from it, ideally behind a crash barrier and wearing a hi-vis jacket.

are, including which direction you’re travelling. If you don’t have breakdown cover you’ll have to pay to be recovered – and it won’t be cheap.

4

You’ll have to change lanes correctly if you want to make progress, so you’ll be pulling

At every junction there are three markers, counting down to the exit. The first is at 300 yards, the second at 200 yards and the third at 100 yards. If you’re leaving the motorway, be in the inside lane before the 300-yard marker, then start signalling as you pass it.

out to overtake then back in again. Before you make any move, check over your shoulder to ensure you’re not cutting anyone up, and don’t forget to signal before changing lane.

5

When you come to leave the motorway, ease off

the gas before you leave the inside lane. Then start braking gradually as soon as you’re on the slip road; you’ve got a lot of speed to scrub off and you don’t want to get to the end of the slip road to find you’re still doing 50mph; it’ll suddenly seem very fast...

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The Young Driver’s Guide

DR IVI NG ADVIC E

y t l a n Pe

TI M E

Notch up six points within two years of passing your test and you’ll be banned from driving. This 24-month span is called the probationary period, and it applies to anyone gaining a new licence, regardless of age. Get points on your licence and your insurance will go up, so don’t do any of these things or you’ll pay the price…

THE PENALTIES ! !

RUN A RED LIGHT: Three points, £100 fine.

SPEEDING: At least three points plus a £100 fine. Serious speeding offenders can face a fine of £1000 (or £2500 for speeding on the motorway).

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DEFECTIVE TYRES: If they’re flat, bald or damaged, you can get a £2500 fine and three points – for each faulty tyre.

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DRINK OR DRUG DRIVING: This offence leads to an obligatory ban, jail for up to six months and an unlimited fine. A second offence within ten years means a driving ban of at least three years.

NOT IN PROPER CONTROL: Includes eating, smoking, drinking or being otherwise distracted: three points, a fine of at least £100, and possibly a ban.

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FAIL TO STOP AT A ZEBRA CROSSING: Most pedestrian crossing offences are dealt with by a Fixed Penalty Notice, with three points and a £100 fine, but the penalty could be £1000.

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USING A HAND-HELD MOBILE: Six points plus a £200 fine. Put up a fight in court and lose and you could be fined £1000. You may also be banned.

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FAILING TO STOP AFTER ACCIDENT:

Cause personal injury, and you must give your details, then report the incident to the police. Otherwise you face 5-10 points and a hefty fine. You could be banned and spend as long as six months in prison.

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DANGEROUS DRIVING: If convicted of dangerous driving by a Crown Court, you could face an unlimited fine and/or two years in jail.

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NO INSURANCE: At the very least, a £300 fine and six points.

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DRIVING WHILE BANNED: If caught driving while disqualified you can be jailed for up to six months, fined an unlimited amount, and you will almost certainly have the length of the ban extended.


CUT OUT AND KEEP

Accident checklist

Nobody wants to crash, but make sure you’ve got this page handy just in case, 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. Make & model:

Driver’s name:

Description of driver:

Number of occupants in car:

Driver’s contact number:

Car’s insurer:

Insurer’s contact number:

YOUR VEHICLE

DAMAGE TO VEHICLES:

Colour: 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: NOTE: 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 ■ Contact your insurance company as soon as possible after the accident – and certainly within 24 hours. 115


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