A Safety Guide for Responsible Young & First Time Drivers

Being a new young motorist can be at once a thrilling and anxiety-inducing thing, given both the freedom that driving can provide and the responsibility that driving places upon you. Road safety charity Brake reports that young drivers are at more risk on UK roads than older drivers, due to a variety of factors from inexperience to high-risk habits and beyond. As a young driver, how can you put safety first in your own driving practice?

Understanding Road Safety Rules

First and foremost, it is incumbent on you to understand road safety rules, above and beyond obtaining a pass in your driving test. The Highway Code is an essential document for you to familiarise yourself with, and full of extremely important information about your responsibilities when driving. The recently-added ‘hierarchy of road users’ is a great lens through which to view your presence on the road, and your responsibility to other road users.

Vehicle Maintenance 101

It isn’t just your actions that dictate your safety on the road; the condition and quality of your vehicle is also a key factor in road safety. This doesn’t mean you need to invest in a brand-new vehicle to maintain road safety, but it does mean getting to know some essential at-home maintenance checks. 

The condition of your tyres and brakes should be checked regularly. If the depth of your your tyre treads drop below 3mm, consider replacing them; if they drop below 1.2mm (or the width of the outer band on a 20p piece), they are no longer road-legal on account of their reduced traction. You should also be checking your fluids regularly, particularly your oil – the depletion or degradation of which can cause catastrophic engine issues.

Legal Responsibility and Financial Protection

As a driver on the road, you have a legal as well as moral responsibility to drive safely and carefully. Not only can your failure to drive carefully result in criminal charges, but also civil proceedings via compensation claims from injured parties.

Car insurance is a legal requirement, precisely for the protection of all parties involved in an accident or collision. Any car insurance policy will be enough, but choosing young driver insurance is advantageous on a number of key fronts – including your ability to reduce the cost of your insurance policy with a telematics (or black box) policy. 

Coping With Peer Pressure

Finally, and no less importantly, we come to the subject of peer pressure – something which all of us have experienced in youth and young adulthood, with respect to a wide variety of different situations. Peer pressure can be a hugely negative influence on safe driving practice, particularly if you are the only driver in your friend or peer group – and without the right tools to address it, could feel impossible not to cave in to.

However, being a motorist not only puts you in a position of immense responsibility on the road, but also one of responsibility to – and authority of – your friends and passengers. As the person behind the wheel, you are literally in control, and are more than capable of taking control of the situation. If a passenger or friend encourages dangerous driving, it is your responsibility and your privilege to take the high road.