Theres nothing quite as exciting as picking out your first car, being able to drive it, and having the freedom of the roads ahead of you. Many of us will first start thinking about this life milestone by the time we hit 16, just waiting for that 17th birthday to come so we can apply for a provisional. However, there are a lot of late learners too, who wont get behind the wheel of a car until their 20s or 30s. Whatever stage of your life youre at, youre going to need some expert advice to help you achieve that goal. Heres our ultimate guide to passing your driving test and then picking your first car.
Learning to Drive
As soon as you get your provisional licence you are then able to start learning how to drive. Many people start off with beginner driving lessons to teach them the basics of a car, the road and safety. You then have two options; continue with driving lessons or ask a friend or family member to teach you. We always advise getting at least 10 to 20 hours with a driving instructor, who can teach you everything you need to know about passing your test. If you are going to ask a friend or family member to teach you then remember that the law states they must be over 21 and have had their driving licence for a minimum of three years.
There are two parts to the current driving test; the theory and the practical. You can do the theory as soon as you have a provisional licence, although it is best to have a couple of lessons first. In the theory test you will be asked a series of questions, relating to your knowledge of the Highway Code. You will also be given a Hazard Perception test, which looks at your response times and ability to recognise potential hazards along the way. Once you pass your theory test you will be able to apply for the practical, however, it is advised that you wait until your instructor or tutor thinks youre ready. The practical test will involve some parts outside of the car that revolve around safety, before you set off on the route your examiner sets out for you. The key to passing your practical is to be confident in your abilities and use everything you have learnt whilst driving with your teacher.
Picking Your Car
Once you have passed your test you will be handed over a certificate and your new drivers licence will be popped in the post by the DVLA. This is the time you can really start thinking about getting a car to give you that ultimate freedom on the road. Some of us cant afford to get a car right away, in which case you can always ask to borrow someone else’s (as long as youre insured). However, for those picking a car we would always suggest the following:
? Go for a small engine size – It is your first car and you want to ease yourself into driving slowly. Most insurance companies wont cover you for anything over a 1.2 as your first car, so bear this in mind.
? Opt for reliable – We all want something that drives like a dream, but make sure you go for a car that is reliable. Having to take it to the garage for repairs every month will cost you a fortune otherwise.
Buy second hand – You dont want to start your new driving life with a huge debt over your head, so opt for something second hand as opposed to brand new.
These handy tips should make it easier, and more enjoyable, to start driving. We wish you all the luck in the world!