Four Things You Don’t Learn When Learning to Drive
Learning to drive is a significant milestone for many people in the world. Here in the UK, you can get a provisional driving licence near your 16th birthday and start to legally drive alone on the roads at 17. The whole process is designed to shape you into a safe and aware road user – the driving theory test teaches you things like how to spot road hazards and understand signage, with the practical test ensuring that you are comfortable behind the wheel. However, driving lessons often exclude a number of key points that are vitally important once you actually start to drive. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of these so you can be better prepared when you’re out on the road.
Dealing with distractions
Driving lessons are all about concentration on the road and developing a healthy driving etiquette, but they do very little to prepare you for the open road with all the distractions that come with it. Impatient motorists, road rage, loud music, passengers in your car and technology – all of these are distractions from your sole focus on driving and it takes experience to be able to deal with these. It makes sense to slowly build your way up to things like having friends in the car with you, to ensure that you are comfortable driving alone first.
Repairs and maintenance
There may be the odd ‘show and tell’ task in driving lessons and the practical test, but the ins and outs of car maintenance are usually unknown to many newly passed drivers. Simple things like identifying when you have a slow puncture or when your engine oil needs topping up are fundamental pieces of knowledge and can be difficult to put into practice. Furthermore, tasks like sourcing replacement tyres or other car parts can be daunting when you don’t know the industry. For example, what’s the difference between Michelin tyres and other brands? How much will a certain repair cost me realistically? These are all things you will need to pick up at some point.
Using fog lights and full beams
If you’ve only had driving lessons in the daytime or in good weather conditions, then you’ll be less than prepared for the opposite driving conditions. You may think you’re aware of how to operate your headlights, but you need to be confident in using these instruments correctly when the time comes. Practice switching your fog lights and full beams on before you are forced to use them, otherwise you could be endangering yourself and those in your car.
The insurance process
Finally, learning the practical side of driving is all well and good but new drivers could always do with understanding the insurance process. Many drivers, particularly those with parents who sort these things on their behalf, don’t know the first thing about taking out car insurance, what details are needed in the event of an accident or how to make a claim. This is fundamental knowledge that all road users need to know, especially if you’re driving on your own.