Getting behind the wheel can be daunting if you haven’t driven for a while. Perhaps you’ve been working from home for months, or you have moved to a new address. Whatever the reason, if you have not been driving for a long period of time, you need to refamiliarise yourself with your car and driving.
This article will look at the best ways to ease yourself back into driving if you haven’t done it for a while. The most important thing for a driver is to feel comfortable controlling a vehicle safely. Follow the tips below, and you should be well on your way to enjoying driving again.
Why do people take a break from driving?
There are many reasons why someone might not have driven for a while. Illness and injury can be significant reasons that make it difficult for people to use their cars.
Driving costs can be another reason that people stop. The cost of a vehicle, road tax, insurance, an MOT, fuel, and general maintenance all add up.
Confidence can also be an issue for many people. It might be that they passed their test but felt too anxious to start driving without someone beside them, Or, if they were involved in an accident, it could be hard to build up the courage to go again.
Sometimes learners take time out and it feels like starting all over again. The cost of lessons, loss of confidence, or many other reasons can get in the way of learning to drive, and it can be challenging to start again.
Check your documents
Checking the car has a valid MOT, road tax, and is properly insured for you to drive it should be your priority.
After building up the courage to get behind the wheel, the last thing you want is for it to be driven illegally.
If you are still a bit unsure about driving, you might think twice before committing to the expense of a full annual insurance policy. One great way to get around this is by getting temporary car insurance or temporary van insurance instead.
Temporary car insurance allows drivers to get cover to drive a vehicle for a short period. This could be an excellent way for anyone tentative about driving again. Here at GoShorty, we have a great range of temporary insurance options.
Practising driving lessons is a great way to prepare for your test without the high cost. Investing in temporary learner driver insurance will give you legal access to a vehicle to get this valuable practice under your belt.
Check the car
If you have checked your documents and can legally drive the vehicle, the next step should be to check that it is roadworthy.
Check car updates on modern vehicles
You might have a modern car that has had updates or requires them, or you might be using a car with features you aren’t familiar with. Using the car’s manual and familiarising yourself with the new technology will help with your confidence.
Get used to signals before going out
For regular drivers, many things become second nature, and muscle memory plays a part in their driving. However, if you are unfamiliar with a car or overthink things, remembering how to turn the wipers or lights on can make you panic and lose concentration.
Always take some time to reacquaint yourself with the vehicle’s controls before driving. Before setting off, take some time to check where the hazard lights, fog lights, and windscreen wipers are.
Ensure you are ready to drive
No matter why you have not driven, you should always ensure you are up to going after a break. Sometimes a medical condition might mean you cannot drive, and if a doctor has instructed this, it is illegal to drive until they give you the go-ahead.
You should also check that your eyesight hasn’t deteriorated in the time since you last got in a car. You should be able to read a car’s license plate from 20 metres.
Ensure you are up to date with the Highway Code
Road safety should be your priority anytime you get behind the steering wheel. Taking some time to look over the Highway Code and understanding the road rules and what different road signs mean is important.
It would be best if you also looked out for any updates to the Highway Code. In the last few years alone, updates regarding acceptable emissions, mobile phone use, and pedestrian rights of way have been updated. Even if you think you know the rules for driving in the UK, it is always worth refreshing your driving knowledge.
Ease yourself in
If you have not driven for an extended period, don’t throw yourself in at the deep end. It would help if you started slowly to get used to it again.
Find an empty car park where you can practise your driving skills like clutch control for around half an hour. Don’t push yourself too hard, and try to avoid rush hour traffic until you get your confidence back up.
Find a quiet residential estate or use quieter local roads to practice driving as your confidence grows.
The following tips will help you ease yourself in after a break from driving and improve hazard awareness and road safety.
Put P plates on the car
Nervous drivers can find it hard to deal with other traffic. One way to help with this is by putting green P plates on the car. The purpose of these plates is to let other road users know that you have just passed your test and are a new driver.
Anyone can use green P plates to encourage safe driving from other road users.
Until you are completely familiar with driving, avoiding distractions like music or having friends in the car can help you drive safely and focus on the task entirely.
Practice with a family member
If you don’t have your car, using a family member’s car and having them sit in with you until your confidence grows will help people that have had a break from driving.
Get professional lessons
If you are returning to driving after a long break or are still a learner driver who wants to pass your driving test, lessons from a professional driving instructor will be beneficial.
A professional in the passenger seat can boost your confidence and provide essential guidance.
Take a driving course
If you still aren’t confident in your driving ability after passing your driving test or want to start driving after a break, an advanced driving course can help you get back up to speed and get you back to driving safely.
Practising in a car park will help, but taking a refresher course will make a huge difference.
Driving with a professional and taking a driving course will help you gain the confidence to get back on the road, into the city centre and motorways, but it will also improve your road safety.
Driving courses like Pass Plus improve peoples ‘defensive driving skills’. Defensive driving is a term used for the skills needed to avoid causing or being involved in accidents.
Pass Plus includes six modules that ensure you are ready to drive in towns, rural roads, in all weather conditions, at night, on dual carriageways, and motorways.
Start to build your confidence and start driving again
If you consider getting back into driving after a long break, it is important that you feel comfortable and confident to be a safe driver. The advice given above should help you achieve this, and taking it step by step is advised.
Get a temporary insurance quote today, and see how much it would cost you to insure a car for the time you actually need.