Learning to drive takes a long time. Indeed, it can be argued that you never stop learning.
Before you pass your test, you need to be safe while on the road. That’s where hourly temporary learner insurance steps in – with it, you can safely practice until you are ready to take the driving test.
While passing your driving test is one step of learning to drive, the experience you gain after you pass has the most significant impact. There is only so much you can learn during your driving lessons, and a range of things you can only learn through experience.
It’s easy to think you will know everything about driving once you’ve passed your driving test. But in reality, we all make driving mistakes and are constantly learning when we are behind the wheel.
But if you’re a learner or new driver, here are some of the things your driving instructor might not teach you and some of the common mistakes that learner drivers make.
What do You Still Need to Learn?
How to drive on the motorway
One of the most significant things you need to learn after you pass your test is the art of motorway driving. This used to be because learner drivers were not allowed onto the motorway. As of 2018, learners are allowed on the motorway with a qualified instructor.
However, using the motorway takes practice. There are a number of elements of motorway decorum that you cannot appreciate until you have experienced them.
These include hogging the middle lane, undertaking drivers who are doing so, tailgating slower drivers on the motorway and knowing what to do on smart motorways.
Learning to drive on the motorway is as much about avoiding these common learner driver mistakes as it is the theoretical knowledge of which lane to use and how to change.
How to use your headlights properly
The driving test does not feature specific guidance on being behind the wheel at night. As a result, it can be challenging to understand the proper use of headlights, among other aspects of driving when it is dark.
Part of learning to drive over time is getting a feel for when you need lights on and the timing of using full-beam headlights. You also need to grasp how and when to use your fog lights. It is actually prohibited to use your fog lights if the visibility is above 100 metres.
How to use full beam headlights
Full beam headlights are handy if you spend a lot of time driving at night on roads with limited lighting, helping to keep a clear view of the road ahead. But, do you know how to use them correctly?
As soon as you encounter another vehicle ahead of you, you must switch back to dipped headlights to ensure you don’t dazzle the driver. This is one of the common mistakes drivers make and could lead to other drivers losing control of their vehicle.
How to use the horn
As a learner, you might see fellow road users using their horns to signal their displeasure. Perhaps they have been cut off on a motorway, or surprised by a driver pulling out on them. Either way, using the horn for any reason other than to warn a fellow motorist of a dangerous situation is forbidden.
Your horn is only really meant to be used to signal to other cars that you are present. It is also against the highway code to use your horn if you are stationary (like at traffic lights) or in a built-up area at night.
How to make the most of your mirrors
You need to have a basic understanding of your mirrors to pass your driving test. However, there are several aspects of proper mirror use that are not essential parts of most driving lessons.
Your rear-view mirror is key to keeping an eye on other cars and low-speed driving. You should be familiar with this to pass the test.
However, do you know how to use your car’s anti-dazzle switch? Equally, learners need to make sure they have full command of their mirrors to maintain safe driving.
How to check tyre pressure
Many new drivers rely solely on their MOT for checking tyre pressure. Unless your car is equipped with a tyre pressure monitoring system that alerts you when your tyre pressure is low, you should take time to check your tyres are properly inflated.
Not only will driving on poorly maintained tyres can reduce your vehicle’s performance, but it can also increase fuel consumption and even lead to a blow-out.
When checking your car’s tyre pressure, make sure to do so when the tyres are cold: recently driven-on tyres could lead to a false reading.
Not to hog the middle lane
Although you may think this is just an annoying driving habit, hogging the middle lane when driving on the motorway is actually a breach of the highway code.
This is classified as careless driving as it makes overtaking considerably harder. If you’re caught unnecessarily driving in the middle lane of a motorway for long periods, you could face a fine and points on your driving licence.
Not to play loud music
Although you might enjoy blaring your favourite music when you are behind the wheel, this isn’t best practice when driving.
Not only could it prevent you from hearing emergency vehicle sirens or other road users, but it could significantly distract you from driving safely and to the best of your ability.
If a police officer finds that you’re distracted by music when driving, you could be charged with driving without due care and attention.
If you do listen to music when driving, make sure to keep the volume at a suitable level to keep away distractions and allow you to maintain control of the car.
How to clear ice from your windscreen
On a cold day, you may be tempted to clear just enough ice from the driver’s side of the windscreen to allow you to see out.
However, learner drivers should be aware that if your vehicle is deemed to be in a dangerous condition, you could face a fine and points on your licence.
By law, drivers need a full view of the road and traffic ahead, so take your time to clear all ice from the glass and mirrors.
One of the common mistakes that both new drivers and experienced drivers make is pouring boiling water onto the windscreen to clear ice. This extreme temperature change can crack or even shatter the windscreen, making your vehicle unsafe to drive.
Some handy advice that you probably won’t learn from your driving instructor is the safest way to clear your windscreen from ice and snow. Using the defrost setting to blow air onto the windscreen, as well as deicing liquid and a windscreen scraper, is the most effective way to clear the glass and mirrors before you travel.
Not to splash pedestrians
Although this is something your driving instructor probably covered, experienced drivers forget that splashing pedestrians is considered driving without reasonable consideration for other persons. For mistakes like this, you can face a fine and points on your driving licence if caught by the police.
Get temporary car insurance from Goshorty
Learning to drive takes everyone a different amount of time. Failing a driving test is not a sign of being a bad driver, it is simply a sign of not being ready to take your test yet. All that it needs is more practice.
Hourly Learner Insurance is perfect for however long you need to learn. It covers you to drive either your own or someone else’s car for between 1 hr and 28 days. Hourly learner insurance allows you to get out and practice safely for as long as you need.
Get a temporary insurance quote today, and see how much it would cost you to get hourly learner insurance.