Just passed your driving test? Congratulations! All those months of hard work have finally paid off and now the open road awaits you.
Having a driving licence will give you a new found freedom; but high insurance costs can make it tricky for 17-25 year olds to get behind the wheel.
Young and inexperienced drivers are considered to be a higher risk by insurers as they're statistically most likely to be involved in a car accident. According to research cited by road safety charity Brake, drivers aged 17-19 make up just 1.5% of UK licence holders, yet are involved in 12% of all serious and fatal accidents. Data from the AA also shows that 23% of 18-24 year olds crash their car within two years of passing their test.
There are a number of possible reasons why young drivers are involved in more accidents than other age groups; inexperience, poor judgement and over confidence are just a few examples. If younger drivers are more at risk of having a car accident then they're more likely to make a claim, hence why insurance tends to be more expensive for them.
The old adage is true, "you don't learn to drive, you learn to pass your test". The real learning comes when you're out on the road, alone, without a driving instructor telling you what to do. The more you drive, the more your road skills will improve and the more confident you'll grow. Nevertheless, the first few weeks of driving solo can be a daunting experience. Here are some tips to help keep you safe on the road:
Your very first solo drive can be unnerving. Keep it short and stick to a route you know so you don't get lost and anxious. Turn off phones and turn down the radio so you can give driving your full attention.
Let other drivers know you're a newly qualified driver by displaying 'P' plates on your car. By doing this, they're more likely to be understanding if you drive a little slower than the limit or make any minor errors.
Using your phone while driving is against the law, but even having it in your line of vision can be distracting. If it rings of flashes it might draw your attention away from the road, so the best thing to do is store it away in a bag while you're behind the wheel.
The first thing you'll want to do when you pass your test is pick up your friends for a ride. But, a car full of excited people can be distracting, whether they're talking to you or not. Make sure you get enough experience driving on your own first — your mates can wait a few weeks for a lift.
If you want to further improve your driving skills with the help of an instructor, you could do a Pass Plus course. Devised by the Driving Standards Agency (DSA), the course lasts a minimum of six hours and will broaden your experience driving on different road types and situations. The module will cover:
Before you get behind the wheel, you'll need to find suitable insurance. If you used your own car to practice in, bear in mind that your insurance will no longer be valid now your circumstances have changed and you're a fully qualified driver.
If you're looking to get the best deal on car insurance for younger drivers (who isn't?), there are a number of things you can do to help lower costs, such as:
It may sound obvious, but ensuring you drive safely and retain a point free licence is a guaranteed way of keeping insurance costs to a minimum. If you have no accidents and therefore make no claims, you'll start to build up a no claims discount over the years, leading to a reduction in your car insurance.
Adding an experienced driver with a claim free history to your policy can result in cheaper insurance. If they aren't the main driver of the car, they shouldn't be named as such on your policy as this is against the law.
You might be tempted to personalise your car but non safety related modifications almost always lead to a hike in insurance costs, whether those modifications are functional, aesthetic or performance related. Not only that, but some modifications, such as superchargers, could make it impossible for you to get insured as a young driver.
Haven't bought your car yet? Before signing your name on the dotted line, carry out research to find out which cars are the cheapest to insure. All car makes and models will fall under an insurance category which impact the price you pay.
One option is to consider telematics insurance, such as our SmartMiles policy. This kind of insurance can help young drivers manage their insurance costs and maintain safe driving habits through dashboard reports that provide detailed feedback of your driving over time.
Here at Hastings Direct, we believe all safe and competent drivers should be able to enjoy the freedom of driving, regardless of their age. We also understand that it can be tricky for young drivers to find the money to cover insurance costs, particularly when they're still in education and have limited income.
Our aim is to keep insurance costs as low as possible for 17-25 year olds while at the same time reinforcing the concept of safe driving. Choosing from our third party, third party fire & theft and comprehensive policies, young drivers are able to take advantage of our flexible cover with a range of great benefits as standard, thus enabling them to make significant cost savings. What's more, we offer a range of additional benefits that can be added to policies, such as cover for cracked windscreen and windows.
All information is correct at time of publication. Hastings Direct cannot be held responsible for any misinformation displayed.