Hey everyone, it’s Kate! I hope you’re all enjoying the sun – my car doesn’t have air conditioning so it’s getting a bit toasty!
I’ve been driving for a while now, and I like to think that I know what I’m doing. In fact, I’m starting to realise that I’ve taught myself a lot of extra skills after getting my licence.
I thought I’d share a few of them here to help new drivers get to grips with their cars.
The first drive
That first solo drive is one of the scariest things you’ll ever do (and that’s after you’ve got over paying for the insurance!) I think it’s best to do this drive when you have nothing else to do that day – no 9am exams to get to younger sibling to pick up from school. Take it at your own pace and you’ll be fine.
Demisting your car
In the last week we’ve had heatwaves and thunderstorms, so the British weather is definitely changeable. This can really affect your visibility as your windscreen will mist up as soon as moisture hits it.
If your car has misted up and you’re lucky enough to have air con, switch it on and whack the heater up to full blast and point it at the windscreen. The air con will dry out the air and the heater will dry the glass.
If it’s not demisting fast enough, a quick blast down the road with the windows down should do the trick. See? Not so hard once you know how!
Possibly even scarier than your first solo drive, your first motorway drive is a momentous occasion. I had a couple of lessons after my test so that my instructor could give me some great motorway tips that I’ll share with you now:
• Match your speed with the motorway whilst you’re on the slip road.
• Make sure your mirrors are clean and in the right position, then use them. A lot.
• Use the left hand lane, unless you’re overtaking. Did you know it’s actually against the law to hog the middle lane?!
• When you’re changing lanes check your blind spots. A quick glance over your shoulder should do it.
• Keep your distance between you and the car in front. Be especially wary of larger vehicles as they have bigger blind spots.
• Expect the unexpected. You can be the best driver ever, but that won’t stop other drivers being unpredictable. Look ahead and make sure you’re paying attention to the surrounding vehicles – don’t daydream and don’t be tempted to check your phone while driving.
Fill her up!
Most instructors will make you have a go at this before your test, but just in case, here is a quick guide to filling up your car:
1. Pull into the petrol station. Make sure you’ve chosen the pump on the same side to your fuel cap. If you’re not sure, check the dash for the pump symbol and there will be an arrow that shows you which side yours is on.
2. Open the fuel cap. Some cars need you to press a button, some need you to prize it open, and then you’ll need to unscrew the cap itself so that you can put fuel in.
3. Choose the right fuel – is your car petrol or diesel? Choose the right one and take it off the hook. If you do accidentally pick the wrong one, don’t worry it happens, but don’t start your car – call your breakdown service immediately and wait for instructions.
4. Put your nozzle in the fuel hole, and squeeze the trigger to start the fuel flow.
5. Keep the nozzle in position until your fuel tank is full, at which point it will stop automatically. Or, you can play the stop-filling-up-at-a-round-number game (come on, we’ve all done it!)
6. Replace the pump, the fuel cap and the cover. Go pay and then you’re on your way!
Hopefully I’ve given you a few handy pointers for getting used to driving solo, but here are a few extra quick tips (because I’m feeling generous!):
• Drive with the radio on – I didn’t try this before my test and it was really distracting. Change the volume and stations as you go along so that you get used to it.
• Play with your buttons. Take 5 minutes to figure out what all those fancy gadgets and gizmos on your dashboard actually do.
• Is your door lock frozen? Probably not in this weather, I grant you, but in winter just shoot hand sanitiser straight into the lock to defrost it.
• Car like a sauna? (More likely right now.) Open your front passenger window, get out of the car and open and close the door several times to waft the hot air out.
• Keep your chips warm – aim your heaters at the passenger seat so you never have a cold takeaway again! This tip has revolutionised my Sunday nights, I’m telling you!
So there you have it. A couple of hints and tricks that probably should have been taught in your driving lessons.
If you want to know about any of our new cars and their features, contact your local Perrys dealer today!