Safety code for new drivers

Part of: The Highway Code, The Highway Code Annexes

Once you have passed the driving test you will be able to drive on your own. This will provide you with lots of opportunities but you need to remain safe.

Develop your skills

Even though you have shown you have the skills you need to drive safely, many newly qualified drivers lack experience. You need to continue to develop your skills, especially anticipating other road users’ behaviour to avoid having a collision.

As many as one new driver in five has some kind of collision in their first year of driving. The Highway Code provides advice to help you get through the first 12 months after passing the driving test - when you are vulnerable - as safely as possible.

  • many of the worst collisions happen at night - between midnight and 6.00 am is a time of high risk for new drivers - so avoid driving then unless it’s really necessary
  • if you are driving with passengers, you are responsible for their safety - don’t let them distract you or encourage you to take risks (tell your passengers that you need to concentrate if you are to get to your destination safely)
  • never show off or try to compete with other drivers, particularly if they are driving badly
  • don’t drive if you have consumed any alcohol or taken drugs - even over-the-counter medicines can affect your ability to drive safely – read the label to see if they may affect your driving
  • make sure everyone in the car is wearing a seat belt throughout the journey
  • keep your speed down – many serious collisions happen because the driver loses control, particularly on bends
  • most new drivers have no experience of driving high-powered or sporty cars - unless you have learnt to drive in such a vehicle you need to get plenty of experience driving on your own before driving a more powerful car
  • driving while uninsured is an offence (see 'Motor vehicle documentation and learner driver requirements' for information on types of insurance cover)
  • Motor vehicle documentation learner and restricted driver requirements

Remember that under the New Drivers Order you will have your licence revoked if you get six penalty points on your licence within two years of passing your first driving tests. You will need to pass both the theory and practical tests again to get back your full licence.

You could consider taking further training or obtaining an advanced driving qualification which could save you money on your insurance as well as helping you reduce your risk of being involved in a collision.

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