Many people pass their driving test and then spend the next few months easing themselves in. You’ve probably heard that your driving lessons are just to teach you how to pass your test and that you actually learn how to drive in those first few months out on the road on your own. While there’s more to your lessons than that, it is your time out in your own car, driving without assistance that really teaches you how the roads work and make you a more confident driver.
Few of us pass our tests, buy a car and head straight out onto the motorway or on long distance journeys on our own. In fact, if your partner already drives, you might find that you only ever drive short, local journeys. Sticking to roads that you know and never pushing yourself out of your comfort zone.
Then, one day you need to travel further afield, or you just realise that the time has come to start making the most of your car and your skills. One of the reasons that you learned to drive was probably for more freedom and independence, so don’t deny yourself.
Get to Know Your Car
If you’ve bought your car from a trusted dealer, and used a respectable garage like Stuttgart Autos for regular services, maintenance and repairs, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be up to a long journey (get it checked out if you’ve got any doubts on that front). But, how well do you know it? A long journey can feel very different to a short trip to the shops, and you might need to use more of your cars controls that you usually do.
So, spend some time getting to know it better before you set off. Sit in the cabin and adjust your seat and mirrors. Look at all of the buttons and dials to make sure you know what they all do, and take some time to read through your owners manual.
Plan a Playlist
Some drivers find that music helps them to relax and focus. Others, find it to be a distraction that takes their mind off the road. Only you can say which you prefer. But, if you do like to listen to music as you drive, it can be a good idea to prepare a playlist for a long trip, so that you don’t have to worry about fiddling with the radio.
Prep Your SatNav
Whether you are great with directions or not, programming your route into a satnav, or the app on your phone and getting it set up before you leave can give you a backup. It can help to reassure you in moments of uncertainty and give you a little extra help if you need it.
It’s also always a good idea to look at a map or go through your journey on google street view before you leave.
Take Some Deep Breaths
Your first long trip can be daunting. Even if you’ve been driving for years, suddenly taking on a significantly longer trip, on larger roads, can make you feel anxious. Take some deep breaths and remind yourself that you can drive. The skills that you need will be the same. You’ve got this.