student saving money

Are you a Student Driver? Here’s some tips…

A student life is never cheap. Tuition fees, accommodation costs and living expenses all quickly add up to eye-watering amounts. The last thing you want to add to your budget is car insurance. However, when you have invested time and money into learning to drive, it would be a shame to miss out on the freedom of driving your car. After all, as a student, a car gives you greater convenience, practicality and more opportunities for your adventures during your student days.

To help you save as much money as possible as a student, MyFirstUK offers specialist car insurance for students. We search for the best deals to save you money but also save you time too.

Why Do I Need Student Car Insurance?

If you have a car and use it, then your vehicle needs to be insured. Even if you leave your car at home when you go to college or university, your vehicle will still require insurance or, if it is not in use, it will need a Statutory Off Road Notice (SORN). It is important that you always have insurance or a SORN in place so that you can comply with the Continuous Insurance Enforcement legislation. Failure to do so is an offence and may lead to a fine.

student

Save Money With Car Insurance For Students

Many students fall into the 17 – 25-year-old age category which is typically considered as high-risk by insurers which often means expensive insurance premiums. Added to the higher risk for accidents and insurance claims due to lack of driving experience is the added concern that students and their universities tend to be located in cities, which can also increase car insurance premiums.

Furthermore, students will often live in areas with higher crime rates. As well as this, there are usually fewer options for safe places to park the car, all of which work against students to increase their premiums. However, for many students, a car is crucial and a fantastic opportunity to explore the area with friends and fellow students. MyFirstUK wants to make it as easy as possible for students to enjoy their car at university by finding the best deals and the cheapest student driver insurance.

How Do I Get The Best Student Driver Insurance?

Tailored Cover – Get the right policy for your needs to save you money, whether you take your car to university or leave it at home.

Reduce Your Mileage – It may help to reduce your premiums if you lower your annual mileage if you can reduce the amount of driving you need to do.

Check For Offers – Student discount can apply to car insurance too. Don’t forget to ask for any ongoing student offers.

No Claims Bonus – Keep building your no claims history through university to lower your premiums in the future.

Value For Money – MyFirstUK will compare the market for you and look for the best value deals to suit your needs.

Pay Upfront – Paying upfront for a full year is often cheaper than instalments. However, we offer flexible payment option with low deposits too.

Type Of Car – The type of car you choose will dictate the cost of premiums, small and practical will be cheaper than sporty and powerful.

Add Named Drivers – Adding other drivers, with plenty of driving experience, which use your car can lower your premiums.

Black Box Insurance – Pay a premium based on your own driving style and habits rather than that of your peers.

Consider Parking Places – Parking your car in a safe place such as a well-lit neighbourhood, or a driveway can save you money.

No Modifications – Pimping your car can add to the premiums, avoiding modifications can help to keep costs low.

Increase The Excess – If you can afford to pay more in the event of a claim, then it may reduce your overall premiums.

Check Your Cover Options – Third-party insurance is not necessarily the cheapest, check quotes against fully comprehensive options too.

Add Security Measures – Anti-theft devices can all help to keep your car safe from thieves and lower your insurance premiums.

You can search for a quote online or chat with our helpful advisors via web chat or on the phone.

car keys in hand

Best way for a young driver to buy a new car?

As a young driver buying a car, trying to balance cost, comfort, aesthetics and practically factors can be an almost impossible task.

Purchasing a vehicle is becoming ever more difficult for young drivers to afford. Do you take out a lease deal? Is buying outright from a dealer the way to go? We have summed up some pro’s and con’s for all the popular buying avenues to help you young drivers make the right choice.

leasing a car

Leasing a vehicle.

Taking out a ‘lease’ on a vehicle is usually a fixed short term agreement  (2 – 5 years) which incurs monthly payments.

The Positives:

  • A lease enables you to pay for your car on a fixed monthly basis, without having to purchase a vehicle outright.
  • You will be able to drive in a higher priced, better specification car than you could afford buying outright.
  • Most leases are for new or late model vehicles that are covered by manufacturers warranty.
  • It is very often as simple as handing back over the keys when your lease term is complete, without the worry or hassle of selling your vehicle.

The Negatives:

  • Monthly payments although somewhat ‘easier’ can build up over time making it very difficult to save your cash for other life events.
  • Nearly every lease agreement will limit you to the amount of miles you can drive per year, or as a whole. The more miles you need, the higher the monthly payments. Not only that, but if you exceed your agreed mileage agreement, you will have to pay an excess penalty, which can be anywhere from 5p to 30p per mile.
  • You must return your vehicle in excellent condition, or risk paying large amounts of ‘wear-and-tear’ charges. Some agreements will even state that any damages must be fixed by an approved garage or by the manufacturer themselves, which can be very expensive compared to local garage prices.

Verdict on leasing a vehicle:  

Mid 2018 statistics saw that over 1.6 million people in the UK lease a vehicle. But is the right choice for young drivers? If you are in a position where you don’t have a lot of savings to put towards buying a car, then it does seem like a sensible choice. However, consider buying a very economical vehicle with low monthly repayments, and also think hard about your mileage requirements in relation to your education or employment. For example, if you are a post-graduate with uncertainties about employment, is it wise to take out a lease that will restrict your daily commute?

Buying a vehicle outright from a dealer:

Are you in a position where you could buy a vehicle in one full payment from a dealer?

The Positives:

  • Perhaps the biggest positive is that the car is YOURS. You own the vehicle entirely.
  • You are not restricted to any miles.
  • There are no monthly payments to pay on the purchase of the vehicle itself, allowing you to begin saving again.
  • You are free to modify the vehicle to your pleasing, which lease agreements often restrict. However, please note this may increase your insurance premium.
  • You are free to sell the vehicle at any time that might reflect a change in your personal circumstances. This can also include part exchanging your vehicle for a better one at a reduced price.

The Negatives:

  • Cars by nature are one of the most rapidly depreciating assets you can own. Unless you are buying a classic vehicle or a car with an appealing custom specification, you will only be able to re-sell your vehicle years later at a fraction of the cost you bought it for.
  • Depending on your budget, most young drivers will only be able to afford a second hand vehicle that has some significant miles on the clock. The older the vehicle is and the more miles it has done, the more likely you will run into problems with maintenance and repairs down the line.
  • Buying a second hand vehicle will more than likely have no manufacturers warranty due to it’s age.

Verdict on buying outright from a dealer:

This all depends on the amount of money you have and are willing to spend on a vehicle. Always remember that most vehicles depreciate in value and you should never ‘impulse buy’ something like a car.

 

PCP (Personal Contract Purchase):

Think of this like a personal loan to help pay for the vehicle, but not at it’s full price. Essentially, you put down a deposit payment and ‘borrow’ an amount of money that reflects how much the vehicle will decrease in value over the period of the deal (usually 2 – 4 years). The amount left over is what the lender believes the car will be worth at the end of your agreement term, and also what you will have to pay IF you want to own the vehicle outright. If you don’t, you can simply hand the car back over.

The Positives:

  • A PCP is often a lower monthly payment plan than a standard lease or hire purchase.
  • You might not be able to get a brand new car, but it will certainly be a late-model with decent mileage that you would not usually be able to afford outright.
  • The end of the agreement is flexible. You can give the car back, buy it or even part exchange any equity for a new PCP deal.
  • Some PCP deals include maintenance packages that are very worth while, and can save huge amounts on future repairs, especially if your agreement in quite long (4 years+).
  • The lender will ‘guarantee’ your vehicle to be worth a certain amount at the end of the deal, giving you peace of mind about any re-sale problems. Also, it many cases most PCP vehicles are worth slightly more than this value allowing a little equity to go into another deal.

The Negatives:

  • During the contract period, you do not own the vehicle.
  • Similar to a standard lease, Mileage limitations do apply and costs will incur if you go over them.
  • Although standard wear and tear is considered, again you will be required to fork out for any damages to the vehicle at the end of your agreement if you wish to return the car back to the lender and walk away.

Verdict on PCP:

If monthly payments are tight, but you really need a reliable, decent vehicle, PCP could be a great option for you. The flexibility at the end of the deal gives you options if you’re uncertain about your financial situation at the time. However, if you see yourself having the same vehicle for many years to come, it may be best to consider getting a personal loan or hire purchase for the full value of the vehicle.

Buying privately:

You’ve probably scanned a website such at Auto Trader and seen a pretty good deal on a private sale. But is it worth jumping at?

The Positives:

  • Buying privately can save you money off the bat. You can snap a great deal from a seller looking to make a quick sale and even use your negotiating skills to get the price even lower.
  • Buying privately can also save you a huge amount of time.
  • An honest seller can give you very detailed information about the car, which a dealer with hundreds of cars will not.

The Negatives:

  • Unless a legal agreement is drawn up, you loose most warranty clauses or ‘money back’ privileges a dealer will give you, especially if you pay cash.
  • Unless you ‘know your stuff’ about cars, you can often blindly buy a vehicle without knowing any major problems it might have.
  • Most other purchasing avenues such as leases throw in maintenance packages which can save you a lot of money in the long run. If you buy privately, any problems (large or small) are now solely your problems.

Buying privately verdict:

If you get the right deal, at the right time, from the right vendor… you can definitely save a huge amount of money buying privately. But that’s just it, getting that perfect deal is very hard to come by which makes buying privately a risky avenue. Our advice would be to take a family member or friend with you who knows about vehicles that can help you make the right decision. Always test drive the vehicle first, and get a professional opinion where possible.

Looking for the best deal on your car insurance? Get a quote from MyFirstUK today! We specialise in getting the best deals for young drivers.

Lamborghini Learner

Learning to drive in a Lamborghini!

When learning to drive, you are more than likely to get behind the wheel of a pretty economical, safe and secure vehicle. But wouldn’t it be cool to learn to drive in a Super Car? Well That’s exactly what we helped make happen!

MyfirstUK teamed up with Tom Exton, founder of LDN Muscle and TGE TV to see what it’s really like to put a driving student behind the wheel of a Super Car.

Tom met Katie, who was currently learning to drive and offered to give her a driving lesson of a lifetime by putting her behind the wheel of his Custom Lamborghini Aventadaor SV. Katie has only ever driven in 1 other vehicle before, a Toyota Yaris…bit of a difference Katie!

A nervous Tom takes Katie for a warm up lap explaining the basics of the Lambo, stressing that it doesn’t have any duel controls a learner might expect their instructor to have!

So what happened? Check out the full video below:

Are you looking for Learner or Young Driver car insurance? Get a quote from us today!

MyFirstUK is excited to offer a new hybrid policy that can cover you while you are learning and when you pass your test. Many young drivers struggle with the expense of paying for learner driver insurance and then paying again for newly-passed cover. Our hybrid policy means that you don’t have to pay a penny more when you pass your test. This money-saving solution means you can put your hard-earned cash to better use.

Our hybrid annual policy gives you to the coverage you need, without paying twice. What’s more, with the hybrid policy, you can start to build up your no claims so that you can reach your no claims discount as quickly as possible!

Call us today on 0333 305 5116 for the very best deal on your car insurance!

young driver insurance

Young Driver Insurance – Everything you need to know

For many young drivers, enjoying the freedom of the open road and the liberating feeling after passing your test is cut short when you discover how expensive young driver insurance can be. For those who have just passed their driving test and those under 25-years-old, car insurance premiums are high.

As car insurance is a legal requirement, young drivers need to do all they can to reduce their premiums. Aspects such as choosing a sensible, low insurance group car, installing a black box to monitor driving habits and taking further driving courses can all help to reduce premiums for cheap insurance for young drivers.

On average, young drivers will have to spend over £1,000 on car insurance. This is because young drivers are considered to have less experience and those between 18 and 24 years old are considered riskier on the roads. This is further evidenced as around 19% of young people have claimed on their insurance within the first couple of years of driving.

At MyFirstUK, we want you to be able to enjoy all the benefits that driving can bring. This is why our team of experienced insurance advisors will scour the market to bring you the best deals. We only work with insurers who are pre-approved for their young driver insurance benefits. With our expertise and our trusted insurance providers, we can find the cheapest deals with the best coverage so that owning a car is much more affordable and enjoyable.

young driver

When choosing car insurance for young drivers, there are three main options to consider;

Third Party – This is the minimum level of cover you can need by law. This coverage will only pay out if you cause damage to other people’s property or need to pay compensation or injury-related costs to other people. Third party insurance does not cover you as the driver; it also won’t cover repairs or replacement of your vehicle.

Despite having the lowest coverage, third-party insurance is typically the most expensive as the drivers that usually choose this policy are 18% more likely to crash.

Third Party Fire And Theft – As well as the coverage you receive with third party insurance, this type of policy will also cover you if your car is stolen or damaged by fire. This type of insurance can be ideal for those with a cheaper vehicle. However, similar to third party insurance, it is often not the most competitive policy available.

Fully Comprehensive – This type of insurance has the highest level of cover. It will cover damage to third party vehicles as well as damage to your own vehicle. It will also cover a high range of causes of damage such as accidents as well as fire and theft.

Fully comprehensive insurance used to be the most expensive. However, younger drivers then started to opt for third party and third party fire and theft insurance to get a cheaper deal. As the risk in these categories increased, so did the premiums. Now, fully comprehensive is often the cheapest insurance option available.

checklist

How Can I Find Cheap Young Driver Insurance?

Choose the right car

It is worth checking the insurance rating for different vehicles before you buy. Choosing a car in the lowest insurance band could save you a significant sum on your premiums and work out as a better deal in the long run.

Add an experienced driver

If you are the main driver, you need to state this on your insurance, but adding an older and experienced named driver to your policy can lower your premiums. Don’t use the driver to ‘front’ your policy; it could invalidate your insurance.

Improve security

Insurers may lower your premiums if you improve security for your car such as parking in a safe place, in a good area or location and implementing a high spec alarm to ward off thieves. Using car safety devices can also help too.

Choose the right cover

You may find policy prices surprise you, choosing insurance with the most cover such as fully comprehensive, may well be the cheapest on the market. Ask MyFirstUK to compare different cover options to find you the best deal.

Avoid car modifications

Making your car more luxurious and powerful may seem like a good idea, but these modifications are likely to hike up your premiums. For cheap insurance for young drivers, stick to production-only models.

Improve your driving

Obtaining extra driving skills and experience with advanced driver qualifications can lower your premiums as insurers will see that you are a lesser risk. Taking time and tests to prove your safe driving skills will help you feel more confident on the road and may lower your premiums too.

Consider night curfews

Some insurers will make their policies cheaper by imposing night curfews. For example, some insurers may ask that you do not drive between 11 pm and 6 am as this is the time when the most serious accidents occur. Check your policy carefully to see if you have a curfew as driving during curfew could invalidate your insurance.

Increase your excess

If you have some cash saved up, it may be worthwhile increasing your voluntary excess on your insurance. This means that you will have to pay for repairs and replacements up to a certain amount. By increasing your excess, it can lower your overall premiums.

Black box insurance

Many insurers now offer black box insurance to young drivers. This is considered a much fairer way to determine premium costs and could save you a lot of money. Ask MyFirstUK about the best black box insurance policies that analyse your driving style rather than your demographic.

 

What can MyFirstUK do for you as a Young Driver?

At MyFirstUK, we will search high and low to bring you the best deals and offer all the help we can to help reduce your premiums and make enjoying the freedom of the open road much more affordable. We can check through all of the insurance options to find the cheapest insurance for young drivers. As each insurer is different, we will review the terms carefully to ensure you are making the right choice for you and your vehicle.

driving in flip flops

6 Mistakes Every Driver Makes

None of us are ‘perfect drivers’, we all make mistakes on the road! In fact, half of what we learn on our driving lessons as young drivers are quickly forgotten, and therefore little habits form as we get older in life. We’re only human after all!

We’ve compiled a list of 6 popular driving habits and mistakes almost every driver will make. As a young driver, you can slowly start to think more about these and maybe save yourself a fine or even an accident on the road!

Text Driving

Distractions

It has to be the first. Mobile phones, and any form of in-car commination and even entertainment can be a huge distraction whilst driving. Check out our previous article here which will make you think twice about text-driving!

Our tip: Use the ‘Do Not Disturb’ feature on your smartphone!

 

driving in flip flops

Incorrect Footwear

Especially with the recent heatwave, it’s easy to climb into your vehicle with sandals or flip flops and hit the road. It can however be extremely dangerous to not have full control over your breaking if your footwear was to slip off whilst driving. There are no specific laws preventing you from driving in Flip Flops, however if you are caught driving dangerously whilst wearing them, you could be fined up to £5000. Not worth it!

Our tip: Leave a pair of spare trainers or comfortable full footwear in your car at all times!

 

amber traffic light

Speeding through Amber Lights

We’ve all been there. You’re approaching the traffic lights and the thought of waiting just doesn’t sit well with you, so you speed through an Amber light. Whilst it may not seem that dangerous doing this, it can often be misjudged of how large the junction is you’re approaching. Many multi-light junctions require a significant distance of travel to turn onto the opposite carriageway. Even if you make the lights, you could cause a serious accident by another motorist setting off on another part of the junction.

Our tip: You aren’t saving a lot of time! Be patient and wait it out. Approach Traffic Lights whilst being prepared to slow down immediately.

 

car indicator

Not using your indicators

Sometimes even the slightest of arm lifting is enough to put a driver off using their indicators. There are a huge amount of accidents in the UK caused from drivers breaking suddenly to make a sharp turn without signalling to the vehicle behind them. Not only that, many drivers to not fully ‘press down’ their indicators which can sometimes result in them not being visible long enough to other drivers.

Our tip: Use your indicators properly by pressing them fully down. Also, consider installing a Dash Cam which can help your insurance claim if caught in an accident where another driver is at fault.

Slow traffic

Driving too slowly

To many drivers, being penalised for driving slowly is difficult to understand. Surely you’re safer driving slower? This is a common misconception especially on fast carriageways and motorways. With large volumes of vehicles driving mostly at the speed limit and constantly switching lanes, you could be disrupting the flow of traffic movement. Not only that, but slow drivers only angers other drivers, and angry drivers are a perfect recipe for disaster!

Our tip: Where possible, drive as closely to the speed limit as possible. If you don’t feel comfortable, slowly increase your speed every time you go out, or even consider driving at less busy periods of the day.

 

clutch riding

Riding the clutch

Learner drivers are most guilty of this, however your instructor will most likely snap you out of the habit quite quickly. When approaching a junction or roundabout, it is common for drivers to needlessly keep their foot fully or partially on the clutch for a long distance. This results in the clutch being unable to fully engage with the flywheel and therefore causes wear and damage on the disc. Often drivers are completely unaware they’re doing this, and the problem can be solely down to your driving posture and seat position. Clutch riding and coasting can cause serious damage to your vehicle, and there’s nothing worse than spending money on car repairs!

Our tip: Take some time to re-adjust your seat to something that is both comfortable, and allows you to initiate the clutch without putting too much pressure on it.

car insurance for students

Preparing your Student Car Insurance for University

Last week, just under 1 million students in the UK picked up their all important A-Level results. Deciding on which University to go to can be life changing, whether you intend to live away from home, or commit to a daily commute to your university or college of choice.

a level results

One thing that can often slip the minds of students is their car situation, and more importantly, their car insurance. University is a huge financial commitment, and the last thing you need is your insurance eating into your much needed allowance.

Here are some tips from MyFirstUK on how to prepare and plan your vehicle circumstances whilst organising your university life:

Tailor your cover:
How often you use your car can have huge implications on the cost of your insurance premium. For example, let’s say you are intending to live at University, but still wish to have your car insurance running for monthly trips back home. The significant decrease in miles you are travelling per year will impact your insurance, and you could be saving a huge amount of money.

Consider your mileage:
Like many students, if you are heading to a big city for university, there are an enormous amount of public transport options that are extremely cost effective and will save those miles on your car. Not only that, but big cities are often looked at negatively by insurance providers, as your risk of an accident or bump increases significantly.

No claims bonus:
You may be thinking “Why do I need insurance whilst I’m living away at uni?”. Whilst this is understandable, you could in fact be building up your ‘No Claims Bonus’ which can have hugely positive financial benefits when you come to renew your policy. What better time to build that up when your vehicle isn’t being used that much?

Payment options:
Going to Uni is expensive, and we understand that more than anyone. A flexible payment plan could be just what you need to ensure your finances are kept under control. We offer some of the lowest deposit payments than any other insurance provider, and can tailor a payment plan that best suits your needs.

Shop around:
Like anything, you need options and quotes. MyFirstUK specialise in analysing the insurance market on your behalf, and collect data and quotes to give you a balanced, and informed decision. Why not call us today on 0333 305 5116 to discuss your student living circumstances, and one of our specialists will be on hand to give you the best car insurance advice.

learning to drive

Learner Driver Insurance that doesn’t go up when you pass

Whether you’re lucky enough to have your own car whilst learning to drive, or you’re practicing in a parents car, Learner Driver insurance can be a tedious and time consuming task.

What is Learner Driver Insurance?

Learner driver insurances is an insurance product that is specifically designed to suit the requirements of young and learner drivers. In most cases, learner driver insurance will only cover you when you have a provisional driving licence. When you pass your test, then you will need to change insurance option, unless you opt for our new hybrid insurance option.

Why do you need Learner Driver Insurance?

With so many risks associated with learning to drive, it is no surprise that insurers place a premium on learner driver insurance. However, not every learner will need learner driver insurance. If you are learning only with a professional driving school or instructor, then you are likely to be covered by their insurance. It’s important to check your coverage on their insurance before you drive.

However, lessons can be very expensive and practice with friends and family in between lessons can help to speed up the process of learning to drive so you can pass your test faster. If you do choose to practice with friends and family alongside professional lessons, then you will need learner driver insurance.

Currently, the DVSA recommends that most learners will need 45 hours of professional driving tuition alongside 22 hours of private practice to be able to pass their test. However, every learner is different. The more training you have, outside of lessons, the more experience you will gain which may help you to pass your test faster. This could save you a lot of money in driving lessons.

Insurance is a legal requirement, and if you learn with family and friends, then you’ll need to make sure you have appropriate insurance in place.  If you drive without insurance, then you could face a fine. Furthermore, you could also receive penalty points on your licence before you even have it. Fortunately, there are lots of options available for learners and young drivers.

At My FirstUK, we offer a range of options including short-term, annual, parents’ car insurance as well as our exciting hybrid option. Our hybrid option is a new innovative insurance option that covers you while you are learning and when you pass your test, so you don’t have to pay twice for insurance.

passing driving test

What is a ‘Hybrid Policy’?

MyFirstUK is excited to offer a new hybrid policy that can cover you while you are learning and when you pass your test. Many young drivers struggle with the expense of paying for learner driver insurance and then paying again for newly-passed cover. Our hybrid policy means that you don’t have to pay a penny more when you pass your test. This money-saving solution means you can put your hard-earned cash to better use

Our hybrid annual policy gives you to the coverage you need, without paying twice. What’s more, with the hybrid policy, you can start to build up your no claims so that you can reach your no claims discount as quickly as possible.

How does a Hybrid Policy work?

Our policy can be summed up in 3 very simple steps:

  1. Receive a quote on your provisional licence

Call for a quote for learner driver insurance, and we’ll find the best policy or your needs.

  1. Learn and pass

Learn to drive with the peace of mind of insurance and work towards passing your test.

  1. Keep the same policy

Once you pass, the hybrid policy will cover you as a newly passed driver, without paying any extra and start building your no claims.

Not bad ay? You can find out more on our Hybrid Policy here or one of our learner driver insurance specialists will be happy to assist you by calling us on 0333 305 5116

road respect campaign

This will make you think twice about text-driving

Driving and using your phone is a growing problem amongst drivers in the UK, especially young drivers. Often, force of habit and our constant thirst not to be miss a second of the digital social world can be fatal.

Although there are now much stronger and stricter laws in place for people caught using their phones, there are still alarming numbers of incidents reported every year. At the moment, if you are caught, you will land an immediate £200 fine with 6 points on your license. Not only that, but if you have recently passed in the last 2 years prior to being caught, you could loose your license altogether.

You might think that would be enough. However, Northumbria Safer Roads Initiative “Road Respect” have released an eye-opening campaign called ‘The Last Text Tour’. Making it’s way around the country, the campaign uses giant mobile devices displaying the last text messages drivers have sent to a friend or loved one before being killed in a road incident.

road respect campaign

(Image Road Respect via Twitter)

“Don’t worry Mum, goodnight” and “thanks mate, I owe you a drink or two” are just some of the messages displayed that make a very tough read indeed.

 

A spokesman for Road Respect said: “The visual nature of the texts aims to draw people’s attention in, with the sobering message behind the phones really resonating with drivers and passengers alike, with the outcome being the encouraging of behavioural change behind the wheel.

“This is in the hope that drivers will see and recognise the risks associated with driving and using a mobile phone, before it’s too late.”

Statistically you are 9 times more likely to have an accident on the road whilst using your mobile.

do not disturb iphone

So how can you prevent being distracted by your phone?

  1. If you are an IPhone user, there is a handy setting called ‘Do Not Disturb” – this will ensure all texts and calls whilst your phone is locked are silenced. You find this in your settings menu with a small blue ‘moon’ icon.
  2. If you are in any mid conversations on text or social media, simply inform the other party that you are about to get in your vehicle. This will help aid them sending any distracting messages or calls.
  3. If a call is an emergency, ensure you are using your hands free technology inside your vehicle, and that you don’t manually pick up your phone to accept the call.
anxiety

How to Stay Calm on Your Driving Test Day

The big day is arriving and you are about to put all those hours of driving practice to work as you prepare for your driving test.

Many people about to take their driving test feel nervous, and a certain amount of anxiety can actually help prepare your body to perform at its best. However, if you are regularly feeling anxious and find it hard to think about anything else, there are ways you can learn to manage your anxiety.

Spotting the signs of anxiety  

Much like performing on stage or giving a presentation in college or work, the type of anxiety that your feel before taking your driving test is known as performance anxiety.

This happens when your thoughts about being watched and evaluated during the test become irrational or harmful, and you may be thinking something along the lines of “I don’t think I’m good enough to pass”, or “What if my instructor is really strict?” which only serve to increase your levels of anxiousness.

While it can be hard to stop yourself from worrying about what may happen on the test, such thoughts can make it difficult for you to focus on the task at hand, and can stop you from being calm and composed during your test.

Some of the signs that pre-test anxiety has become a problem include:

Negative thoughts when anxious

  • Become forgetful
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Racing thoughts
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Worry about your performance

Physical symptoms of anxiety

  • Dry throat
  • Muscle tension
  • Muscle shaking or tremors
  • Fast breathing
  • Headaches
  • Stomach upset

If you think you have a few of the above symptoms, try not to worry, as there are range of stress-busting techniques which can reduce the effects anxiety has you and can make a big difference to your performance during your driving test.

driving test

Techniques to reduce driving test anxiety

It may seem that external factors influence your anxiety, but in reality your levels of anxiousness are affected by you and what you think you can or can’t do.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)

While it is perfectly normal to worry about what may or may not happen on your driving test, you can change how you respond to these thoughts. CBT helps you to challenge any negative thoughts you may have that lead to excessive anxiety, and help you to reflect on whether your beliefs about a situation are helpful or not.

For example, if you assume that you are going to fail your test, remember that this is only an assumption and not a fact. During your lessons and mock tests, it can help to write down and reflect on how you thought, felt and behaved in the below order:

  • Remember what made you feel particularly anxious
  • Think about what you thought at this time
  • How did these thoughts affect your driving performance?
  • Challenge the initial thoughts you had – such as “I’ve had plenty of praise from my driving instructor”
  • Consider more positive ways you could think about the situation next time – such as “I’m going to do the best I can”
  • Jot down a positive affirmation such as “I’m good at driving”
  • Make an action plan – what are you going to think and do next time you feel anxious

positive driving

Positive self-talk 

Anxiety can occur and worsen as a result of negative self-talk, where you essentially make yourself believe the worst possible outcome, such as failing your test.

Trading these beliefs for positive self-talk can help you to manage your anxiety better on the day:

Prepare – as you are entering the situation, prepare with positive statements like “It’s going to be difficult but I’ll feel great afterwards when I pass”.

Cope – If you feel a wave of anxiety coming on during your test, such as when you approach an aspect of driving you find particularly difficult, reassure yourself with thoughts such as “concentrate on the task and not on how I feel”, or “these feelings will pass and I’ll be fine”.

Review – whether you get the result you want or not, it can help to focus on the positive aspects of the test and acknowledge the areas you need to work on to improve.

If you are struggling with symptoms of anxiety surrounding your driving test or in any other aspect of your life, Priory’s specialist team of consultants and therapists can help reduce the impact it has on your life.

Pothole in uk

UK Potholes – Can you claim back on vehicle damage?

If you haven’t drove over a Pothole, are you even British!? Our country is swarming with them, and although local councils in the UK are attempting to pump more money into the fixing them, it seems as though they’re fighting a losing battle!

We’ve all been there. You’re driving along the road and all of sudden a huge bang comes from your wheels that sounds really…really expensive. If you have a car with alloys, your damage could go as far as bodywork dents and brand new wheels entirely, which can set drivers back anywhere up to and over £1,000 to fix.

Pothole meme

So what can and should you actually do when a Pothole damages your vehicle? Can you claim the damage repairs back?


What causes Potholes?

The simple answer is ground water expanding and contracting when we have significant weather conditions. During winter, when water finds its way into or under our roads, it can freeze very quickly which in turn forces the ground to expand and eventually crack. In comes a huge lorry which breaks the ground up even further, and out pops these wonderfully annoying Potholes.

what causes potholes

Can I claim back on damages to my vehicle?

Yes and no. In fact, the rules around Pothole claims are just as annoying at the Holes themselves, and every local authority can look at it differently. Most local authorities class a Pothole as anything at a 40mm depth or above. If you do hit one, don’t be tempted to get out and measure it! Anything below 40mm is very unlikely to cause your vehicle significant problems.

Legally, highway authorities have an obligation to keep our roads safe, and therefore if you can prove they have failed to fulfil this obligation, you can certainly claim on your damages in part, if not in full.

Proving it was the Pothole that caused the damage

Clearly this isn’t easy. The sooner you can get your car to a garage, the better. A mechanic can help your case and many provide reports that deem a Pothole was most likely the cause. Another helpful tool was be a Dash Cam – which can often provide visual proof of when and where the Pothole was hit.


Report it ASAP.


A simple call to your local council will be able to tell you who is responsible for the road or area where the incident occurred. The Pothole should then be reported to the correct authority as soon as possible to help other road users avoid it, and to prompt a quick fix.


When would I not be able to claim?

Again, different rules for different local authorities! However, there are obvious occasions when compensation wouldn’t be handed out, or at least not in full. For example, if your vehicle already had significant damage to a wheel, suspension or bodywork, and the Pothole somewhat ‘made it worse’ – you would unlikely be able to claim the full costs back.

Timing is also a huge factor. For example, if an extremely heavy object fell off a heavy transport vehicle and damaged the road (causing the Pothole) and then you drove over it moments later; the authorities would not offer compensation as the cause was entirely out of their control.

You have to hand it to the meme’s though…there are some cracking ones out there!

pothole meme