Car Hire Keys

5 tips on driving abroad for the first time

Whether you’re planning a road trip abroad this year, or have a break where a car hire is required, driving abroad for the first time can be daunting for a young driver. Driving parameters can differ from country to country, however we’ve compiled 5 top tips which should help all new drivers heading abroad.

Plan your car insurance & hiring options in advance!

If you’re planning on driving your own vehicle abroad, you should let your car insurance provider know so they can extend your policy to cover you. Whether this is 3rd party or fully comprehensive will depend on your specific policy, so call your provider to discuss your options.

If you’re hiring a vehicle abroad, there’s lots of ways to avoid being over charged:

Local hire: It’s seems convenient to hire straight from the airport you land at, however often these prices are higher. Consider hiring from the town or local area you’re staying at to get a better deal.
Hidden costs: Carefully read the small print on any car hire. Hidden costs could include anything from mileage limits to VAT.
Check damage: Before driving away in your hire car, document any significant damage to avoid being charged when you return it.

Understand local driving laws

Often it isn’t just knowing which side of the road to drive on. Every country has different driving laws, and some are a lot stricter than others. You should take time to research speed limits and compulsory practices. An extremely useful summary of popular driving destination laws can be found here.

Sat Nav Car

Get a GPS app!

Buying or hiring a Sat Nav abroad can be expensive, and using your mobile data for Google Maps can run up an even higher bill. There are multiple apps available for download that can provide a free to use service to navigate you abroad. Apps such as Navmii allows drivers to download full local maps onto their device to navigate without the use of mobile data.

Automatic Car


Consider hiring an automatic

Driving on the opposite side of the road can be difficult enough for young and new drivers, however driving on the left side of a manual car can be even more. If you find yourself worry about left side driving, consider hiring an automatic to allow you to focus on the road as much as possible. If you’ve never driven an automatic before, try to take a ‘test drive’ before heading abroad so you’re prepared when you get behind the wheel.

Choose the right car!

If you’re planning a trip to somewhere such as the united states, it often tempting to hire a larger or faster car for the extra experience (when in Rome!). However stepping into a completely new style or size of vehicle can present more issues during your trip. This can be anything from additional fuel costs to parking in tight spaces. Consider a smaller, economical vehicle or at least something a similar size and engine to what you’re used to driving in the UK.

Looking to save money on your young driver insurance or new driver insurance? Call our specialists today on 0333 305 5116.

Best apps for drivers and learners

Who doesn’t love a good app!?

Anything to make the day-to-day more easy or more fun, we’re all usually ‘on it!’ But what are the best apps out there especially for drivers?

From navigation to entertainment, here’s some of the most popular apps for young drivers and learner drivers:

Waze App

Waze – FREE

The big rival to google maps! Waze is becoming increasingly more popular lately with it’s accurate and extremely helpful real-time traffic tracking that can help drivers avoid those stand still situations. But it doesn’t stop there. Waze is primarily community based, and uses the live data of millions of drivers to offer insights into everything from speed cameras to road works, even where to get the cheapest fuel from! It’s one of those apps you just need to download and watch it work wonders for you!

Theory test app

Driving Theory Test 2018 Kit – £4.99

Online software has always been the new way for learner drivers to practice and revise for their theory test. There are dozens of apps nowadays to help drivers prepare, however the official DVSA revision content app is a no-brainer. Although the app comes at a price of £4.99, the reviews speak for themselves, with thousands of drivers recommending as a key tool for Theory practice and preparation. A very simple and easy to navigate interface helps learners of all ages get to grips with up to date questions for this years test. Download it and get your revision cap on!

parking app

Your Parking Space – FREE

Another increasingly popular app is ‘Your Parking Space’. This handy technology works with your journey plans to locate the best parking spaces for you. The app ranks these spaces of course via price, but also considers and displays other information such as security and local amenities. Ideal for longer trips to places or cities unknown where we can all agree parking hassle is something none of us need!

auto trader app

Auto Trader – FREE

One of the most popular vehicle marketplaces on the web in the UK also has a very easy to use app! Auto Trader makes their already easy to use search filters even more streamlined and simple on the mobile app. The best features come in the form of saved searches and comparisons, giving drivers the ability to have live notifications of similar or saved vehicles, and compare their features to other possible purchases.

spotify app

Spotify – FREE / PREMIUM

Another no-brainer for anyone who loves in-car entertainment. Spotify are the world leaders in music streaming, and their constantly improving app makes listening to music on the move a breeze. A quick search of an artist or song will bring up endless listening options and build a daily playlist based on similar artists and music tastes. Sportify also offers a free version of their service (with adverts) but at only £9.99 per month, you would not regret taking out a premium subscription with unlimited, hassle free music streaming.

Spotify also has a direct link with Waze, which helps drivers to not get distracted using their mobiles whilst driving!

Learner drivers now on motorways after long awaited law change

It was announced in mid-2017 that Learner Drivers in England, Wales and Scotland would soon be able to hit the motorway on their driving lessons. Yesterday the law finally changed and learners will now be given the chance to take to our motorways under the supervision of an approved instructor. Learner Drivers in Northern Ireland however, you will have to wait until at least 2020 before being able to have Motorway lessons.

Richard Leonard (Head of Road User Safety for Highways England) said “There’s over 700,000 drivers pass their test each year. This is about giving those drivers invaluable practical experience when driving on our motorways, making them confident, safer customers on our roads”

Full video below: (Source: Highways England via YouTube)

Until now, the most experience a driver could have on a motorway was purely in a theoretical sense, and many new drivers are not afraid to say that they purposely avoid motorways when passing their test due to their inexperience. In fact, a poll from the AA suggests that approximately 8% of licence holders avoided motorways for at least six months after passing their test.

Will i be forced to go onto the Motorway as a Learner Driver? 

Absolutely not. Your approved driving instructor will speak to you first and make sure you’re comfortable with giving it a go. If you don’t feel confident, you can choose not to.

What are the benefits of learning on a motorway for me? 

We all will inevitably need to drive on a motorway at some point. Like anything, getting experience sooner rather than later is usually the best recipe for success and confidence. With an instructor, you have the opportunity to ask questions which you may not know driving by yourself after passing.

I’m an anxious and nervous driver, so what can i do to help this?

Staying calm is key. That’s easier said than done, however you shouldn’t over-think motorway situations and always remember you are in safe hands with your instructor. Get plenty of rest prior to your lessons and remember, it’s just like a dual-carriageway but just a little bit wider and faster!

Do your homework!

If you’re revising for your theory test, make additional notes on motorway driving so you can adopt these on your lessons. Motorway signs are a lot different to normal road signs, so every effort should be made to familiarise yourself with them prior to driving.

Looking for Learner Driver Insurance?

Let us get you a quote on our new Hybrid Policy that gives you a price on a provisional licence and then does not charge you a penny more when you pass your test! This is a really exciting new insurance policy that we are offering to Learner Drivers, and it’s one of the very few on the market. What often happens in young driver insurance is that you will have to pay separately for your learner insurance cover and then your newly passed cover. We don’t believe paying twice is fair, and so what we have developed is a solution that’s a real money saving alternative. Allowing you to simply group these two purchases together and get one annual policy! It also means you get your no claims discount quicker!

Learner Drivers

 

What’s the latest at MyFirstUK?

The month of May has seen some huge developments for MyFirstUK, and we’re incredibly excited about what’s to come for the remainder of 2018. Here’s just a round-up of some of our latest service additions, collaborations and money saving tips:

 

MyVan Insurance:

In collaboration with Nextbase Dash Cams and Halfords, we are making huge steps to really change the commercial vehicle insurance sector.  By taking out a MyVan policy, you are able to save up to a whopping 25% on your Van Insurance by having a Dash Cam installed in your Vehicle. We know how important it is for Van drivers to protect themselves – a Van can be your main tool of the trade. Making sure you have the right Van insurance to get you up and running as quickly as possible can help to minimise any potential loss of earnings.

We have implemented a quick and easy online quote form that will give you a quote on your van insurance within minutes. Being one of Money.co.uk’s top 10 Van Insurance providers, we guarantee you’ll make a saving! Get a quote now here.

 

Emoji Fresh Collaboration

We have the pleasure of partnering up with Emoji Fresh, the coolest and best Car Air Fresheners on the market. We don’t know anyone who wouldn’t want one of these in their vehicles, so we were super excited to announce that we’ll be giving away an Air Freshener absolutely free with every young driver policy. Get a quote today or why not check out Emoji Fresh’s awesome product range here.

 

Super low deposits!

MyFirstUK are proud to offer some of the lowest insurance deposits in the UK. It’s no secret that paying monthly for your insurance does cost slightly more, but we’re dedicated to being flexible with young drivers who aren’t in a position to pay for their insurance in full up-front. A low deposit and a flexible finance scheme could go a long way in getting you on the road. Is this you? Call one of our specialists today for a quick and easy quote and we can discuss your financial situation whilst trying to get you the very best deal on your young driver insurance!

Fancy some extra cash in your back pocket?

Just a simple referral to one your mates will land you with £70.00 straight into your bank account! Not bad right!?

4 Common Driving Fears and How to Combat Them

For a lot of new drivers, passing your test is exciting but worrying at the same time. The fear of driving by yourself and facing situations not covered in your driving lessons can ruin your confidence. Here are 4 common driving fears and how to combat them:

 

Motorway Driving


Possibly the most popular fear among young and new drivers. The lack of motorway driving experience during driving lessons can force new drivers into a state of purposely ignoring these roads altogether when passing their test.

If this is you, consider taking an advanced driving course (which in turn may help reduce the cost of your insurance premium!). This will allow you to gather additional motorway experience and tips from your instructor. If you are still learning, ask your instructor about these advanced / post lessons before taking your test.

From the 4th of June 2018, learner drivers will be able to take motorway driving lessons with an approved instructor. Instructors will decide when a learner is competent enough to have a lesson on a motorway, and drivers will get a say too, in case they don’t feel confident enough at the time!

 

Overtaking Lorries / Trucks:


Whether you have a lack of motorway experience or encounter this situation on a dual carriageway, it can be daunting for a lot of new drivers needing to overtake a large vehicle or Lorry.

If you find yourself needing to overtake a large Lorry, make sure you do it with a level of haste (not exceeding your speed limit), and be patient if you don’t feel it is necessary.

Be careful when overtaking left-hand-drive (European) lorries on UK roads. They will have very limited visibility of you to their right hand side (fast lane). Their blind spot can be much larger so again, don’t hang around!

 

Driving at night


Driving in the dark can be difficult, especially if you have limited eye sight or again aren’t used to it after passing your test. One of the biggest tips is to ensure your car has clean windows to avoid glare and a build of condensation.

If you feel an area is too dark for your normal headlights, use your full beam with caution and don’t forget to turn them off straight away after!

If you do have any issues with your eyesight, have your eyes checked regularly.

 

Driving Anxiety (In General)


It is extremely common to have driving anxiety in general. It can triggered naturally for new drivers recently passing their test, or an accident may have bought the fear on.

Like any fear, facing it head on is the best way, and every effort should be made not to dismiss it altogether which will only intensify your anxiety. Slowly build up your confidence by asking a friend or relative to be a passenger for small trips (where possible) and slowly build up the length of your journey’s.

Positive affirmation is also essential to overcoming your fear. Tell yourself you will be safe and don’t feel like you need to rush to get to your destination!

5 Things Every Young or New Driver Should Know

As a young driver or new driver passing you’re test, the last thing you want to be concerned about is the maintenance of your car! However, ignoring some of the most common maintenance tasks altogether can result in you to be spending a lot of money on repairs down the line. If this is you, or you simply don’t understand or feel comfortable carrying them out, here’s some key things everyone should know and do:

checking oil levels

Check your oil!

We’ve all the heard the phrase ‘like a well oiled engine’ – and that’s exactly what you need to make sure your engine has! To check your oil:

  1. Make sure your vehicle is parked on the most flat service possible.
  2. Leave your engine to cool down (1-4 hours depending on the length of your last drive).
  3. Pull the ‘Dipstick’ out. (On most vehicles, this has a yellow top like the image shown above).
  4. Wipe the bottom clean and then re-insert the Dipstick all the way in.
  5. Pull back out, and check where the oil level is. If the oil is in between the 2 ‘markers’ you are fine. If it is very near or close to the bottom, you will need to top up your oil as soon as possible. Check your handbook if you are purchasing and topping up the oil yourself.

coolant tank location

(Image Via Halfords)

Keep your Coolant topped up.

On modern vehicles, you will be warned via a light on your Dashboard if your Coolant is low. If not, try and check this regularly once a month yourself:

  1. You must ensure your car has properly cooled down.
  2. Locate your coolant tank (this is usually a white or semi-transparent bottle).
  3. If the exterior of the tank is dirty, wipe clean and locate the markers ‘Low’ and ‘High’. Depending on where your coolant sits between these markers will define your need to top up.
  4. If you need to top up, again make sure your engine has completely cooled down, remove the cap with a rag, and top up between the lines.

washing your car

Clean your car!

This one may seem obvious, but not cleaning your car for several weeks can in fact have huge implications on paintwork and bodywork in general. Remove general road debris as soon as possible. This includes Tar, Bugs and Bird droppings which can somewhat ‘bind’ or erode your paintwork if left untreated for a long period of time.

Re-spraying your car is a lot more expensive than washing it, so don’t be shy!

tyre tread check

(Image Via RAC)

Check your Tyres.

This is crucial. Again, most modern cars will indicate low tyre pressure via a warning light, but if not you will need to do this manually via a pressure gauge or taking to a garage for inspection. Most petrol stations will be equipped with air pump facilities which are very easy to use!

Inspecting your Tyres manually should be a regular check. Low Tread (the baldness of your Tyre grip) can not only result in failing your MOT, but land you with a huge fine if pulled over by the police.

The most common practice for checking Tread depth is with a 20 pence coin. Insert the coin into the Tyre grooves, and if you can’t see the outer band / border of the coin, you are fine! If not (or if unsure) visit a garage for inspection.

Windscreen chip

Don’t ignore windscreen chips!

It is very common, especially when driving down the motorway to have your windscreen chipped. Car windscreens are very tough, however if you do get a chip, it should be repaired immediately. Ignoring your chip will only cause it to get worse, and the cost of a brand new windscreen will be far more than giving ‘Gavin from AutoGlass’ a call! It is a very quick and simple job for a car damage repair company!

Looking for the best deal on your Car or Van insurance?

Visit our website at www.myfirstuk.com for a fast, hassle-free quotation!

 

MOT Test Changes Coming 20th May 2018

This month, some significant changes will come into effect in regards to MOT testing. Whilst it may not be on your radar to worry about your MOT, these changes will affect most vehicle types, including motorcycles and commercial vans.

You can find more detailed information on gov.co.uk, however we’ve simplified these changes into a quick summary:

 

1. Defect Categories

 

Defects or issues with your vehicle will now be categorized as the following:

Dangerous (Fail) – A direct and immediate risk to road safety or has a serious impact on the environment.

What’s to do? – Do not drive the vehicle until it’s been repaired.

Major (Fail) – It may affect the vehicle’s safety, put other road users at risk or have an impact on the environment.

What to do? – Repair it immediately.

Minor (Pass) – No significant effect on the safety of the vehicle or impact on the environment.

What to do? – Repair as soon as possible.

2 x further categories of ‘Advisory’ and ‘Pass’ follow the above, in which case you will receive a pass and be asked to keep on eye on anything advised by your MOT tester.

 

2. New things included in the test

 

  • Checking if Tyres are clearly underinflated
  • Any contamination in Brake Fluid
  • Any Fluid leaks posing an environmental risk
  • Brake pad warning lights and if brake pads or discs are missing
  • Reversing lights on vehicles first used from 1 September 2009
  • Headlight washers on vehicles first used from 1 September 2009 (if they have them)
  • Daytime running lights on vehicles first used from 1 March 2018 (most of these vehicles will have their first MOT in 2021 when they’re 3 years old)

 

3. Strict rules for Diesel Car owners

Most Diesel cars are fitted with a DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter). This filter reduces the smoke and emissions from diesel engines. The new MOT test will check:

  • If any smoke is coming from your exhaust (Major Fail)
  • If the DPF has been tampered with in any way (Major Fail).

Unsure if your car is fitted with a DPF? Check your handbook.

 

4. A select number of vehicles over 40 years old will be exempt from MOT testing

 

Cars, Vans, Motorcycles and other light passenger vehicles won’t need to have an MOT if they are over 40 years old and have not been substantially changed or modified.

On the 20th of May 2018, vehicles won’t need an MOT from the 40th anniversary of when they were registered. Again, please refer to your handbook, paperwork or visit a vehicle history checking website for your registration date.

Remember! You can be fined up to £1000 for driving a vehicle without a valid MOT certificate. Check when you’re next MOT test is due to avoid fines!

Best cars for young drivers to insure

You may have heard the term ‘insurance group’ floating around when buying or thinking about buying a new or first vehicle as a young driver. These groups range from 1 (the lowest and cheapest to insure) to 50 (the highest and most expensive).  It is a common misconception that the ‘group’ a vehicle falls into is solely based on vehicle value. Whilst this is a key factor, the type and ‘risk’ of that vehicle is also heavily considered. For example a £25,000 sports car is likely to be much more of a ‘risk’ to an insurer, and therefore more expensive to insure than a £35,000 family SUV or ‘Estate’ car.

Whilst we would all love to have an Audi RS7 Sports Car (category 50 insurance group) here are just some of the best vehicles available on the market today that could help you young drivers save a huge amount on your car insurance:

Nissan Micra

 

The Nissan Micra is a very popular first vehicle for many young drivers. Boasting it’s compact design and extensive list of safety features, it falls into the cheapest and lowest possible insurance group (1E). If you are buying new, the Micra also offers lots of customizable features for an improved look!

 

Ford KA+

 

Slightly smaller than it’s popular Fiesta model, the KA+ offers immense value for money. The car comes with fantastic technology features and the 1.2 TiVCT 70 horsepower Studio version is in fact one of the cheapest cars on the market to insure today (Group 1E).

 

Vauxhall Corsa Hatchback

 

Moving up in insurance groups slightly (insurance group 2) is the Vauxhall Corsa. Since it’s introduction to the market, the Corsa models have been the most popular first time vehicles for drivers in the UK over the last decade. Each model has offered a fantastic look, small engine options and reliability. This one’s a no brainer!

 

Ready for a young driver insurance quote?

MyFirstUK are young driver insurance specialists offering not only the best insurance deals, but support and guidance from first hand experience. Call us today on 0333 305 5116 or check out our website for more information!

Tips for getting the best young driver insurance

It’s no secret that car insurance for drivers aged 17-21 can be very costly, and although April 2018 has seen a slight drop in insurance premiums, many young drivers are still caught out by simply un-affordable quotes.

 

MyFirstUK are on the front line in aiding young drivers in getting the very best deal on their car insurance.

 

Here’s some tips from us that might save you some much needed cash:

 

Choose the right car!

One of the key factors of your insurance premium is of course the vehicle you’re insuring. It’s incredibly tempting when passing your test or buying your first car to go for the ‘Sportier’ or ‘GTI’ type cars – but choosing a vehicle in the right insurance band could save you hundreds or even thousands in the long run!

Need some help choosing? Here are the cheapest cars to insure in 2018

 

Add an experienced driver

If you are in a position to add an older, more experienced driver to your policy, this can be a huge positive when getting the best deal for a young driver. This is more often than not a parent or older sibling that has multiple years ‘no- claims’ discount. However, it is very important that this person is not ‘fronting’ your insurance for you, so be sure to add the correct and true information to your quotation.

 

Improve security

Insurance providers will look favourably if an effort has been made to increase your vehicles security. This could be anything from a high spec alarm to a vehicle tracking system. A small investment could in turn save you more than you think!

 

Steer clear of modifications!

If you love cars, another major temptation for a young driver is to remove some of the ‘factory standard’ parts of your car and replace with aesthetical or performance enhancing ones. Whilst this may add to your look and speed, it will also add to your premium! Stick with the production model and save money!

 

Consider your payment options

When taking out your policy, it can often be cheaper to pay your insurance up-front, however not everyone has the funds to do this. Talk to your insurance provider or broker to see what finance schemes they have available.

 

Advanced driving

Putting yourself on a young driver advanced driving course will go a long way in making you less of a risk on the roads. If you are currently learning or looking to take your test soon, speak to your instructor about their advanced driving options!

 

Looking for the best deal on your young driver insurance? Call our experts at MyFirstUK on 0333 305 5116 to see how much you could save!

Essential guide and tips for Learner Drivers

When you hit 17, the very first thing most of us want to do is book some driving lessons and pass your test as soon as possible. Before you do that, here’s some essential tips before booking an instructor and hitting the road for the first time:

 

Provisional License

It is a legal requirement that you must have a provisional driving license from the DVLA before you can start learning. It is important to note that you can apply for a provisional driving licence when you’re 15 years and 9 months old, but cannot start driving a car until you’re 17.

You can drive a car when you are 16 if you get, or have applied for, the enhanced rate of the mobility component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

 

Research your instructor

We are fortunate to have social media as a powerful tool to give us valuable insights into local driving instructors. Most instructors nowadays will have a Facebook or Instagram business pages with relevant reviews, however it is important to fully read their track record, whether this be on social media, their website or relevant review websites.

 

Get some tips from family or friends before your first lesson

If you have a family member or friend that drives, ask them to demonstrate the basics to you, so that you have a head start in your first lesson. This could be anything such as gear shifting and clutch explanations to boost your confidence.

 

Feel comfortable with your instructor

We hear of so many stories where students simply don’t get along with their instructor, and this has severely hindered their lessons and overall progression. It is very important you feel you can ask questions to your instructor and both have strong communication with each other. If not, you could be wasting a lot of time and money on additional lessons down the line where it may not be needed.

 

Before every lesson…

Make sure you leave enough time before your lessons to relax and eat / drink. Jumping out of bed 5 minutes before your lesson can damage your concentration and may even cause an accident. Schedule your lessons at the right time!

 

Additional driving practice with family or friends

Extra lessons from your family or friends can give you a huge advantage and allows you to practice things you’ve learnt in your lessons without having to pay more. Your supervisor has to at least 21 years old, and holds a full driving licence held for the type of vehicle they are supervising in for at least 3 years. More information on this can be found here

 

Consider passing your theory test in advance!

You can take your theory test as soon as you have your provisional license. Passing this whilst in the early stages of your learning will give you better knowledge of the road and the overall driving environment. Make sure any theory test material you purchase to learn from is up to date and DVSA approved!

 

Learner Driver Insurance

At MyFirstUK, our brand-new hybrid policy gives you a price on a provisional licence and then does not charge you a penny more when you pass your test! What often happens in young driver insurance is that you will have to pay separately for your learner insurance cover and then your newly passed cover. We don’t believe paying twice is fair, and so what we have developed is a solution that’s a real money saving alternative. Click here to find out more.