It’s almost hard to believe it but after all the months of hype and what feels like a zillion mince pies and sprouts consumed and crackers pulled, Christmas and New Year’s Eve are all but faint memories with January now in full swing. We’ve rounded up some really positive car and driving-related New Year’s resolutions for wannabe, newly-qualified and young drivers, to fire 2017’s engine into life with a healthy dose of motivation.
1. Choose a driving school and book your first lessons if you’re keen to learn to drive but haven’t done anything about it yet. The practical driving test can be taken at 17 for those whose skills are ready, and some learner drivers pass having had fewer than 20 lessons. Okay, the average is between 40 to 50 hours of tuition, and most learners pass their test on the 2nd attempt, but the cost of lessons has come down a lot in recent years, so could 2017 be the year for you?
2. Passing your test and getting your own wheels by the end of 2017 is a similar resolution but a bit more specific and although it’s true that some test centres have delays of up to 12 weeks, it’s still possible to book your practical test much sooner in many parts of the country. If The Bank of Mum & Dad can’t fully help you out with getting your own car, used cars can be bought for sensible prices if you check out guide’s like our very own, and some of you may even get accepted for what’s called personal contract hire (PCH for short), where you pay a deposit followed by set monthly fees for a new car.
3. Keeping your driving style score in the green if you’re a Carrot Insurance New Driver or Better Driver customer is a great resolution to set for the New Year as you’ll not only earn rewards or treats but will also keep yourself and other road users safer, plus you should see your petrol or diesel bills reduce a bit, because smooth driving is more efficient.
4. Sign up for an advanced driving course like PassPlus, Ford’s Driving Skills For Life or a scheme from RoSPA or the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), as it should help you drive even more confidently and find more enjoyment in driving, including in bad weather and on the motorway.
5. Keep your mobile phone out of reach every time you drive your car in 2017 and beyond, as it’s all too tempting even for the most careful and experienced drivers to reach for their phones when stuck at traffic lights or in other situations they think are safer – but it’s both dangerous and illegal.
6. Treat your car to a wash more regularly, as this will make it look like you care about it more, will keep it in better condition on the outside reducing the chance of rust forming, and can also help in slightly improving its ‘MPG’ or fuel economy, as clean cars are more aerodynamic. Many petrol stations have jet washes or drive-thru car washes, and if you’re a bit nervous about washing your car, hand wash sites have sprung up in most towns across the UK – although it’s much better to go for a professional valet if you can.
7. Pay more of an interest in your car’s maintenance, such as checking the tyre tread and pressure, windscreen wipers, coolant, oil and screenwash levels, as cars that are looked after and serviced on time stand a better chance of avoiding breakdowns and expensive repairs.
8. Only driving when you really need to, like if your destination isn’t within walking distance or easily accessible by public transport, or if it’s raining or dark, will reduce wear and tear on the car and also improve your health and wellbeing, as light exercise such as walking is good for both the body and mind. This is one of the pledges from Brake, the road safety charity.