Tag Archive | "young drivers"

‘Start Off-Road’ Scheme For Young Drivers

In a burst of insane thinking that might also be a good idea, those mad impetuous fools at Land Rover have devised the ‘Start Off-Road’ scheme for young would-be drivers between the ages of eleven and seventeen.

What’s more, they’re allow these kids to have the keys to a Range Rover Evoque. Don’t worry though, they will not be allowed on the road. It’s track and field only for them.

Seems like a plan. Anything that instils into young drivers a sense of their our ability and handling skills coupled with a sense of responsibility has got to be a good thing. They will experience true off-road driving, that will teach them skills and techniques that they will go on to utilise throughout their future years both on and off road, helping to develop skills and techniques that they will go on to utilise throughout their future years both on and off road.

Participants have the chance to experience driving techniques including basics such as steering, braking and reversing, as well as more advanced skills such as climbing and descending hills, crossing ditches and ridges, negotiating ruts, wet grass and mud, and even crossing water.

The idea is based on statistical evidence that younger drivers pick up new skills easier and are more open to learning good driving habits. By instilling into them the basics and sound principles of good practice it is hoped that they will gain invaluable experience for later in life.

And then of course there’s the Range Rover Evoque which these kids are going to get to drive whilst the rest of us have our metaphoric noses pressed up against the outside of the window looking in. Each Range Rover Evoque is fitted with dual controls for safety as well as an automatic gearbox, and a dedicated team of instructors are on hand to take participants through every scenario. Parents can also take part in the activity. Expect many to sign up for the schemes in and around the Midlands and South.

In preparing would-be young drivers in this way, not only does it, as mentioned, add skills but it also gives instructors the chance to develop good practice. Overall, this is excellent news from Land Rover and is to be welcomed.

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Black Box Tragedy

Following their driving test, the next hurdle that young drivers must overcome on their way to a successful driving life is the initial car insurance premium. Older, more experienced drivers must be aghast to see the sort of money newbies have to fork out just to drive a low-performance 10 year old shuttle, but there it is.

As a result, ways have been sought to mitigate what amounts to being a penalty on youth. One of those ways is the black box which monitors the driving behaviour of the new driver, the details of which are transmitted to the insurance company who base their premiums on the data received. Simply by agreeing to the strictures of the company policy the youth of Britain can see an instant reduction in their insurance quotes.

Some conspiracy theorists believe that this amounts to just another way of watching the movements of people, and that argument certainly has merit but overall most young people will and have accepted that as a way to save money.

Sadly, in one case at least, the fitment of a black box has inadvertently led to tragedy. A young driver aged 18 and his 17yo mate in the passenger seat died in a crash last November. When fitted, black box recorders collate information based on a set of rules for the driver. This is designed to promote staying within the law. In the case of these young men one of the rules was a curfew on driving between 11pm and 5am.

As is the way with young men everywhere they had cut things a bit fine on getting the car home in time for 11 o’clock. This resulted in them going faster than they usually would. This young driver, it can be proved, had never previously broken any speed limits but felt constrained to speed to make up time. The alternative would have been a £100 fine from the insurer. They crashed and both died. At the inquest the coroner stated that the curfew had played ‘a very significant factor in his driving’.

Herein lies the problem. How rigid should these constraints be? No-one for a moment blames the insurer who is just following industry trends but it does beg the question as to where the line is drawn. There was no give or take in the curfew. A half hour period of grace and this accident would most likely have been avoided.

This form of telematics based motor insurance has definitely helped to improve driving standards amongst the young. There is no reason not to continue it but young men being young men are always going to innocently make an error of judgement. Allowance should be given to this.

Editor’s Note: Motor Blogger has chosen not to name these lads but we extend our condolences to their families and friends.

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New Drivers Need To Be Better Trained

One day soon parents and relatives all around Britain may suddenly wake up to howls of anguish coming from their older children – at least, the ones that are learning to drive. This is because – as revealed by a very recent survey – experienced motorists are becoming increasingly concerned about the lack of learning requirements for new drivers – and not just the youngsters; learners of any age.

A very large majority of the UK’s motorists believe that there should be a minimum driver training period prior to any practical driving test being taken. Most seem to think that a six month period is appropriate. As things stand at the moment there is no minimum period. A precocious seventeen year old could learn and pass in a week which may be commendable but does nothing to add to the real life experience of driving on our busy roads.

Motorway driving and manners are of primary concern given the generally higher speeds and volume of traffic. Respondents to the survey reckon that motorway training should be part of the learning process and indeed part of the driving test. As far as new drivers are concerned it gets worse.

A majority believe the mandatory probation period should be followed by a further driving assessment. Vehicles, the respondents believe, should be fitted with speed limiter devices to slow the more gung-ho element of the newbies and instil a sense of security in the more nervous newcomer to the world of wheels. This is a bit of a contentious area given that most motorway drivers expect a higher level of speed to be maintained. There would need to be a happy medium.

Experienced drivers believe that the government should do more by adding more stringent requirements and regulation to ensure newcomers benefit from the process. Other road users would feel reassured by this, they say. Most seem happy with the age 17 rule, but they want the punishments to be more severe. For example, any miscreant with more than six points should be busted down to learner status again and forced to repeat the cycle.

Additionally it is felt that there should be passenger restrictions on the carrying of under twenty-fives by under twenty-fives, presumably to neuter youthful exuberance and that there should be an even lower limit for drink driving. Presumably the former wouldn’t apply to older newbies but it isn’t made clear.

All of this, of course, is easy to say for drivers with many years of experience behind them but it needs to be balanced with a sense of fair play. We were all learners once. Certainly the roads are busier today than they have ever been but as most young people will grow up to be sensible drivers they should at least be given a fair crack of the whip and we don’t mean that in the literal sense.

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P Is For Probationary

The trouble with young people is that they will insist on going out and enjoying themselves by having fun and so on. Sometimes though they enjoy themselves a bit too much and the results can occasionally be tragic. An 18 year old driver is three times more likely to have an accident than, say, his parent.

The under twenty five age group are, according to statistics, responsible for one third of all motor accidents despite comprising only one eighth of the driving population. As an understandable consequence, young drivers are penalised by hugely expensive insurance premiums.

For this reason the Department for Transport is reviewing a number of measures to try and cut down the amount of youth related accidents and deaths. In a rather sweeping statement a government spokesman stated that young drivers were prone to “immaturity and reckless driving” and were “easily distracted by others”. That’s tarred them all with the same brush, then, although it is true to a certain extent.

Measures being considered include a ban on novice drivers carrying ‘young passengers’ and the need to display probationary plates on their cars. These are sometimes used on a voluntary basis by new drivers, probably at their parent’s behest, and seem like a good idea. After all, learners have to use L plates prior to passing their test and – since most people would agree that newbies only really learn to drive after the official examination when they are out on their own – a P plate would seem a natural progression.

The government believes that introducing youth calming measures would in the long run bring down the accident rate and the punitive insurance premiums that young drivers have to presently endure. The insurance companies would, one suspects, want to see a long and consistent reduction in claims for this to actually happen.

They have a similar system in Northern Ireland where novices have to display an R (for restricted) plate for the first twelve months after their test pass. They are also required to keep speeds below forty five miles per hour. Overall, it makes sense. Young drivers might not like it but if ultimately it saves their money and their life then it’s probably a sensible move.

Maybe it could be extended to other various classes of motorists. There could be, for example, be an I for ‘irritable’ driver plate or a W for ‘woman driver’ plate. Hey; just throwing out suggestions here – don’t shoot the messenger.

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Car Insurance For Young Drivers

As young people pass into their teenage years they begin champing at the bit for the freedom of the open roads. This can be a worrying time for parents, especially when the driving lessons start and the search for a car gets serious. In addition to the cost of a car there are also additional expenses to take into account and first amongst these is car insurance.

It’s an unfortunate fact of life that young drivers have developed a bit of a reputation and this has resulted in substantial increases in premiums over time as insurance companies assess the risk. Finding a car is one thing but finding reasonably priced insurance has become increasingly difficult. Obviously, the first port of call should be a trusted price comparison website like comparethemarket.com, where a search will reveal which insurers are offering the best deal.

No doubt there are many young drivers who don’t deserve the reputation gained for them by some irresponsible new motorists but the figures speak for themselves. The truth is that young men have more accidents and incidents than more experienced drivers. Young women are not as bad apparently but still suffer the consequences. The only answer is to take steps to reduce the perceived risk.

For a start, some companies are now offering discounts to young drivers who fit ‘black boxes’ in their car.  These devices monitor driving habits and automatically pass them on to the insurer. Put simply, if drivers stay within the law and drive in a sensible fashion, it could result in reduced insurance cost.

It may well be worth undertaking additional driver training and in particular the Pass Plus Scheme. A new driver can enrol within the first year of their full licence. This scheme is a practical training course lasting somewhere in the order of six hours, which will improve skills and overall driving ability. Insurance companies look upon this as a bone fide route to cheaper policies.

As great as it is to head out into the wide blue yonder in search of adventure, the reality is that reducing mileage and maintaining security with devices and garage or off-road parking will all help in the long run. Most insurance buyers will probably allow for a yearly average of ten thousand miles without thinking, so it is probably worth discussing with various companies how a reduced mileage can help the premium let alone fuel costs.

It pays to shop around and carefully consider all the options and what a young driver can do to minimise the pain. The result could be well worth the trouble!

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Tips For Buying a Young Person Their First Car

Buying that first car for a young adult is an exciting time, but it also presents innumerable choices and decisions. Striking a balance between a car that looks good (which might matter more to them than you…), and something that is fuel efficient and safe can be challenging. So to that end, here are a few tips on what to consider when helping your son or daughter choose their first car:

What do they need from their car?
For a new driver at the wheel of their first car, an absolute priority should be comfort and safety. They need to feel in control of the car and be able to manoeuvre it with ease. So there’s no need to go for something big. Unless there are specific reasons not to, stick to something that is going to be easy to park and that won’t be overpowering.

You’ll want to get decent fuel efficiency out of the vehicle so go for an engine size between 1.6 and 1.9 litres. An engine in this size range will be efficient on the motorway, as long as the driver isn’t exceeding the speed limit. Bear in mind that a smaller car will be cheaper to insure, so this may also be a consideration.

Then there is the question of whether you should go for an automatic or manual gearbox. Any new driver in the UK will have learnt on a manual gearbox, and this is a really good skill to keep up. Driving a manual car discourages complacency in young drivers and avoids any sense that some of the responsibility around driving has been lifted. Learning how to control the car using the gears instead of always relying on the brakes for non-emergency slowing is also a really key skill. It is likely that they will have to drive other manual cars in the future so it is worth getting a really solid grounding on manual before possibly moving on to an automatic.

Should you go for new or second hand?
Going for a new car has the obvious benefits that you can be sure of the car’s history, and get the full warranty and service from the dealer. However, it is also going to be the most expensive option, and it creates demand for brand new cars when there are lots of great second hand cars with plenty of life left in them.

It is worth looking around for second hand car dealers, or someone selling a car in your area which you can go and check out. Be absolutely sure to test drive the car and get all the relevant paperwork before handing over any money – and always negotiate on the price. Make sure the car has been serviced recently and that you are given all the information about any potential issues.
If the seller is pushing you for a decision, try not to let the pressure get to you. It would be better to miss out than rush into something and then find that there are problems with the engine, tyres or brake pads (for example) that you weren’t aware of.

When you are choosing the right car for a first time driver it’s also really important to consider insurance. The cost of insurance will be affected by the age and experience of the driver, as well as the age of the car, safety features and engine size. This is another reason to consider a smaller car, and to think about adding features such as an immobiliser. This will help protect the car from theft and may also make decrease the cost of insurance.

When you take out that first insurance policy, ensure your son or daughter knows how important it is to build up their no claims. This is another incentive for safe driving to be their number one priority, and it makes the roads a safer place for everybody.

Whichever car you choose, make sure safety and efficiency are at the top of the list and you will have a happy and successful driver to go the supermarket for you.

This article was written by Caz Adlington on behalf of MoreThan.com. The opinions expressed are those of the author and any data provided does not originate from More Than.

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