Written by Graham Cutbill-White
Being a safer driver should be something all drivers aim for but for university students, who fall right in the middle of the most expensive* car insurance age range 18-25, being a safer driver could not only make the roads a safer place but could also save you money.
Car insurance providers will charge younger drivers more for their insurance mainly because of their notorious reputation and inexperience behind the wheel.
While it may take many years for the stigma around young drivers to disappear, the easiest way to reduce the overall cost of cover is to quite simply, drive more safely.
By driving smarter and safer you’ll reduce the chances of being in an accident and not only will you amass a larger No Claims Discount every year but if another young drivers change the way they drive, the overall cost of insurance for with 18-25-year olds will drop dramatically.
To help you do your bit to make the roads the safer and keep the cost of your insurance down, here are 10 ways to be a safer driver!
If you’re running late and in a rush to get somewhere, you’re more likely to make a bad decision and could cause you to have an accident. No matter where you’re going you should always leave more than enough to get where you’re going.
If you are behind schedule, simply let the people you’re meeting know and drive at a normal speed. There are very few things worth speeding for and possibly killing or injuring yourself or another driver.
Long journeys like driving home from university can be incredibly tough on a driver both physically and mentally. As a young driver, you’re unlikely to have done many long journeys so you may find you get tired, stiff and unable to concentrate properly sooner than other drivers. You need to spot the signs early so you can pull over and take a break.
If you find that you are:
Then you could be suffering from fatigue † and you should pull over and have a break. You should look to stop and rest every 2 hours where you stop, have a drink, get some fresh air and have a 15-minute powernap if you still feel drowsy.
With so many gadgets in our lives now, it’s incredibly easy to get distracted while on the road. Not only could looking at a phone or tablet cost you £200 fine and 6 penalty points, but it could also result in a serious accident.
To stay safe on the road you need to give driving your full attention so if you’re someone who finds it hard to put their phone down, try putting it in the glove box for the duration of your journey to remove any temptations.
One of the most infamous stereotypes associated with young drivers is their tendency to speed. Whether this is a fair reflection or not, it’s a fact that speeding is one of the main factors in fatal road accidents.
Remember that speed limits are just that, limits, not targets and you should always be aware of your surroundings and what impact your speed could have on other drivers. Be sure to check your speed regularly and make sure you know what the limit is on the road you’re on.
Breaking the speed limit is a crime and in the majority of cases won’t make a huge difference to the overall journey time.
You could be the safest driver in the world but you can never predict what other drivers will do. Indicators are always a useful, well, indicator of what the driver in front is going to do but sometimes it’s not that straightforward.
You should always leave enough space between your car and the one in front in case they decide to change their mind at the last minute. If you’re travelling at 30mph, the stopping distance is 23 metres or approximately 6 car lengths so be wary not to get too close otherwise you could end up crashing into the back of them.
Many insurers will see this kind of accident as your fault and you could end up losing your No Claims Discount and have your premiums rise dramatically.
It’s quite rare for learner drivers to have lessons in the dark so once you’ve passed your test; you might find that you’re lacking real experience in night time driving. The mix of poor visibility and fatigue mean that fatalities happen three times more often at night.
It’s crucial to ensure you can see as much as possible while driving in the dark. You should keep all your windows clean to prevent glare from oncoming headlights and make sure that if you need to wear glasses, you have them with you and that you have your eyes tested regularly.
Bright headlights can be a real danger for oncoming drivers so if you find yourself blinded by oncoming headlights, look to the left of the road and reduce your speed safely. Make sure that your high beam headlights are dipped if there are oncoming vehicles otherwise you could cause a serious accident.
The simplest way to stay safe at night is to drive extra cautiously, increase the distance between your car and the one in front and if in doubt or danger, pull off the road as quickly as it safe to do so.
Everyone wins if you drive safely, plus it can help reduce the cost of your insurance premium.
Another way for university students to reduce their car insurance premium is buying for cover when you actually need it.