Safety tips for young drivers

When you have just passed your driving test there is more to remember than just putting your seat belt on.


Image caption Young people potentially have more to distract them so the focus should be concentration

Robin Cummins, road safety consultant at BSM, said young drivers needed to ensure they concentrated on their driving and nothing else.

He said: "Drivers need to be able to concentrate on the road and other road users at all times and avoid being put off by other passengers in the car."

It was important too that mobile phones were switched off so there was no distraction from any incoming calls or text messages.

"It is often drivers' attitude rather than their skills which causes road collisions," he said.


Image caption David Stevens warns against having too many passengers in the car

David Stevens, the chief operating officer for Admiral Insurance, said young drivers need to steer clear of ferrying large groups of friends about.

"Young drivers will often drive with their friends as passengers. The more passengers you have, the higher the likelihood of a crash.

"Inexperienced drivers can find passengers a real distraction at a time when they need maximum concentration.

"And some succumb to the temptation to show off; driving too fast and taking risks, such as overtaking round bends or even racing fellow motorists. This can prove fatal.

"Young female passengers and a testosterone-fuelled young male driver is a particularly risky combination.

"It's important for young motorists to know that driving recklessly is not a good way to impress their peers."


Image caption Young drivers need to watch their speed

Chief Inspector Diane Pennington, deputy head of road policing in Northern Ireland, said young drivers should watch their speed.

Of the 37 people killed in road accidents in Northern Ireland so far this year, 14 were between the ages of 17 and 24.

"These young drivers, passengers and pedestrians weren't necessarily at fault, but the fact remains that the age group is disproportionately represented in the figures, not just here in Northern Ireland, but throughout the UK, Ireland, Europe and indeed, the rest of the world.

"Such tragic loss of young life is an issue police are addressing, but it's an issue we cannot address alone, so we are appealing for young drivers in particular to slow down, wear a seatbelt, pay greater attention while driving and to never ever drive after drinking or taking drugs."


Image caption Trevor Wedge warns the effects of illegal drugs are highly dangerous

Trevor Wedge, the chief driving examiner with the Driving Standards Agency, warns against the use of drink or drugs.

"Alcohol gives you a false sense of confidence, reduces co-ordination, slows down reactions, and affects judgement of speed, distance and risk. Remember alcohol can stay in your system for up to 48 hours.

"Over-the-counter medicines can affect your ability to drive safely - read the label to see if it will affect you.

"Using illegal drugs is highly dangerous. Never take them if you intend to drive; the effects are unpredictable and may result in fatal or serious road crashes."


Image caption Edmund King says more training after your test can be fun

AA president Edmund King says new drivers should consider getting more training after passing their test to improve their skills.

"The AA would like to see driver training and testing improved so that new drivers do not have to be further restricted when they take to the roads."

The organisation is working to offer free online training to all 16/17 year olds in the UK and are also providing a BTec in driving science. The AA Trust also offers free courses to new drivers at risk.

Mr King said: "Road crashes are the number one cause of accidental death for teenagers.

"Advanced driver training is fun so take a course to cover night driving, motorways or skids.

"And If you want to speed then go on a track day rather than risk lives and your licence on the road."

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