Rivervale's guide to becoming a new driver

Rivervale's guide to becoming a new driver

The new generation of young people wanting to drive has increased, yet there is some things holding them back, which lead to a plunge of 18% less new drivers since 2007. This blog will explain the Pro's and Con's of learning to drive at a young age.

Pro's and Con's of being a new driver

  • Driving will increase job opportunities as it allows you to work in places further away than walking distance. It will also allow you to work at a workplace that involves driving such as delivery driving.
  • As well as this, most car production companies are always updating their “new drivers” cars. These cars are usually fairly small hatchbacks with a small engine (from 1.0 – 1.4 litres). These cars are also designed to have lower insurance than more powerful, more expensive vehicles.
  • Money aside, new drivers get to experience the adrenaline rush and thrill of driving which we all agree is an amazing feeling. This also will mean that they have freedom to go wherever they want to go, whenever they want to go.
  • 17 year olds have the highest priced insurance of anyone else on the road in the UK. What most people struggle with is the fact that under the age of 18, minimum wage is still a lot lower than over 18’s, meaning that they are earning less, yet needing to pay more for insurance. At this age as well, 17 year olds will need to be in full time education for another year, resulting in very little time to work, and having smaller wages for this.
  • On average it costs £6800 for a person to get on the road including getting a car and to be insured for a year. Insurance makes up nearly a third of these costs!
  • There are also a lot of restrictions when you are a new driver. These include driving abroad, hiring a car and motorway driving. The law on the motorway driving is currently changing. As of now, the 28th of June 2017, drivers with a provisional licence cannot under any circumstances drive on motorways however this is changing. As of 2018 learners will be allowed on motorways with a qualified driving instructor in a dual-controlled car.

READ MORE - Everything to know about your photocard licence

Facts and Figures

80% of young drivers aged 17 - 24 admit to using their phone whilst driving, in the UK this would be 6 points on your licence. If you get 6 points on your licence in the first 2 years of driving you will lose your licence. The court then decides how long your driving ban lasts.

In the first 3 years of driving you are 7 times more likely to crash than someone who is not.

Black Boxes

Lets talk about the dreaded Black Boxes... Are they worth it? Do they really make your insurance cheaper? Do they help increase your driving confidence? I have a black box myself in my car, I will also discuss my opinions in this.

Here at Rivervale we are interested to see what people think about black boxes as they have a lot of controversy for both sides. Out of the 16 people we asked, 12 of them agree that black boxes are a good idea, the other 4 said they think they do not help or are not a good idea. This information is displayed in a graph below.

Although they are a good idea to help lower insurance and assure that you are driving to the speed limits etc., they cannot physically see what is happening. So for example if you have to swerve, speed up or brake to get away from a potential hazard, all your black box would think is that your drive like a maniac!

70% of people with a black box will save on their insurance due to the information the box has received. This means the majority do save or get money off of their next premium.

Personally I think that they are a good idea as the majority do save, however I think that they should be more of an optional extra with insurances. I was not able to find an insurance quote, which did not include a black box no matter how much the premium went up! If it was optional, careful drivers who want to save could, whereas people who do not need their costs reduced or do not like the idea of constantly being monitored could opt out of having one.

Why is insurance for new drivers so expensive?

  • They have more crashes on average compared to older drivers.
  • They are more vulnerable due to being inexperienced so they may not see potential hazards as clearly.
  • Higher risk because of experience and age meaning insurance companies get away with charging crazy amounts.

This will also depend on which insurance category your car is in. The category will depend on the cars BHP, engine size and make/manufacturer of your car. If you have a very powerful 3-litre engine, which does 250BHP, then your insurance category will be high resulting in you paying more to be insured. The opposite would be a small 1-litre engine with 50BHP. This would be lower and the premiums would be much cheaper. The categories go from 1 – 50, from low priced to high price. The categories also depend on the security of your car. If it is easy to break into and steal then it will be higher as it is more likely to get stolen.


New Drivers In Other Countries

Other countries have different driving laws to us here in the UK. One of these includes what age you can learn to drive or get a provisional licence. For example in France you can drive at the age of 15. That’s 2 years earlier than the UK. However you will have to drive with supervision and a restricted licence will be in place until you are 18.

READ MORE - Driving In Europe

In the opposite direction, Niger in Africa doesn’t allow you to drive until you are aged 23! 5 years over the international average! Most countries in every continent have a law that you have to be 18, however this does not restrict you from driving without consenting adults or with supervision etc. The lowest age I could find for driving is South Dakota at only 14 years of age! This will get you a “Restricted minors permit” which then you can increase to a full licence once you have passed your test.

What do you think about Black Boxes? Let us know!

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