So you’ve passed your driver theory test, taken your eye test and gathered all the documents needed to get your provisional driving licence. The next step on your list is to start your driving lessons and prepare for your full licence test. In Ireland, you must complete 12 lessons with an EDI-approved driving instructor before your full test.
We’ve gathered 10 of the top tips from driving instructors to help prepare for learning to drive. Consider these tips and work closely with your instructor to work towards passing your driving test first time round.
A common misconception is that once you’ve passed your theory test you don’t need the book or information anymore. However, during your full-licence test your examiner could ask you any questions about the rules of the road such as “what does that road sign mean?” etc. It’s also important to remember that the driver theory knowledge and information is not just for the test, it’s needed for everyday driving.
Tip: Check out AIG’s tips for safe driving here.
It’s worth knowing the basics of driving before your first lesson. Sit in the passenger seat while a friend or family member drives and pay close attention to their technique. Ask questions and take a look at the car’s key parts. Knowing your way around a vehicle before starting your lessons can make things easier to understand when your instructor explains how to drive a car.
Your mirrors need to be adjusted to suit your line of vision every time you get into your car, especially if you share your car with another driver. You should be able to see your full rear window in the rear-view mirror and your side-view mirrors need to be positioned correctly for blind spots. Ideally, your own car should be out of view in your side-view mirrors, this will give you a better view of any cars approaching from behind.
Knowing how to change a tyre is crucial for when you’re driving on your own, there won’t always be someone around to help. Always have a regulation-standard spare tyre in your car and know how to use it. Ask someone who knows how to show you how it’s done or watch a tutorial online.
In the beginning of your driving journey pick a route that you are comfortable with and stick to it for a couple of weeks. Use this route to practice some of the trickier parts of driving such as 3-point turns, reversing and hill starts. Parks and industrial estates are usually quite good for this. When you’re ready to move on to another route, look out for ones with roundabouts and other aspects to work on.
The higher your speed, the less control you have. When learning to drive, it's important to take things slow and give yourself plenty of time to stop, start, turn and change lanes etc. Don’t allow other drivers or friends to pressure you into driving faster when you are not ready. As you become more comfortable driving, you will naturally begin to drive at the speed limits, safely.
You’ve seen the ad, you know the one without the seatbelt causes all the damage. Don’t take any risks - always wear your seatbelt. Get into a habit of checking that you and any passengers in your car have the seatbelts securely fastened before taking off. Don’t be embarrassed to remind someone to put their seatbelt on, it’s too important.
This is the law. In Ireland you must always have a fully-licenced driver travel in the passenger seat with you and they need to have held their driving licence for a minimum of 2 years. Failure to do so will result in your car being confiscated by the Gardaí along with a nasty fine and penalty points. Having an experienced driver with you at all times decreases your risk of having an accident and ensures that someone is there to help and guide you.
To avoid being stranded at night or in the cold, we recommend stocking your car boot with these essentials should you have a breakdown or a puncture:
Familiarise yourself with these tools and know how to use them. Take note of the phone number for your breakdown assistance service and keep it handy in your car.
Once you’ve received your learner's permit, held it for 6 months and completed 12 EDI lessons you can apply for your driving test. At the moment there’s a 6-week waiting time for the test, but this fluctuates. Set yourself a time limit and practice driving as much as you possibly can. Revise your theory and book pre-tests with your driving instructor. It’s best to book your test as soon as you feel ready so that the rules of the road and your lessons are fresh in your memory. It also gives you less time to pick up “bad” driving habits that could cost you your test.
Wherever you’re at on your driving journey make sure you, your passengers and your car are protected with a comprehensive or third-party fire and theft car insurance policy from AIG. Get an online car insurance quote for BoxClever - AIG’s telematics insurance policy created especially for young drivers.
Want to know more about young drivers insurance? Read these articles: ‘Car Insurance for Young Drivers: Everything you need to know’ & ‘Can a Telematics Insurance Policy Save you Money?’.