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Eight things all first-time drivers need to know

The open road, freedom, your own set of wheels... It feels amazing when you pass your test. You can finally drive on your own! The first six months can be dangerous for new drivers, though. They’re eight times more likely to have an accident than others.

You always want to avoid accidents. But there is additional pressure in Switzerland. When you get your license, you’re on probation for three years. New drivers should therefore follow some basic safety precautions. This will keep their car, and driving record, perfectly intact. Happy driving!

 

1. Check your blind spot

You didn't see that vehicle coming? The blind spot has that name for a good reason. It's the area between what you see ahead and in your mirror. It also describes the areas obscured by bodywork in your mirrors. Each vehicle has different blind spots. Look over your shoulder before turning, changing lanes or setting off. 

 

2. Get lane smart

When joining a road, adjust your speed to the other vehicles. Except those that are breaking the speed limit of course! Stay in the right lane for your speed. And always indicate if you're changing lanes.

 

3. Understand your vehicle's safety requirements

Your vehicle may need safety checks at least once a year. These ensure it's fit for the roads. Put a reminder in your calendar. And get your car checked out if anything feels odd. This isn’t somewhere you should save money!

 

4. Avoid driving late at night

Poor visibility, tiredness... Driving late at night is often a bad idea. Take a taxi or bus after dark if you can.

 

5. Don't drive with multiple passengers

Offering friends a lift seems like a big bonus of driving. But accidents are more likely with disruptive passengers in the backseat!

 

6. Stick to familiar routes and shorter journeys

Stick to your home area. Keep your trips short. Don't take on long-distance driving for the time being.

 

7. Leave your phone on silent

Even hand-free calls can be distracting. Keep your phone at a distance in the car. Most smartphones now have a “Do Not Disturb” feature. Activate it while you're driving.

 

8. Keep distractions at bay

Putting on make-up while waiting at traffic lights. Checking your hair in the mirror. Picking new tunes on the stereo... Multi-tasking can be a lifesaver. But it’s always a terrible idea in cars! Keep your eyes on the road and away from distractions. You also need all your senses – sight AND hearing. So leave the headphones at home. Switch off distracting music, radio shows and podcasts. They could stop you hearing another car or a pedestrian shouting.

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