I’ve been driving for eight years this year, but it seems like only yesterday when I was having my first driving lesson, practising with my mum in the local car park, and taking my driving test. I remember how totally terrified I was when I took my driving test. I was so nervous in fact that I stalled the car.


I can just see it now, me sat in the driving seat next to an examiner who kept watching me and writing notes on his sheet, making me more and more nervous. I can honestly say that I thought I had failed and that when he turned and congratulated me, I was in complete and utter shock. I was over the moon and so was my driving instructor. I called EVERYONE I knew to tell them. I was so pleased.


Of course, after passing your test comes the scary part – driving by yourself. Yes, it’s exciting. Yes, it’s thrilling. But it’s also extremely daunting. My driving instructor always said that he never recommended that his students drove straight after passing their driving tests – he said to give it at least a few hours so that you can calm down and then go for a drive. So that’s what I did. I waited a few hours and then drove into town to meet my friends.


How did I feel being a first-time driver?


For me, it felt amazing. I grew up in the countryside where there was just one bus every hour from 7 am until 7 pm and then that was it. This means that unless you paid for a taxi, got your mum to drop you somewhere or asked an older friend to drive you, you couldn’t go anywhere in the evenings. So passing my driving test was the biggest thrill. Of course, I was nervous at first too, but I think the excitement took over.


What was the most difficult part of being a new driver?


I would have to say that I found the cost of driving one of the hardest parts about it. I thought learning to drive was expensive but having a car is even pricier. There’s the MOT, the regular servicing, the cost of fuel, and of course insurance.


I found that when it came to my car insurance, the best thing to do was utilise apps like the Aviva drive app that monitors your driving skills and can help you to reduce the cost of your insurance premium. What I love about this app is the fact it has an integrated dash cam, which is something that every driver, young and old should take advantage of.


What are my top tips for new drivers?


Don’t drink and drive – I decided, as soon as I passed my test, that I would never have even a sip of a drink and then drive. I just didn’t feel like it was worth the risk. Today, I still live by that rule, if I am driving I just don’t drink. I’m also super careful about driving the morning after drinking too, and I would urge all new drivers to be just as careful. I always use The Morning After Calculator to check when I am safe to drive and I thoroughly recommend it.


Watch your speed – Once, when I was in a rush to get somewhere, I drove stupidly fast down the motorway. I made my appointment but looking back now I realise how utterly ridiculous it was to drive that fast. If I had been caught speeding, I would have lost my license, no question about it. Nowadays, I am a much more careful driver, I always adhere to the speed limits and even have an app that tells me what the speed limit is so that I can’t accidentally go too fast.


Invest in a SatNav – If you are going to be driving long distance or to anywhere that you don’t know well, it makes sense that you invest in a SatNav system. I love mine and quite literally, could not go anywhere without it. Don’t want to buy a full SatNav? Download a Sat Nav app instead – this is what I have done in the past.


Being a new driver is hard work, as there’s just so much to consider. It can be extremely daunting at times, as well as exciting.


*This post was written in collaboration with Aviva.*