Being a qualified driver is the best. You have the freedom to hop in the car and drive wherever and whenever you want. The thing you have to watch out for, though, is getting too comfortable (or downright cocky!) behind the wheel and letting your standards slip. One of the most common offences motorists across the country are guilty of is speeding.
It can be very tempting, when running late or in an irritable mood, to push the accelerator pedal that little bit harder and exceed the speed limit. Believe us when we tell you that this nasty little habit can get out of control fast. Just because you have the power to drive at silly-miles-per-hour does not mean that you should.
We've put together a bunch of really useful tips that will help you to stop speeding and be an all-round great driver. Let's get into it!
Plenty of motorists might not take speeding that seriously, but the law certainly does. Limits are put in place for a reason and there are consequences if you do not stick to the rules. We're talking bad news for your driving status, finances and safety.
If you are caught speeding by cameras or traffic police, you can expect to face the following:
In some instances you could be invited to attend a speed awareness course. This may allow you to swerve the other penalties, but the cost of the course is usually the equivalent of the initial fine. Basically, you can't avoid having to cough up some serious cash!
It's much easier to stick to the speed limit when you know what it is at all times. If you're a qualified driver, you should be an expert at this point. We'll forgive you, though, for the occasional bout of confusion, as on some roads it is not always glaringly clear. Plus, even when a speed limit is obviously signposted, common sense needs to play a role.
If you see a national speed limit sign (white circle with a diagonal black band) on a country road, for example, it technically means that the speed limit is 60mph. Now, don't just put foot to pedal until you hit that speed. Use your noggin! If the road is narrow and includes blind bends, driving at 60mph could actually be incredibly dangerous. It goes without saying that driving above this speed is out of the question.
Revisit the Highway Code and make sure you know your limits.
Again, this should kind of be a given, but make sure that, when driving, you are keeping an eye on the speedometer. We don't mean stare at it until you hit the right speed—your eyes need to be on the road! There's no harm, though, in sneaking regular glances at it to ensure you're in the safe zone. Make this a part of your driving routine and it'll become second nature in no time.
You may not have a sonic screwdriver, but we're assuming you have a watch or clock kicking around. A major reason people speed is that they are running late and need to make up the time. The thing is, though, why should everyone else on the road be put at risk because you failed to manage your time properly?
We get it—it can be incredibly frustrating to sit in traffic or get stuck behind a slow coach when you have somewhere to be. That doesn't give you permission to be a menace on the road. Speeding can lead to other bad habits like tailgating and beeping the horn unnecessarily. This kind of behaviour is very aggressive and it's not fair to treat other drivers this way.
The solution? Give yourself plenty of time to get where you need to go. And, on those few occasions where you can't help but be running late, suck it up and accept that it's not everyone else's problem. If your time is that important, organise it better!
Some people don't even need to be running late to exceed the speed limit! Be they boy racers or those with a generally impatient or angry disposition, certain drivers will always push it. Don't be like them.
Driving isn't a race (unless you're taking part in an actual sporting event) or something that you need to get over and done with as quickly as possible. If you find yourself constantly yearning to accelerate even when it's not acceptable, try to relax. Treat being in the car as an opportunity to get some important personal time. Pop the radio on, listen to your favourite podcast or simply be alone with your thoughts.
If you're unable to get yourself into a calm headspace where you don't feel the need for speed, remind yourself why speed limits are in place. The potential consequences range from bad to fatal. Driving too fast means you have less time to respond to unexpected hazards. Furthermore, if you're involved in a collision, the faster you're travelling, the more severe the impact is going to be.
Speeding without consequence a few times can lead to a false sense of security. People like to think that their driving is so good they can get away with it. Until they don't. Is it really worth taking the chance? No. The best scenario is that you arrive at your destination a few minutes earlier—big deal!
It's not uncommon for other drivers to pressure you into going faster. Remember those hot-headed people we were referring to earlier? They might drive very closely behind you, wave their hands in frustration or repeatedly try to overtake. Try your best to ignore them and stick to the rules. If their behaviour is making you feel threatened, let them overtake you as soon as there is a safe opportunity for them to do so.
The same goes for people within the car. If passengers don't like your speed they can get out and walk. As long as you're behind the wheel, you're the boss. The limits are in place for a reason—don't just follow the pack.
If your car is fitted with a cruise control system, make the most of it! As long as it is safe to do so, once you reach your desired speed, let the car take over. This should enable you to maintain a steady pace that matches the speed limit of the road you're on. That's one less thing to worry about!
When the DVSA upgraded your status to qualified driver, it was with the understanding that you would stick to the rules of the road. No matter how many people do it, speeding is not an acceptable driving habit. Unless adverse conditions force you to do otherwise, drive according to the speed limit at all times.
Follow our tips and you will be well on your way to being a skilled and safe driver for life!