When I was eighteen I passed my driving test. Happily I passed first time and with only two minors, despite hitting the curb during a reverse around the corner manoeuvre.
After I passed my driving test I didn’t have a car to drive. I didn’t own one and there wasn’t a family car I was going to be allowed to be insured on, and so I didn’t drive again (at all!) for another five years. That was ridiculously frustrating, but I couldn’t afford a car and was at university so I didn’t really need one.
I finally bought my first car at 23 years old and found that driving was just like riding a bike, in that you never really forget how to do it. I loved driving around in my little £500 banger and the freedom it gave me.
However I think I was perhaps a little too confident, and must have thought the rules didn’t really apply to me. In the first two weeks of owning my own car, and driving properly for the first time I got my first ticket. Then within the same week I got my second for doing exactly the same thing in exactly the same place. I still absolutely insist that had I got the first ticket through the post before the second mishap that the second one wouldn’t have happened. No-one seems to believe me.
I had both gone through a red light and broken the 30mph speed limit (but was just fined for the red light), and yes I did that twice in the same week. In my opinion I was going too fast (ha!) at the time the lights changed to red and so it would have been unsafe to stop so abruptly. I am aware that this now sounds really stupid, but I was just an unpractised young driver. Some people still like to take the mickey about this little incident now, eight years later. Some people need to find some new jokes.
So there I was two weeks into being an actual driver with six points on my brand new license. That felt good I tell you. It felt even better the next time I had to get my car insured.
Once I had hammered that first car and it would no longer go into second gear I bought my next car which was quite a bit nicer, and I was so happy zipping about in my little (in perfect condition) Ford Ka. It was so much nicer to drive than my first car and I loved finally having a nice car to get about in. As it was so small it was nice and easy (within reason) to park, something else which I wasn’t (and to be honest am still not) very good at.
One day I took a nice little trip by myself to town and parked in the car park that we had always parked in. Lots of spaces, plenty of room to manoeuvre – you can see where this is going can’t you? I swung my perfect little Ka into a space and got up close and personal with a huge metal boulder. I decided (in my panicked and upset state) that going forward any more would make it worse, and so I crunched it backwards, which in hindsight wasn’t the best decision. My perfect Ka now had a huge dent in the side. Not just a dent though; a scraped-the-colour-off-massive-messy dent that was primed to go rusty sooner rather than later.
I was so upset. I like things to be perfect and my new car certainly wasn’t that any more, and I also knew that I wouldn’t get as much for it now when I sold it.
That was all pretty gutting, but I’m happy to say nothing like that has ever happened since. I think my driving skills have vastly improved now (my parallel parking skills not so much), and I think I am a good driver. As I have got older I have been more careful, lost (some of) the arrogance of youth and being a new driver, and now like to think of myself as a confident and assured driver (again minus the parking bit).
If the More Than Telematics Smart Wheels had been around back then, then I probably wouldn’t have taken those red lights so willingly or thought that the speed limit didn’t apply to me. I would hopefully have been paying more attention and wouldn’t have had to pay two fines that I couldn’t afford, and get six points on my sparkling driving license.
The More Than Smart Wheels Car Insurance is designed with young drivers in mind, and how it works is that they put a black box onto the driver’s car which records speed, braking, cornering and even where and when the driver parks. Then they’’ll be given a driving score which can be viewed online. The higher the score, the more rewards they’ll earn, and the more cashback they’ll get.
I think it is a great incentive for young people to drive more carefully and get feedback on their driving. Hopefully that way they can improve, and be encouraged to drive more safely at a time when they are not likely to be focused on that. As a parent the thought of my daughter learning to drive (I mean especially as she is three – she regularly crashes her scooter) is a pretty scary one, and I think I would be at least slightly reassured if she had this insurance and that little black box encouraging her to drive more safely.
Have you ever had any driving mishaps? Do you think you are a better driver now than when you were younger?
Thank you to More Than for collaborating with me on this post. All opinions and driving failures are my own.