8 tips for driving after taking a break
Thursday 7th January 2021
Looking to get back behind the wheel after a short break away? This could be due to staying at home during lockdown, or if you had a change in circumstance, such as job or living situation, which meant you didn’t need to drive anymore. Whatever the reason, it’s likely you’ll want to take some steps to ensure you’re confident not only in your driving ability, but in your vehicle’s performance and safety, too.
How to ease back into driving
Below, we’ve listed a few steps on how you, the driver, can ease yourself back into driving:
Practice, practice, practice!
Give yourself the time and the patience to allow yourself to practice. This could be simply going around the block bringing with you a loved one or friend who can support you. Don’t push yourself out of your comfort zone too soon – and make sure you’ve practiced not only driving, but reversing, manoeuvring and parking, too.
Don’t be afraid to take it slow
Despite what the rest of the drivers on the road might be doing, it’s important to take it steady – and go at your own pace. This also applies to the types of roads you are driving on – you may not want to jump straight back in to driving on the motorway, or dual carriageways. Stick to familiar routes to begin with, which will help encourage muscle memory.
When you’re returning to driving after taking a break, it’s common that distractions can affect your concentration. This can refer to things like music being turned up too loud, the type of music that you are listening to or whether or not you have passengers in the car. It’s wise to limit your distractions until you feel more confident to tackle the roads again.
Brush up on your theory
It’s also a wise idea to brush up on your road theory – taking into account road signs, highway codes and speed limits will enable you to feel more confident when you’re back in the driving seat yourself. The Highway Code is available online – making it easy to brush up your knowledge!
Complete a refresher course
If you still feel like you’re not as confident as you’d like getting back behind the wheel, a refresher course might be the best option. If you’re still in touch, you can book in a few sessions with your old driving instructor – as they will know your habits, the way you drive and the way you need to be taught.
How to prepare your vehicle for driving after a break
Of course, it’s also important to prepare your vehicle to be driven, if it hasn’t been for a long period of time. This will involve a series of checks, including:
- Tyre pressure – ensure your tyre pressure is correct before you begin driving again. Learn why tyre pressure is so important for your vehicle.
- Tyre tread depth – ensure your tyre tread depth is above the legal limit, 1.6mm. You can test this by using a coin – learn more about how to check tyre tread depth.
- Tyre wear – it’s important to inspect your tyres to ensure they haven’t worn down, or experienced uneven tyre wear, as this can affect the performance of your vehicle.
If your vehicle hasn’t been driven for a long period of time, it’s quite common to experience a flat battery. You are able to identify a flat car battery by attempting to turn on the engine, and the engine not starting. You may also see a flash up of lights on the dashboard, indicating there is a problem. Learn how to check for signs of a dead car battery, and why your battery keeps dying in the cold from our informative guides.
For a comprehensive overall safety check of your vehicle, it’s worth booking it in for a car service. Choose between a short interim service, or a full master service – this will depend on how many miles your vehicle has driven since it’s last service. Find out more about which car service you need.
During the service, there will be various components checked over, such as brakes, lights, seatbelts, wipers and more. The full checklist of what is checked in a car service is available here. Once this has been completed, you’ll feel much more confident knowing your vehicle is safe – and you’ll feel more ready to return to the road.