How to return to the road after a driving break

Getting back behind the wheel can be a scary moment, especially if it has been a long time since you were last in control of a car. Whether it was a voluntary break or a driving ban, there are ways to ease your return to the roads.

Refamiliarising

It may be worth familiarising yourself with the trusty highway code. This includes signals from other drivers, obstacles you may encounter and right of way at junctions. This will help you to feel more comfortable when you get in the car for the first time. What’s more, you’ll be more prepared to act calmly in a pressured situation. Just remember- stay calm!
Since roads during the pandemic have been so quiet, it is no wonder that some of us have lost the driving touch! As our routes return to normal capacity, it can be worrying due to the unfamiliar conditions. As rush hour traffic returns, it is important that we are prepared to (safely!) tackle whatever the road can throw our way!

Driving less busy routes may help to ease you back into the seat as you will have less drivers to interact with. Building up your confidence to take on roundabouts and motorways will help to calm your nerves when you encounter these situations. As a rule of thumb- smart small and get bigger. This can also apply to your journey length. Maybe you could start with a 10-minute journey around the block before you take on a 100km family drive to Harry Potter World. This will remind you of the things to look out for when driving. Bus lanes, motorbikes and people not indicating at roundabouts. These are all things to be wary of when you’re first starting out again. This DVLA article may be useful to reacquaint yourself with the general rules of the road.

In order to let others on the road around you know that you aren’t feeling confident on the roads, consider putting your P plates on. This is a reassurance to you and a warning to others to be wary around you. This way you can solely focus on the road and not have to worry about the other drivers around you. Obviously, you still have to be aware of what’s going on around you though this can signal to others to give you some space.

Although it may seem obvious, you should spend a few minutes finding the pedals. It is easy to press this instead of that and that one not this one when you’ve taken a break from driving. It is best to practice with the engine off and spend a few minutes alone until you are confident with what you are doing. This way you are reducing the risk of something going wrong on the road. This also applies to the gear stick and gears. Slipping into the wrong gear is something we’ve all done but best to eliminate the risk with practice! Play round (with the handbrake on and engine off) so it becomes second nature and it will all come flooding back!

Driving with a family member may help to gently ease you back into life behind the wheel. Having someone else in the car with you can reduce stress and pressure when driving. If you are coming back from a break, it is a good idea to take a passenger for a while.

Tests

If you don’t want to a relative in the car with you, you could consider a pass plus course. These are quick to arrange and then do, whilst giving you lots of confidence to take on the roads alone. This may also help to reduce your insurance premium because some insurers value the experience they give you.

Even before the pandemic, Pass Me Fast said that 10% of people who have passed their test have not driven in the past year and 2% have not driven since passing their test, so you are not alone!

MOT, tax and insurance

Another thing you should consider doing is checking that your road tax, MOT and insurance are still valid. As these things are all legal requirements, it is important that you sort them out.
If you have recently finished serving a ban, insurance may be a little harder to find. Many insurers will reduce your premiums and some may not offer you a quote at all. As specialists in non-standard motor insurance, Quote Detective will find you a quote. To speak to our team of experts, call us on 0333 222 4005.

As with any car insurance policy, you will have to provide details of any (non) motoring driving convictions.  You will also need to have personal and vehicle details at hand. We always try our best to provide you with the best price from our panel of UK insurers.