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Your first car

Managing your parents and the key to the family car…

Happy young female driverYou want maximum independence. Your parents don’t want you to be involved in a collision. So how do you ensure that your driving plans don’t cause conflict?

Negotiate a ‘New driver pact’?

An effective win-win strategy is to agree to a list of commitments to give parents greater peace of mind.

For example:

  • not to drive after 11pm.
  • not to drive on Friday and Saturday nights.
  • never to use your mobile while driving.
  • not to drive with more than one passenger.
  • ensure that everyone wears their seat belts.
  • don't drink and drive.
  • don't take drugs and drive.
  • display "P"(Probationer) plates.

See what a bit of negotiating can do.

Download our new driver pact. 

Do as much supervised driving as possible even after the test.

Having a parent supervise your driving, especially in tricky conditions like rain, motorways or at night-time, won’t just make you a better driver, it’ll make them a lot happier too!

Buying A Car

How do you get a good deal?

First, decide which models to look out for!

With so much choice out there, it’s worth narrowing it down to a shortlist of models upfront. Because insurance premiums and fuel bills are usually lower for smaller cars, this is the best place to start.

How do you compare car safety?

Check a car’s NCAP (European New Car Assessment Programme) here

You can also see whether it’s equipped with the following safety features:

  • Driver and passenger airbags
  • ABS (anti-lock braking system)
  • ESC (electronic stability control)


First car

Dealer versus a private seller. Which do I choose?

Both options have their pros and cons. There are lots of reputable dealers out there (as well as some very dodgy ones). But they're also professional sales people so you'll need to have your wits about you - never allow anyone to pressurise you into making a decision. Buying from a private seller is usually a cheaper option, but it also comes with risks.


Choosing a second-hand dealer.

What to look for:

  • Look out for the Retail Motor Industry Federation logo.
  • Get them to explain each car's safety features to you.
  • Want to spread the payments? Compare their finance terms with a bank loan.
  • Are you offered a warranty? (Not legally required, but why take a chance?)
  • Ask about servicing. Service plans can help reduce future expense - see what's on offer.
  • Make sure you know the end cost, not just the monthly payment.

Private sellers

What to look for:

  • Make sure that the seller is the registered owner of the car (ask to see the registration document and compare it with some additional ID).
  • View the car in daylight, at the car's registered address.
  • Check the car's market value online (ideally before you go to view it, but always before you decide to buy).
  • Check the car's service history record.
  • If the car's more than THREE years old, it must have an MOT certificate by law.
  • Have a mechanic give the car a basic check - it's worth the small cost.
  • Check that it hasn't been written-off in a crash.

Did you know?

According to the DSA, 47 hours of professional instruction plus at least 20 hours of private practice is the average formula to pass your test.

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Supported By

Arnold Clark

Working in collaboration with

Endorsed 2 - Roadsafe
Road Safety GB
London Road Safety Council