Direct Line magazine

Returning to driving when you haven't been behind the wheel for some time

Updated on: 23 April 2021

a man drives a car

Some people pass their driving test as a keen 17-year-old but then, as the years pass, find themselves driving less and less. Maybe you live in the centre of a big city where owning a car is not practical. Or perhaps you designated all the driving responsibilities to your partner.

Whatever the reason, situations change and one day you may find yourself needing to drive again. For those who haven't driven for a long time, getting back behind the wheel can be a daunting prospect.

Legally, unless you've become disabled in any way (in which case you need to contact the DVLA), if you still hold a driving licence you're free to hop in and drive off. However, in reality it may not be as simple as that.

For a start, if you haven't driven for years, your driving skills will be rusty. Also, the roads may have changed in that time.

Take a refresher course

The best thing to do to get motoring again is to book yourself on to a refresher driving course. These courses are widely available from most driving schools. Unlike learning to drive the first time, there is no test to pass at the end, so it's much less stressful. The courses are designed to help you feel comfortable and safe behind the wheel.

Also, with today's concerns about the environment and the high price of fuel, a refresher course will usually teach you to drive more efficiently. This will save you money and help you to minimise your impact on the environment.

Once you've done your course, you should start with a few short drives near to your home to build up your confidence. Avoid driving on busy roads and during the rush hour until you feel ready.

Be a greener motorist

If you're buying a new car, you may not want to get one with a huge engine. A smaller car will be easier to manoeuvre, and will also use less fuel. Try to buy a green model if you can, the Department for Transport's website is a good place to start as it lists the greenest cars available in each class, from small models to large 4x4s.

Also make sure you're insured for the car you're driving. Find out more about Direct Line car insurance.

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