Safety is the number one priority when learning to drive and before you drive any car you should ask yourself, is this vehicle safe?
As an introduction you should familiarise yourself with some basic safety checks, doing this will also help you become more familiar with your car and what to look out for.
Where to start?
Any car you drive should be fully legal which includes having road tax, a valid MOT certificate and you should be insured to drive it. Most of the basic safety checks you can do are visual checks which involve checking your cars systems are topped up and in good working order.
Are you a learner driver?
If you are a learner driver you must display “L” plates whenever you drive the car. Remember to remove the plates after you have finished and keep them safe for next time.
Outside the car
Start by walking round the car and checking for any signs of visible damage. Wear and tear damages such as small dints and paintwork chips are usually acceptable but keep your eyes out for any chassis or tyre wall damage.
Check the tyres
Your tyres give you grip on the road and to ensure you car is road legal and safe you should always maintain AT LEAST the UK minimum tread depth of 1.6mm. Your tyres will wear down due to the friction with the road surface however, you should also look out for wear on a specific tyre or part of a tyre which could indicate a problem with the car. For example you may find your tyres wearing on the inside much quicker than the outside, this could be down to the tracking or balancing being out. If you are unsure or concerned about the wear on your tyres you can always take your car to a reputable garage for advice.
Are your brake and headlights working?
It’s important that all the lights on your car are working correctly. You can turn your headlights on from inside the car and then go out and check they are working. Now check your rear fog lights and brake lights by pushing down on the brake pedal (TIP: You may need to ask someone to check them for you).
Finally you should check that all your indicators are working, most modern cars will have rear indicators, side indicators and sometimes even wing mirror indicators. All of which should be fully functional.
Under the bonnet
You need to be aware of what the basic systems are under your bonnet. You should be aware of how to check your oil, coolant, windscreen wash and water levels as you will need to demonstrate this during your practical driving test.