Being a new driver is an exciting prospect, all that new-found freedom. Now you’ve got your drivers licence you just can’t wait to get in that car.

You’ve spent weeks cleaning it; you might even have your own private number plate.

But driving is not just about getting from A to B, road safety is paramount.

Here are some important tips to get the most out of your driving.

Keep Your Phone On Silent

Turn off those text alerts and notifications. We all want to keep in the loop on Twitter and Facebook, but whilst you’re driving is not the time to do it. Keep your social networking time off the roadside. Same goes for texting and making calls. If you must make a call while you are driving, invest in a hands free kit or find a safe place to pull over.

Take Driving Seriously

A car is not a toy, so don’t be tempted to show off. This applies particularly to younger drivers with passengers, whether it’s a love interest or a bunch of friends, its all too tempting to show off. Driving too fast or racing another car, a car is a dangerous weapon; while you are on the road you have a responsibility towards not just yourself but others.  Messing around behind the wheel is an accident waiting to happen.

A Cliché But Never Drink And Drive

Goes without saying but drinking and driving is a no-no. Doesn’t matter if you ‘feel fine’, your judgements are impaired and your reactions slower.  By driving after drinking, you are at great risk of harming yourselves and others. Alcohol can stay in the blood stream for up to 48 hours, so even if you believe you have ‘slept it off’ there is a chance you are still over the legal limit. Be sensible; avoid causing a possibly fatal accident, not to mention points on your licence and/or having your licence revoked. Nothing like losing your licence after you have just got it!

There Is No Need For Speed

There is no excuse for speeding. Speed limits are put in place for a reason; for your own protection. Speeding is the most common cause of road accidents and fatalities, sadly these could have easily been prevented by simply putting the brakes on and slowing down. Don’t put yourselves and others in danger by being reckless behind the wheel, unless you want a person’s injury or even death on your conscience. You may get off lightly with a hefty fine if you are caught speeding, but re-offenders may face a possible prison sentence so make sure you stick to the recommended speed limits.

Consider Extra Training

New drivers should strongly consider the idea of advanced driving training. Now that the test is over, it does not mean you’ve stopped learning. There are various short courses that cover motorway driving, driving at night even learning to drive in treacherous conditions. Those who complete the course can get cheaper car insurance, so not only are you a more capable driver, you also get to save money.

Check Your Car At Least Once A Week

A good habit to get into is to take a few minutes each week and walk round the car, make sure the tyres are correctly inflated and have no visible signs of damage or wear. Check the water and oil and make sure all the lights and mirrors are in good working order. This can not only save your life by possibly stopping an accident, but can also save you the expense of breaking down. Who knows, you could use the money you save to buy a cherished number plate!

This post was written by James Harper on behalf of The Plate Market who specialise in helping people buy and sell personalised and cherished registration plates.

Read more: Speed Matters: a Look at Plans to Change UK Speed Limits