Once one of Norwich’s first time drivers  – and still enjoying safe motoring many years on!

When I was younger, I lived in Norwich. It’s a vibrant city with a university, a castle, a cathedral, a vibrant night life – and lots of car drivers. Oh, and here’s a history lesson for you – it was also home to Norwich Union, once the name for the UK arm of Aviva.

But what’s Norwich got to do with first time drivers? Well, passing my driving test and obtaining a full driving licence meant everything to me at 17. Why? It’s simple – at the age of 16, my parents moved us 20-miles out to the Norfolk coast. It was great for the beaches, but with about one bus a day into Norwich (or so it seemed) my social life took a nose dive.

For the next year, all I could dream about was getting a car so that I could have a ‘life’ again. Every  job I had after college meant I was closer to saving up for my driving lessons and joining the crowd of first time drivers. Those 12 months dragged on, but when I turned 17, I had enough cash to become a fully-fledged learner driver.

And guess what? I passed. Not first time, but second time around– and that was still only five months after my 17th birthday. Luckily, my mum had just got a job that offered a company car, so I was fortunate enough to inherit her old Fiat Panda. It was a bit rusty around the edges, but it had an MOT – and it worked!

Seriously, my social life went from zero to 100% again once my L-plates were gone and I held that special licence in my wallet. But things took a slight downturn when I had my first crash.

It happened only seven months after passing my test, and it wasn’t even my fault. Some guy decided to change lanes without looking, side-swiping my little Fiat. Happily, he was a gent and admitted it was his fault. Car insurance details were swapped, the system kicked in, and my vehicle was repaired. All I had to do was cope with a week or so at home while I waited for my Panda to be restored to its former glory.

Once I was behind the wheel again, I felt okay, but I’m almost glad I had that bump early on in my driving career. Why? Because it’s made me more aware that other motorists can make mistakes. This has taught me to never take safety for granted, and I’ve never become too ‘cocky’ when on the road.

I’m not saying having a crash or a near miss is something we should endure to be a good driver; what I am saying is that whether we are first time drivers or established motorists, we should always scrutinise ourselves and other road users.

A dependable way of doing this is to download the Aviva drive app to help you monitor your driving skills. This will also help you save cash on your car insurance. What’s more, the Aviva drive app comes with an integrated dash cam.

So, with a lot of awareness, a good insurer and some help from technology, we can all enjoy the freedom that driving brings!

– In collaboration with Aviva –

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