You're driving along when you suddenly become aware of a police siren behind you. Looking in your rear-view mirror you see that the flashing blue lights are directly behind you, and the police car is for you. Pulling over, you feel a despair in the pit of your stomach. You've been caught.
The scenario above isn't common for most of us, but however long you've been driving, you do not want it to happen to you! When it comes to new drivers, particularly within the first two years of passing your test, you need to be particularly careful, because under The New Driver Act, if you reach six points on your license you could have it revoked. Once it's been revoked you can apply for another provisional license, after which you'll need to pass both the theory and practical tests again. Not a cheap exercise, not to mention the time wasted! A good solicitor might be able to help you fight the added points in court if you have good evidence as to circumstances etc, but you're still likely to have a temporary ban for 7 to 14 days at the very least.
What can make up six points?
So what kind of offences are we talking about here? Six points can be made up of a couple of offences, examples being:
- minor speeding (3 points)
- using a mobile phone whilst driving (3 points)
- failure to stop at a red light (3 points)
Or one offence, for example
- driving without insurance (6 points)
- driving while drunk (10 points)
As you can see, without proper care and correct driving it can be very easy to add up the points.
How to avoid getting points on your license
Most of the advice below is all about focus. If you're distracted or your brain isn't working properly pull over and deal with the distraction, swap with another competent driver or get some rest!
Don't use a mobile whilst driving
In today's society the vast majority of people are firmly attached - if not addicted - to their mobile phones. This is a particular hazard for younger people who have not known anything else whilst they were learning to drive. Statistics for mobile-related accidents cannot be relied upon because so many people will hide their phones or deny they were using a phone to cause an accident. It can confidently be stated that distraction from mobiles or even sat navs is definitely a factor in a large number of road traffic accidents.
To avoid this, at the very least get a hands-free kit, but if you don't have one, avoid distraction by putting your phone in the boot. It can wait! Make sure you've sorted out your route before you set off so you're not pressing buttons rather than keeping your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel.
And never text. That's NEVER!
One last thing on this: the number of points for this is due to rise to six this year. That's an immediate ban for new drivers.
Don't drink or take drugs and drive
This is an age-old problem (the drink side of it anyway!) and still it goes on. Whilst it is tempting to think that you can take just one glass, even that one could disrupt your concentration and focus. If you're the designated driver for the night, go for the soft drinks. With regard to drugs, illegal drugs are not necessarily the only ones to effect your focus so make sure you check the packet when you need relief. (think hayfever tablets for example!)
Watch your speed
This final example is an obvious choice again. It is very easy to justify going faster than 30 on a long wide road, or down a steep hill, but speed limits in towns are most definitely put there for a reason: to protect the driver and the pedestrians around them. Just get into the habit of driving at the speed limit and you'll have no problems.