So you've finished off your driving lessons and you've passed your test - great! But taking to the road for the first time on your own can be daunting. Thankfully we live in an age of technology, where gadgets and gizmos can make driving safer and easier.
The Lifehammer is one of those things that you’ll probably never have to use but could save your life should you ever become trapped in your car.
The slightly scary-looking gadget consists of a double-tipped hammer to smash your car’s windows and a razor sharp safety blade to cut though seatbelts. It even comes with a plastic case which can be mounted inside your vehicle, allowing quick and easy access to the tool in an emergency.
Daytime running lamps
Daytime running lamps or DRLs are pairs of small lights on the front of the car which are always illuminated while the car is moving.
They make your car more conspicuous, decreasing the chances of being involved in an accident. The EU now requires that all new cars produced have DRLs, but you can pick up an aftermarket set for under £50.
Avoid creeping over the speed limit and be prepared for accident blackspots and speed cameras by installing a camera detector.
There’s a massive range of models available, but make sure you pick one that has accident blackspot warnings as well as the standard modes.
Reversing is an area that nervous drivers can particularly struggle with. Installing reverse parking sensors is a quick and easy way to ease your concerns about reversing, allowing you to become a more confident, better driver.
They also make sure that you don’t ‘bump’ anything then reverse parking, which is always a bonus.
Using your mobile phone while driving is illegal, irresponsible and incredibly dangerous. However, some calls are just too important to let redirect to voicemail.
Installing a bluetooth handsfree system in your car is one of the most common and affordable ways to boost your safety when driving. The systems range from simple earpieces available for under £15 to car stereos with built in bluetooth available from around £150.
High visibility bulbs
Replacing your car’s headlamp bulbs with high visibility or xenon alternatives will make night driving far safer. The increased range and brightness of the bulbs ensures that you can see clearly in almost any conditions.
Replacing brake lights with brighter alternatives also makes motoring safer for you; brighter bulbs are seen quicker, giving those driving behind you more time to react to your brake lights.
Tyre pressure gauge
Incorrect tyre pressures can affect fuel efficiency, cause uneven wear and increase your chances of experiencing a blowout. Keeping your tyres at the right pressure isn’t difficult; just use a cheap and cheerful pressure gauge to check them once or twice a month and top up as needed.
Motoring supply shops like Halfords offer convenient kits containing everything you need in case of a breakdown neatly packed into a carry case. The kits contain essentials like jump leads, a tow rope, warning triangle and tyre pump inside, ensuring that you’re prepared for practically anything.
Emergency phone charger
Although you most certainly shouldn’t be driving while using your mobile phone, you should make sure that you can use it in emergency situations. Due to Murphy’s law you can bet that your phone’s battery will die the moment your car breaks down or you have an emergency.
Emergency phone chargers are available from petrol stations, gadget shops and motoring supply shops. They come with adaptors to fit most phones and can supply over an hour of charge; more than enough to phone your insurance company.
This one speaks for itself. Small in-car fire extinguishers are cheap and can be put in your boot and forgotten about until needed. Just make sure that you get one capable of handling type B fires (liquid fires).