10 things no-one tells you about...driving

Welcome to a new series of posts!

If you know me at all you will know how absolutely terrified I was when I first got my car. It's been over a year now and driving is like second nature, however it's not been without its blips...

1) The new car smell isn’t actually that great, and most strong car air fresheners will make you nauseous. That being said, I’m eyeing up a Yankee Candle one since I left a Starbucks in the car and went to the US for two weeks – I learnt that Starbucks cups dissolve eventually the hard way. Mmm, gone off milk and mould smell…

    2) Some cars have this weird locking thing where your steering wheel doesn’t move unless you wiggle it and the key simultaneously, a lot. I don’t actually know what it is and I’m sure it’s some sort of security feature, but it happened to me the first week of getting my car when I was parked in a petrol station and I had to ring my old driving instructor in a panic for help as I thought I’d broken my brand new car. He wasn’t impressed.

    3) You will scratch your car, and you may want to cry. Car repairs are super expensive. I have a very tight alley with a brick wall getting down to the parking at the back of my flat, which within about a month of me getting my car gained an awful coating of black paint. I was a cheap skate and got a scratch repair kit from Halfords in the right colour and it saved me a lot of wincing (though I don’t think taking off the side of your car counts as a scratch…) – it’s not perfect, but it is future me’s problem now.

    4) On the above, a Ford Fiesta in Panther Black is a lovely blank twinkly shade, however you will never find a nail polish in the right colour for touch ups. (I thought enamel paint would basically be the same thing…it is not.)

    5) You will master reverse parking after being worried about it forever, get cocky, and reverse into a pole. A very large, obvious pole.

    6) Cars get messy. Very very messy. Oh my gosh, so messy. Driving on the motorway will make you realise just how dirty the planet is. Get your car washed occasionally (I go to Clean Getaway in Southampton). Then don’t drive on the motorway for a bit, so you actually have a clean car for a day or so.

    7) Always check your screen wash before long journeys and carry de-icer. You will burn through screen wash like it is gold dust. Also invest in a funnel to pour it in, or things will get very wet and chemical smelling very quickly. On the de-icer point – nothing is worse than trying to de-ice your car in a hurry with a scraper. Your fingers will freeze.

    8) Always check your tyres. I had a pretty scary situation when I had to drive to Nottingham (4 hours away) and my tyre light came on half way through. I’d got my dad to check them before I left as I am neurotic so I knew it couldn’t be too bad, but when the light came on I almost had a panic attack. I was sure I was going to be stranded on the road with a flat tyre, or worse – my tyre would burst when I was going 70 on the motorway and I’d go down in a fireball. (You can get your tyres checked most places – if you’re in Southampton you could try Point-S.)

    9) On the above – turns out, air is not always free and the one time you do need it will be the one time the garage is charging £2 and you have no change. Carry a tyre pump in the boot.

    10) Finally, sand is a nightmare. Beach trips and new cars do not go well together. Touchy subject.

    What else can you think of? I'd love to hear if you've experience the same as me! Tweet me!