Hit the road Jack

First time drivers

Learning how to drive can be a daunting task, particularly if you live in an urban or busy area. A lot of drivers seem to immediately lose their patience when they see an L plate,

Still, that hasn’t stopped Ireland’s youths from taking the first steps towards freedom. Carzone has released its motoring report for 2016, which shows that 20 per cent of Irish motorists first sat behind the wheel at the age of 17, with 41 per cent learning how to drive between the ages of 17 and 20. Practice meant perfect for more than half of those who took part in the research, who passed their test the first time round.

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Finding the perfect new car

car-shoppping

I recently got the itch to swap my car for a newer model, and as a result spent several Saturdays travelling from one dealer to another around Dublin, hoping to find the perfect combination of condition, mileage, style and price – no easy task. There are a few tips and tricks you can employ, however, to make the search for your new car a little easier.

Dealer or private?

The age-old question – do you buy private or trek along the forecourts? It’s definitely a tricky one. Dealer cars are generally more expensive but usually come with a warranty and hopefully a service, and you can rely on your consumer rights should you realise they’ve sold you a lemon. However, just because it’s a dealership doesn’t mean they’re reliable. Always do your research beforehand – search forums like Boards.ie for other peoples’ experiences.

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The fun of winter driving

76192_carzone-winter

Although Ireland’s winters are far milder than, say, Alaska, driving in icy and slushy conditions is no fun, and often quite dangerous. And, because we don’t spend too long each year in these sketchy conditions, many Irish drivers are not really sure how to prepare for a potentially treacherous stretch of road, or what to do if you find yourself spinning out of control.

That’s why Carzone (plug alert) has devised a winter driving guide full of tips, which we have amended slightly, to survive the snow, ice and rain. Of course the best way to survive would be to park up your car and take the bus, but where’s the fun in that?

Snow and ice

Pack a bag of supplies and leave it in your boot. That should include (deep breath) food, water, a set of warm clothing, a blanket, torch, first aid kit, fully charged phone (or one of those portable battery chargers), jump leads, a shovel, ice scraper, de-icing fluid and some sand or grit to give your tyres some traction if they get bogged down.

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