Driving safety is essential for any driver, but especially new ones. As you’re getting used to the rules of the road, there’s more to keep in mind than just what you learned for your driving exam.
Statistics show that new drivers between the ages of 16-19 are the most likely to get into accidents. It’s imperative that new drivers are also the most cautious and are taking the necessary steps to stay safe behind the wheel of a vehicle.
Take a look at these 9 handy driving tips for new drivers to help yourself feel safer and more comfortable behind the wheel.
1. Understand and Listen to Road Signs
While you may have learned about road signs during your driving course, it’s one of the most important driving tips for beginners. You must completely understand them before getting on the road.
Road signs tell you and other drivers what to do on the road, and if you’re not following the road signs, you can put yourself and others in danger.
Speed limits, Yield Signs, and especially pedestrian crossing signs are some important ones, but brush up on all of them. You never know when you’ll see one you need to oblige.
2. Keep Up Your Car’s Maintenance
Even the safest driver can’t control a broken car. If your car has battery issues, transmission problems, broken tail, or headlights, then you should have them fixed ASAP.
A car not functioning at the highest level is dangerous on the road and more likely to get in a car crash.
3. Remove Distractions
When you first begin driving, there can be a lot of distractions inside your car. Of course, you should already know to stay away from your cell phone, but there are plenty of other distractions.
Whether it’s friends in the car, your radio, or trying to fix your makeup or hair, you have to remove distractions that can keep you from driving your best.
Even small things such as little car accessories, food, and drinks can be big distractions at the wrong moment. It only takes a second of you looking away from the road for something to happen.
4. Keep a Safe Distance
Even if you might get impatient with slow drivers, don’t get too close! In an accident, if you rear-end someone, you’re usually the one at fault, even if the other car slams on their brakes.
It’s a good habit to get into staying a good distance away. One way to test this is by counting the number of seconds it takes you to reach where the car in front of you is. 3-6 seconds is the recommended amount of space to allow you to use defensive driving to react quickly in case of an accident.
5. Pay Attention to Your Blind Spot
Many new drivers often forget about their blind spot when changing lanes. But make sure that you get in the habit of not only checking your mirrors but your blind spots as well.
This will help avoid accidents. Whether you’re merging lanes, changing lanes, or backing up, always check the blind spot with your mirror to ensure you see all the cars around you.
6. Know Your Route and Destination
Knowing where you’re going and how to get there makes a world of difference when trying to stay safe on the road. Drivers who don’t know where they’re going are more likely to make mistakes and radical moves.
Don’t be that person crossing 3 lanes of traffic to get to your exit 200 feet away. Know where you need to be ahead of time, so there are no surprises, and you can make each turn confidently.
If you’re unfamiliar with the route you’re taking, look it up beforehand, so you’re not tempted to pull out your phone to look up a map.
The more you drive, the better you’ll get. Driving may come naturally to some, but others may take a grace period to get used to the road.
Practice on your regular routes, such as from school to home or home to work. Then, throw in some new, simple routes that can help you practice on different roads. You should be able to drive on unfamiliar ones just as well as ones you know, like the back of your hand.
You should also practice in different conditions. You wouldn’t want the first time you’re driving at night to be because you forgot it was getting dark. Practice in the dark, with the sun in your eyes, and even in bad weather, so you understand how to stay safe, even when conditions aren’t ideal.
8. Use Extra Caution In Different Weather Conditions
Driving in inclement weather can be scary, even for experienced drivers. Stay calm and use extra caution if you find yourself in bad weather. If you feel safer pulling over and waiting for it to pass, this can also be an option.
During rainy weather, you have to be careful of new potential problems like hydroplaning and distracting wipers. Windy weather can pull your car from side to side, making it difficult to keep control, while snowy weather is harder on the tires and treads of your car.
Whatever weather you come in contact with, apply these other driving tips and use extreme caution.
9. Be Patient
Don’t rush. Even if you’re late or have somewhere you need to be, don’t rush. When people are rushing (and usually speeding), accidents can happen.
Your mind may be on a thing you have to get done or an appointment you’re going to miss, but don’t let this distract you. You might even find yourself thinking about how late you are or all the things you need to do, but a clouded or irritated mind can be just as dangerous as one on the phone.
Use These Driving Safety Tips
Understanding proper driving safety is essential for the well-being of yourself and others on the road with you. These new driver safety tips should give you a helping hand to do that.
Pay attention to your surroundings and stay alert. A distracted driver is a dangerous one.
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