Although new drivers lack the decades of experience that a veteran driver may hold, there are many things they can do in order to increase their driving skills and keep roads safe for everyone.
If you’re a newer driver and feel a little overwhelmed, take heed: consider these top strategies and tips to keep in mind every time you’re behind the wheel.
Know Your Car Inside and Out
Before you can become a safe, skilled driver, you first need to become fully acquainted with your vehicle.
Spend some time becoming familiar with your car and the way it feels when you’re in the driver’s seat.
Get behind the wheel and turn it on. Adjust your seat according to your comfort. Learn what each button and switch does and practice turning it off and on while driving – that way, you’ll be able to turn on your wipers or high beams in a hurry, without becoming distracted from your primary task – driving safely.
Practice, Practice, Practice!
When it comes to driving, the old adage rings true – practice really does make perfect!
Whether you choose to take a refresher course with your local driving school, practice driving on your own, or with a veteran dispensing wisdom in the passenger seat, it’s important to exercise your driving skills with plenty of practice time.
What’s more, rather than sticking to your usual route, you should also practice driving in various conditions – on busy roads, highways, and at night. Practice driving in bad weather as well, so that you’re prepared if you get caught behind the wheel in a downpour or sudden snowstorm. Driving on tricky roads and in bad weather on your own terms will help boost your comfort and confidence when you encounter less-than-ideal driving conditions down the road.
Always Check Your Blind Spot
If you’re not checking your blind spot regularly, you’re leaving yourself – and everyone around you – in a vulnerable spot.
While you can see what’s directly behind you in your mirrors, you can’t see anything just outside of your peripheral vision – along each side of your car, to the back left and back right of your vehicle.
It’s possible for entire cars to disappear within your blind spot, and if you don’t check these regularly, you risk colliding with a vehicle that’s lurking unnoticed. Use our complete guide to learn more about your blind spot, find out how to check it properly, learn how to adjust your mirrors, and more.
Being a good driver means being a defensive driver.
It’s not enough to simply obey the rules of the road – the best and safest drivers are those that drive defensively, every time they’re behind the wheel.
Paying attention to your surroundings, adapting to road conditions, following the two second rule, and yielding when necessary, are all important defensive driving strategies that can help you take a proactive approach to road safety.
No matter how long it’s been since you passed your driver’s exam, there’s never a wrong time to brush up on your defensive driving skills, or even take a driving course to refresh your memory and expand your skills.
Besides knowing your vehicle and practising defensive driving, there’s another important component to becoming a skilled driver – confidence!
It’s normal to be nervous when you get behind the wheel. In fact, a little bit of nerves can be a good thing, and help you stay vigilante and safe on the road. Too many nerves, however, can do quite the opposite – driving while stressed out or tense can decrease your reaction time and may hinder your ability to focus on the road.
Remember: confidence is key, so breathe deeply, follow the safe driving tactics you’ve learned, and try to enjoy yourself!
Learn Basic Mechanics
While you certainly don’t need to become an automotive genius, learning basic auto mechanics will do wonders in boosting your confidence and preparing you for any number of inevitable repairs you will have to make.
From learning how to pop your hood, to replacing a flat tire, changing your oil, and everything in between, use our extensive how-to guides to familiarize yourself with basic car repairs, so you’re ready for anything:
- Your Basic At-Home Tire Repair Kit
- Headlight Bulb Repair & Maintenance Tips
- Tips for Changing Your Oil for the First Time
- Common Dashboard Warning Lights Explained
- When to Check Your Car Brakes
- 5 Signs You Need to Replace Your Tires
- How to Replace Your Serpentine Belt
- 5 Winter Car Problems & How to Solve Them