Becoming a new driver is an exciting time that gives you an unparalleled sense of freedom. Although this is a huge step towards independence, it also means understanding the responsibility that goes along with driving.
Each year in the US, there are more than 6 million car accidents. To avoid factoring into this number, you should learn about some important driving tips for new drivers.
Keep reading for a list of 7 tips for new drivers.
1. Ensure That All Passengers Are Wearing Their Seatbelts
The most obvious safety tip is also the most important. You, and anyone else in the vehicle, should make an effort to always be wearing your seatbelts.
Experts have proven time and time again that wearing a seatbelt is the best way to stay safe in a car. In the event of a crash, your vehicle stops moving suddenly. But due to inertia, the sudden stop can propel your body out of your seat and through the windshield. Wearing a seat belt stops that from happening.
For the driver and anyone in the passenger seat, not wearing a seatbelt is not only dangerous, it’s also illegal. Not wearing one opens you up to the possibility of getting pulled over and having to pay expensive tickets.
Young passengers in the back seat often don’t wear seatbelts as many state laws don’t require you to. Yet while the law may allow it, a car crash doesn’t discriminate against who it may affect.
2. Avoid Distractions
Today, we are bombarded by constant texts, emails, and social media updates. When driving, make an effort to ignore these.
Studies have proven that driving while using your cellphone can be as dangerous as driving while drunk. Put your phone out of reach in a place such as the glove compartment, or turn it off altogether to avoid temptation.
If you need to check your phone or respond to a phone call, pull over to the side of the road to do so. Many highways offer cell phone sections and rest stops, allowing you to use your phone safely while not endangering yourself or others.
3. Make Sure Your Mirrors Are in Their Proper Positions
If you’re driving someone else’s car, or if someone else has recently driven yours, the first thing you need to do when you sit down is to make sure you can see out of all the mirrors.
Adjust the back mirror so that you can see the entire back window, and try to move your side-view mirrors into a position that eliminates any blind spots. Blind spots are parts of the road that are obscured from your view. They may hide cars or other objects.
You should adjust your mirrors before you begin driving, not during. Make sure you’re not slouched over; you should be sitting it your usual driving position to ensure you’ll see them later on.
Messages from your car can also distract you. Make sure you’ve given your car the maintenance it needs to run. Check out this guide to find out how to know when you need transmission fluid.
4. Look Over Your Shoulder Whenever You Merge
Even after you adjust your mirrors and make sure they’re in the ideal positions, you should always look over your shoulder when switching lanes.
Whether you’re going 75 mph on the highway or 35 mph in a town, you can never be certain that there isn’t another car in one of your blind spots. Checking over your shoulder eliminates any chance of there being an object you miss.
Make sure that you’re in a safe position and aren’t surrounded by close vehicles, and quickly peek over your shoulder. If the coast is clear, you can merge.
Glancing over your shoulder each time may seem unnecessary at first. Eventually, it’ll become second-nature!
5. Keep Your Hands on the Wheel
This is another basic driving tip for new drivers that seems obvious. Yet many people, new and experienced, struggle with it.
Before you begin driving, ensure that everything is set up. Set the radio to play the station you like. If you’re using a navigation system, make sure you’ve inputted the destination before you leave. You shouldn’t have to take your hands off the wheel for any reason.
Sometimes, you’ll also be driving through powerful wind gusts or storms. Keeping both your hands on the steering wheel minimizes the chance that you’ll lose control of your car.
6. Ice and Snow? Take It Slow
Driving slower than you many feel necessary is always a good idea. In times of extreme weather, this is a non-negotiable.
Winter-related accidents are some of the most common. It’s easy to think that a road feels safe, then hit a patch of black ice and slide off. Rain can also lead to accidents. If the road looks slick or covered with water, take it slow.
If you do feel yourself beginning to lost control, it’s important to stay calm and not slam on the brakes. Try and keep the wheel steady, and when safe, slowly break.
7. Let Go of Any Feelings of Road Rage
If you’re a person that allows little things to bother them, it’s time to let that go. Driving a car requires you to keep a level head at all times.
There’ll be times when you’re driving when you’re unsure as to why someone would do such a seemingly stupid thing. There’ll be times where another driver makes you angry, and where you may want to do something to get them back. Don’t.
These sorts of escalations lead to accidents. When driving, strive to be a defensive driver as opposed to an offensive driver.
Stay Safe With These Tips for New Drivers
Driving a car is an exciting time, but many new drivers fall into the trap of driving recklessly and without caution. By following these tips for new drivers, you’ll be able to enjoy your new-found freedom, while also staying safe.
Do you have any other safety tips for new drivers? Let us know in a comment down below!
If you enjoyed reading this article, don’t forget to check out some of our other blog posts for more guides and tips.