Driving can be a nerve-wracking for novice drivers. But by understanding the top tips for new drivers, you can improve your driving and become more at ease behind the wheel.
Many experienced drivers will tell you that they’ve all been in your spot before. They were also once scared of driving in busy streets.
Some have also experienced stalling and causing a long line of traffic because they could not get their vehicles re-started.
But eventually, they were able to become better at driving.
How can you be like them? Follow these tips and you’ll be on your way to becoming a better driver:
1. Improve your self confidence
Improve your self confidence
One of the keys to becoming a better driver is improving your self-confidence. Simply put it, if you aren’t confident in your driving skills, then you won’t muster the courage to go out there and drive.
Overcoming driving anxiety is not as easy as it sounds, though. In one survey of 2,000 drivers sponsored by a UK-based insurance firm, it was found that the average motorist takes about 3 years to feel confident about his/her driving skills.
So how do you improve your confidence and in the process become a better driver? Here are some tips to remember:
- Practice, practice and practice. There’s no shortcut to being a good driver. If you want to become a good one, you simply have to spend more time driving.
- Drive with another driver. Bring along your father, friend, or colleague while practicing. A companion will not only be there to calm your nerves but also give you sound driving advice.
- Drive around a parking lot. Practice in a big parking lot. This way, you can learn how to maneuver your vehicle without worrying about hitting anything.
- Work your way up to busy streets and roads. Once you have mustered enough confidence after driving around parking lots, start to venture onto busy streets and roads.
- Practice driving in all kinds of terrains. Drive over all types of roads, from back roads, dirt roads and highways.
- Drive in all kinds of weather. Be prepared to drive your vehicle in all kinds of weather, from light to heavy rains.
But you shouldn’t be overconfident to the point of being cocky. Being too confident when behind the wheel can also be dangerous, as proven by a Norwich Union Insurance Crash Index stating that 75% of confident drivers tend to be involved in accidents.
2. Avoid distractions while driving
Avoid distractions while driving
The term distracted driving is any form or type of activity that causes the driver to lose focus on driving. Some of these activities are texting, talking to people in the vehicle, eating, drinking, and fiddling with the vehicle’s navigation system.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that more than 3,000 people were killed in 2015 because the driver was distracted while driving.
In order to avoid distractions while driving, keep in mind the following tips:
- Keep your phone away. According to the NHTSA, the most dangerous distraction while driving is texting. It can be very tempting to read a text or answer a call. The best way to avoid getting distracted is to simply keep your phone away.
- Avoid multitasking. A lot of experienced drivers are guilty of multi-tasking when driving.
In fact, one survey showed than 9 out of 10 parents admit that they multi-task while driving. Aside from texting, they feed their babies, pick up a dropped toy or engage in self-care like grooming.
Multi-tasking may be commonly practiced by many drivers but it’s something you should avoid. Experts have likened multi-tasking to drunken driving.
There are plenty of ways to avoid multitasking while driving. One is to program your GPS route before heading out.
You should also prepare your toll money ready, and keep your beverages in the cup holder.
Simply put, the more you are organized before driving, the less likely you’ll be multi-tasking when behind the wheel.
3. Practice defensive driving
Practice defensive driving
Defensive driving is the style of driving that reduces risks of collisions and accidents. It consists of driving skills and techniques that can shield a motorist against crashes due to various factors (poor weather, drunk drivers, etc.)
Here are some of the habits that you should start developing in order to become a defensive driver:
- Slow down. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that the faster a car travels, the longer it would take to stop and the bigger impact it can make when it collides with another vehicle.
- Keep a steady pace. Avoid speeding up and speeding down. Make your car’s speed predictable so that you won’t be surprising anyone around you.Here’s a video that you can watch to learn how to maintain and safe and consistent speed.
- Maintain a safe distance between your car and the vehicle you are following. Give at least two seconds of lead time.
- Don’t get too emotional. When a vehicle cuts you off, don’t be tempted to chase the car and return the favor, so to speak.
- Be courteous on the road. There are many ways to show courtesy to other motorists and pedestrians.
For one, you should never tailgate as it can increase the risks of collisions. You should also yield to other motorists when you aren’t sure who has the right of way.
And of course, give way to pedestrians at all times.
There’s no short cut to becoming a better driver. You’ll need to gain confidence first by spending more time practicing.
Bring a companion every time you practice. Start practicing in the parking lot before eventually getting to busier roads and highways.
You can also be a better driver by avoiding distractions. Put away your phone while driving and never multi-task while you are behind the wheel.
You should also practice defensive driving. Watch your speed all the time and maintain a safe distance between your car and the vehicle you’re following.
Keep your emotions in check when driving. And be courteous all the time.
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