6 New Driver Tips Nobody Told You
If you're about to take your driver's test (or have already passed), you may feel like you know all there is to know about driving. But your parents or driving instructors may not have told you everything. Before you hit the road, take a minute to look over these essential driving tips that you might not have learned yet:
Adjust Your Mirrors - The Right Way
You probably know already that remembering to adjust your mirrors is crucial. However, you may not be doing it correctly, and you would be surprised to find out how many people do it wrong.
Most people adjust their mirrors so that they can see both the road and some of their car in the reflection, but this is actually the wrong way to do it. To enhance the safety of your driving and reduce blind spots, adjust your mirrors so that you can't see the sides of your car at all - just the road and surrounding objects behind you.
Keep Your Headlights On - Even During Daytime
It may sound strange to keep your headlights on when it isn't dark, but hear us out. Keeping your headlights on all or most of the time may actually make you a safer driver. For one thing, headlights make you more visible to other drivers, especially on overcast days. Drivers are more likely to notice you moving through their blind spots or coming over a hill if your headlights are on.
Besides making you more visible, keeping your headlights on will increase your visibility as well, especially when traveling through tunnels or heavily shaded areas.
Turn Your Music Off (or Down)
While listening to music in your car does make driving a lot more enjoyable, it doesn't make it safer. Studies have shown that drivers who drove without music or radio distractions were much more focused than those who drove with music playing. This is because listening to music in your car is a type of multitasking; if you're focused on singing along to your favorite songs or listening to a funny radio host, you're going to be less focused on driving.
When you first start driving on your own, consider driving without music for a while. If you must have music, keep the volume down and make an extra effort to focus on your surroundings. Also, try to stick to music with slower, more relaxed beats; drivers who listened to songs with faster tempos were more likely to drive recklessly and run red lights.
Never Slam on the Brakes
Slippery conditions and sudden losses of traction (such as a tire blowout) are a couple of the most common causes of accidents. When you find yourself in one of these situations where you need to stop suddenly, your first instinct is probably to slam on the brakes. However, hitting your brakes is one of the worst things you can do.
When you do have to stop quickly, take your foot off the gas pedal and gently tap the brakes, allowing your car to gradually lose speed. Doing this gives you more control over your car, so you can safely steer yourself in a better direction.
Pay Attention to Traffic Signs...But Pay More Attention to Traffic
It's important to watch for and obey traffic signs, but you have to remember that not every driver is paying attention. The first rule of defensive driving is to understand that there are many distracted drivers as well as drivers who just decide to ignore the rules. To keep yourself and your passengers safe, make sure to pay close attention to other drivers as well as road signs.
By regularly scanning your surroundings and observing the behavior of other drivers, you can anticipate potential hazards and react accordingly. For instance, if you see a driver swerving in their lane or not using turn signals, maintain a safe distance and be prepared for unpredictable movements.
Maintain Your Vehicle
Regular maintenance of your vehicle is essential for your safety and the safety of others on the road. Check your tires for proper inflation and tread depth, replace worn wiper blades, and ensure that your brakes, lights, and other essential systems are functioning correctly. A well-maintained vehicle is less likely to experience mechanical failures or contribute to accidents.
By following your vehicle manufacturer's recommended maintenance schedule and addressing any issues promptly, you can prevent breakdowns and minimize the risk of accidents caused by mechanical failure.
When it comes to driving, like most things in life, there is always more to learn. Try putting these tips into practice to become a safer, better, and more informed driver. Remember that ongoing education and practice are key to developing and maintaining good driving habits, so stay proactive and continue refining your skills throughout your driving career.