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Tips for New Drivers: How to Safely Get From Point A to Point B

When you get your new driver's license, it is an exciting time. You likely have been looking forward to this milestone in your life for awhile now. Armed with your new license, you get into your car for your first solo trip. And then you realize that being alone in your car can be a little disconcerting. There are a few tips for new drivers to help you overcome the stress that comes with driving on your own the first few times.

Road Readiness

Before you drive your first solo mile, here are some things to keep in mind:

Take a deep breath

Nervousness is perfectly natural, and is likely a good sign that you take your new responsibility seriously. A moment of breathing deeply can steady that little case of nerves.

Drive a familiar route

Until you become more comfortable behind the wheel, it is best to travel in familiar areas. That way, you can concentrate on improving your driving skill without worrying about getting lost.

Adjust all appropriate settings

Adjust mirrors, headrests, and seat position to make yourself comfortable and ensure a clear line of vision before you pull out of the driveway.

Turn off the cell phone

Minimize distraction by turning off mobile devices. Avoid the temptation of a ringing phone by setting it to vibrate or turning it off altogether. Remember the dangers of mobile device use and driving.

Drive Defensively

  • Remember the road rules you have learned, and apply them consistently. For instance, when turning, ensure that you signal your intent to other drivers well ahead of time.
  • Make it a habit to scan the road for obstructions or accidents waiting to happen, and avoid them.
  • Steer clear of other drivers who exhibit uncontrolled or dangerous behavior. If a driver around you exhibits signs of road rage, or drives in an erratic way, allow more than the usual amount of space between your car and his/hers.
  • Even if you have the right-of-way, yield to another driver if that driver is aggressive. Stay away from trouble.
  • Allow a reasonable amount of time for your trip. This helps you avoid the temptation to disregard speed limit laws.
  • Remember that it is not your job to teach other drivers the traffic laws. Resist the urge to prove a point on the road. Leave law enforcement to the professionals.
  • If you see an unsafe motorist that is endangering others around him, pull off the road and report it to the proper authorities.
  • If you are angry or upset, wait until you cool down before you drive. Road rage is often a result of things that start at home and spill over into a drive.
  • Pay close attention to the task at hand. Keep your hands on the wheel, and your head in the game.
  • Drive at a safe following distance. Tailgating is a practice that is both irritating and dangerous for everyone on the road. Do not do it.
  • Understand that you cannot control traffic. The good news is that you can control your reaction to it.

Avoid Problematic Passing

  • As a general rule of thumb, pass at least ten miles per hour faster than the car you are going around, but do not exceed the speed limit.
  • Before pulling back into your lane, be sure you have completely cleared the passed car with enough space for safety.
  • Never pass a car that is going the recommended speed limit.
  • Never pass in a no-passing zone.
  • Never pass if you cannot clearly see a good distance down the road.
  • If passing a vehicle serves no useful purpose, be content to drive with the traffic pattern.

There are many other tips that will help you ease into driving like a pro. Mainly, good driving consists of being aware of both the traffic laws and the drivers around you. Concentrating on driving safely while maintaining a courteous and polite attitude toward fellow drivers will ensure your safety and the safety of others around you. Enjoy the freedom of having your license, but remember the responsibility that goes with it.

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