Whether you are getting your first car or have been driving for years, there are some basic skills you need to learn. These are vital to safety on the road and can help you stay focused and confident behind the wheel.
Start your lessons by working on simple maneuvers in a quiet residential street or parking lot. As your student gets more comfortable, move to a wider variety of roads.
1. Focus on the road
As a driver, your job is to remain focused on the road and avoid distractions that could lead to an accident. One small mistake could cause devastating consequences for you, your passengers and the other drivers on the road.
Distracted driving is a serious problem in the U.S., with nearly half of all car accidents involving distracted driving (Traffic Injury Research Foundation, 2019). This is especially true for young adult and teen drivers.
While the majority of distracted driving is caused by mobile phones and texting, any activity that diverts your attention from the road can be dangerous for you and others on the road. Taking care to eliminate distractions before getting behind the wheel will ensure that you focus on the road and stay safe.
It’s also important to make sure that everyone in your vehicle is aware of your commitment to focused driving. Tell your passengers that you want them to help you keep your focus on the road, and ask them not to distract you with phone calls or conversation while you’re driving.
Another way to help you stay focused on the road is to stop for a break at least every two hours. This is especially important on long trips or commutes, where you may be prone to daydreaming or losing focus.
If you’re feeling drowsy or tired on the road, pull over and take a quick nap before continuing your journey. This will give you a brief boost in alertness and help you return to focus on the road.
There are a number of other ways to focus on the road while you’re learning to drive. Following these tips will help you become a better and more skilled driver in no time!
2. Listen to your instructor
It can be nerve-wracking to drive for the first time, but you can take some comfort in knowing that a good instructor will help you through the process. This person will be there to teach you everything you need to know about driving and ensure that you are prepared for your test.
The best way to get the most out of your lessons is to listen to your instructor carefully. This will allow you to build up a rapport with your driver and will help you become a better driver in the future.
You can also ask your instructor questions about anything you don’t understand. This will allow you to learn more and improve your skills quickly.
A good instructor will take the time to explain any instructions they give their students. They will also provide plenty of encouragement and praise, which can help you feel more confident and make it easier to pass your driving test.
This is especially important if you are a nervous driver. Learning to drive can be a stressful experience, but it is essential to keep your nerves at bay as much as possible so you can focus on the road ahead and avoid any mistakes.
Another thing to remember is to be patient. It is easy to rush through a task and do it incorrectly, so it is crucial that you are patient and allow yourself enough time to practice each element before you try it for the first time on your driving test.
This will also allow you to work on your mistakes and fix them as soon as possible, which will help you be a better driver. It is also a good idea to do a mock driving test with your instructor to ensure that you are ready for the real thing.
3. Be patient
Being impatient behind the wheel can cause accidents and lead to a bad driving experience. Practicing patience while on the road can make you more alert and aware of your surroundings.
You should always be ready for the unexpected by making a plan ahead of time to move your car in a safe and predictable way. This may include changing lanes and giving other drivers enough room to maneuver around you when necessary.
When you are in the car, be sure to use your mirrors and check your speedometer regularly so you can make adjustments if necessary. Also, keep a good distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you to avoid being involved in a collision.
Another thing to be patient about is traffic signs and signals. They can be confusing at times, so make an effort to memorize them.
Be extra cautious at intersections, especially with red lights and stop signs. Watch out for other drivers who might run their lights or stop signs without stopping, and stay alert for pedestrians who cross the street in front of you.
It’s also a good idea to be familiar with the road conditions in your area, particularly bad weather or construction. These can cause cars to swerve in and out of their lane or slow down unnecessarily.
It is a good idea to practice patience while on the road, even when you are in a hurry or have a busy schedule. Taking the time to be patient will ensure you and your passengers arrive safely at your destination. You may want to consider practicing mindfulness techniques like breathing deeply or letting go of tension in your body.
4. Be aware of your surroundings
A lot can happen in a split second, and you need to be aware of what is happening around you. This includes checking your mirrors frequently and scanning conditions 20 to 30 seconds ahead of you.
Staying alert behind the wheel can be hard, especially when you’re feeling tired or distracted. Try to avoid drowsiness while driving and try to sleep before a long journey.
Another way to be more alert is to exercise regularly, especially before a drive. This can help to improve circulation and make you more alert by lowering your levels of stress hormones.
Being aware of your surroundings is an important part of being a good driver, and it’s a skill that can save your life on the road. Always take into account the size of your vehicle, its blind spots, and what other vehicles will be doing around you.
One of the most common causes of accidents is tailgating, or following other cars too closely. This can be a dangerous and frustrating situation, but it’s one that you must know to avoid.
This can be avoided by keeping a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you and changing lanes to let them pass. It also helps to be aware of what other drivers are doing, like speeding and braking, so you can adjust accordingly.
Likewise, be vigilant when it comes to emergency vehicles. When you see sirens, slow down and give them room to maneuver. This will allow you to keep your focus on the road and your driving instead of worrying about them.
Distracted driving is a major contributor to vehicle collisions, so it’s important to eliminate distractions before you get behind the wheel. Talking on the phone, texting, or engaging in other handheld device activity is a serious offense.
5. Stay alert
Staying alert on the road is essential for good driving skills. It will help you recognize dangerous situations, respond in time and avoid accidents. This is especially important on highways at night, when drowsy driving can be deadly.
There are many ways to keep yourself alert while driving. For example, you can listen to music or radio shows, drink caffeine and have small healthy snacks.
You can also do a little exercise to get the blood flowing, which will improve your alertness. If you notice you are tired, take a break and rest for 20 minutes.
Another way to keep yourself alert is to hydrate properly before and during your drive. It’s also a good idea to have a healthy meal beforehand, as this will provide your body with the nutrients it needs.
Try to eat foods that will give you the energy your body needs, such as complex carbohydrates and protein. Lean protein, such as turkey and chicken, can be particularly energizing, so try to include these foods in your meals while on the road.
It is also a good idea to keep your eyes peeled for other potential dangers on the road. Pedestrians, cyclists, animals running on the road and unexpected potholes or puddles can all pose potential hazards to drivers.
Keeping your eyes peeled for these dangers can be difficult at times, but it is crucial to remain vigilant while on the road. If you’re drowsy or tired, it is better to pull over than risk driving and being injured or killed in an accident.