New Driver Tips
Congratulations! You’re a licensed driver. Whether you are a teen or middle-aged, a new driver is someone with limited driving experience. Make no mistake. Just because you have a driver’s license, you still have a lot to learn.
The more professional training you can get, the better. Many community colleges and vocational schools offer driver education and safety classes for free or at a very affordable price. You’re probably asking yourself, why do I need more training? More training makes you a better driver, keeps you and your passengers and other drivers on the road safer.
How Well do you Know Your Car?
One of the most important things every new driver needs to know is where everything on the car is located. Not just the ignition and the radio dial, it’s important to understand where and how to operate every button, dial, and whatchamacallit in your car.
Let’s look at some examples, you’re driving along, go around a curve, and about 100 feet ahead is a disabled car in the road. Do you know where your four-way flashers are and how to turn them on, so the car behind you is aware you are slowing down or stopping? If you don’t want to get rear-ended, you need to know. How about your windshield wipers? What if and it is possible the entire time you were learning to drive, it never rained? Do you know where and how to operate your wipers? If it is downpouring and the slow speed isn’t doing it, you don’t need to be fiddling with the wiper switch. What if you turn them off completely and you can’t see anything? The point being you still have a lot to learn to be a safe and responsible driver.
You’re probably overjoyed with your newfound freedom, and that’s great but make sure you remember distractions are everywhere. There are a few things you should never do while driving, including the following.
- Don’t talk on your phone or text. If you need to make a call or send/read a text, pull off the road in a rest stop or parking lot. Most states have a no mobile phone use law that comes with hefty fines, and being a new inexperienced driver, you could lose your license quicker than it took to get it.
- Don’t mess with the radio if you don’t like the song, and you must remove your hands from the steering wheel (option not on the steering column) to change the station either listen to the music or turn the radio off.
- While listening to the radio is enjoyable while driving, it can also be a hazard if it is too loud. You will not be able to hear sirens. Keep the music low.
- If you have a passenger riding with you, do not attempt to show off by driving recklessly or paying more attention to the passenger than the road.
Don’t Engage in Road Rage
Driving can be as frustrating as it is enjoyable. You do not want to do the one thing, whether you are a new driver or have been driving for sixty years, is engaged in road rage.
- The horn is not your anger blaster! There are very few reasons you should use your horn. If you have been sitting behind someone who is not paying attention to the traffic light a few minutes pass, you can give one little beep to get their attention. If you are driving and someone is back out of a parking spot, and they do not see you again, a beep to let them know you’re there is acceptable.
- If someone is tailgating you, do not slam on your brakes, there is a good possibility they will end up in your back seat.
- Do not make rude or crude gestures at other drivers, do not yell or cuss at them out your window, do not try to run them off the road. No matter how bad of a day you had, you do not have the right to take it out on other drivers, and if you do and are aware of it, you should enroll in anger management classes.
You may feel that waving your arms frantically at someone who pulled out in front of you is an acceptable thing to do. Think before you act! People are capable of a lot more than you may realize. Do not engage in road rage!
Follow the Rules of the Road
This would seem like a no-brainer, but you might be surprised to know it needs to be said.
- Don’t roll through stop signs.
- A yellow light does not mean speed up and blow through it. There may be another car waiting for the light to turn green, which guns it just as you blow through it. That is a recipe for disaster because it is likely neither one of you will make it through that light.
- There is a speed limit for a reason. You can’t decide what speed you want to go and make your own speed limit. Follow the speed limit. If you are running late, use that as a reminder that you may want to leave a little earlier next time. Being late is better than not getting to your destination at all.
Driving in Inclement Weather
As a new inexperienced driver, when the weather is terrible, you need to be extra cautious. There are all sorts of types of inclement weather conditions that could cause a problem.
- Snow is the most common in most states. The first few or even several times you drive in snow can be unnerving. Drive snow but keep up with traffic, don’t hit the brake glide to a safe side if possible.
- Ice and freezing rain is another common type of weather many people have to drive in, go slow, keep your distance a least a few car lengths from the car in front of you, take corners at a crawl, try to avoid going up or down hills if possible.
- In warm weather states such as California, rain is often a problem. The roads become covered with oil and other sleek substances, and when it rains, it loosens those substances and makes the roads slick to drive on.
If you get behind the wheel as a new driver and follow the rules of the rule, avoid road rage situations, plan to get yourself and passengers to your destination safely instead of showing off, you’ll be fine, and driving like a seasoned driver in no time.