Before You Hit the Road: Tips for New Drivers

PHOTO COURTESY: Photo by Cory Bouthillette (Stock Snap)

Before You Hit the Road: Tips for New Drivers

There are few things that compare with the excitement of being a new driver. The privilege of driving is not only a rite of passage, it is one of the first steps toward independence. The first few times behind the wheel can be nerve-wracking, but trust that as with most things, repetition is key. Becoming a driver begets a lot of responsibility on your behalf, so here are a few tips to help you master the road and get by until we’re all using driverless cars.

Limit distractions

As a new driver, one of the first things you may want to do is usher in all your friends and take them for a spin. The relief of no longer having to depend on someone else to get you from here to there is without a doubt empowering. However, distractions are the number one leading cause of car accidents, and they have been for quite some time. When you’re in the beginning stages of driving, you need to give yourself time to become acclimated with your new responsibility. Conversations with a car full of friends can deter you from focusing on the road and the other drivers around you.

Phones are also a huge distraction on the road and the use of a cellphone while driving is an absolute no-no. Absolutely no texting while driving, because taking your eyes off of the road for even a split second can cause a fatality. As you become a seasoned driver, you can consider the hands-free amenities available in most cars, however keep in mind that hands-free is not risk-free. Phone calls while driving still prove to be a distraction that could indeed cause an accident.

Always pay attention to your surroundings

A lot of new drivers make the mistake of always trusting the stoplight. The purpose of traffic lights is to facilitate the safe movement of cars in order to avoid collisions. Unfortunately, not all drivers adhere to this safety precaution for various reasons. According to American Traffic Solutions, 2 people died each day in red-light running crashes in 2011. Fortunately this is completely preventable by practicing caution while at a stoplight. When the light turns green, wait three seconds, and look in all directions before proceeding forward. Implementing this one factor during your commute can save the life of you and those around you.

It is also wise to pay attention to landmarks and mile-marker signs when you are driving as well. In light of being spoiled by modern-day technology such as GPS, many divers are becoming too lax, often not paying attention to what is around them. GPS is not always accurate, so it’s imperative for you to know where are you going in the event your GPS fails.

Practice makes perfect

The only way to improve your skills as a motorist is to get behind the wheel and drive. As with most things, the more frequent you drive, the more comfortable you will become. However as your driving improves, it is important to not scale back from being precautious. Always wear your seatbelt and drive with your seat in an upright position. When you do drive with passengers, insist that they wear their seatbelt as well, and keep conversation to a minimum. If you opt to listen to the radio, be sure to keep the volume at a non-distracting level. As a driver be sure you are fully focused on the road and alert.

Driving is a privilege, it is not a right. Obtaining your driver’s license was granted due to your ability to drive safely, anything that proves to be opposite of that can result in this allowance to be taken away. Honor your privilege to drive by being a smart and aware motorist. Obey the laws of the road, and enjoy your new independence!


Article by Jennifer McGregor

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