Did you know that car accidents rank as the top reason for fatalities among teenagers? They also account for over half of fatalities among people aged 15 to 44.
From handling tricky left-hand turns to dealing with tailgaters, new drivers face challenges that they’ll overcome best with proper training and experience. They’re also facing many distractions on the road.
You can’t control what other drivers do on the roads. However, you can take steps as a new driver to learn to drive defensively, become more confident, and react more quickly to hazards.
Read on for eight car driving tips for beginners so that you can get a safe start on the road.
1. Get Rid of Distractions
The easiest way to get in a car accident and experience a personal injury is to get distracted. From eating a sandwich and drinking coffee to texting your friend or adjusting the stereo, it can be easy to take your eyes off the road and get in an accident.
When you’re driving, avoid messing with your gadgets, dealing with distracting passengers, or eating. Instead, keep your eyes on the road. You can always do other things when you’re stopped at a light or reach your destination.
2. Know How to Adjust Your Vehicle
To get the best view and drive comfortably and safely, you’ll likely need to make some adjustments to your seat and mirrors.
You’ll want to adjust your seat so that you can sit up straight, see all around you, and easily reach the pedals. If you’re short, raise the seat to an appropriate height.
You’ll want to set your side mirrors so you can see a bit of the side of your car and more of what is on both sides of you. Your rearview mirror should give you a clear view out the back window of your car and not be too high or low.
3. Don’t Forget Your Turn Signal
Using your turn signal whenever you need to change lanes or make a turn is one of the best car driving tips to let other drivers know your actions.
This will help reduce the chance of getting rear-ended when turning off a side street. It will also make merging easier since other drivers will see you need to change lanes.
4. Avoid Driving Too Closely Around Other Cars
Along with controlling your speed, learning to keep a proper distance is another challenge for new drivers.
Following too closely will make it harder to stop in time if the driver in front of you makes a sudden move or stop. So, try to maintain around two or three seconds of trailing distance between you and the car in front of you.
At the same time, try to stay in the middle of the lane to minimize sideswiping a vehicle or crossing the lane into oncoming traffic.
5. Stick to the Speed Limit
You’ll very likely encounter drivers who tailgate you and try to push you to speed up. However, stay calm and stick to the speed limit.
Not only can driving too fast make it harder to control the car and react to what’s around you, but it can also lead to costly fines. At the same time, know that certain conditions like snow and heavy rain warrant driving below the speed limit to stay safe.
6. Avoid Driving Under the Influence
As a new driver, you might think it’s fine to drive after one beer. After all, your blood alcohol concentration might still be within the allowed limit in your state.
However, having any alcohol in your system can impact your driving as a beginner and put you and others at risk. There’s also the chance you might miscalculate your level of sobriety.
This car driving tip goes for other substances like marijuana as well. Avoid any substance that could impair your driving skills.
7. Approach Intersections Carefully
Handling busy intersections can present a challenge for even experienced drivers. And when you’re just starting out, it can seem overwhelming and lead to dangerous mistakes.
To stay safe, approach intersections with care, slow down, and look carefully for any hazards. Be prepared that others may not stop at a red light and that other drivers may not give you the right of way. Even if the light is green, there could still be pedestrians or other drivers in the intersection illegally.
Also, take caution when the light is changing from green to yellow. You might feel tempted to speed through the intersection to make the light, but this can cause you to overlook hazards and lead to a serious accident.
8. Keep Your Cool on the Road
Even if you’re the most careful driver, you’ll unfortunately still encounter other drivers who are in a hurry or a bad mood. They might try to tailgate you, blow at you for no reason, or even try to threaten you with dangerous driving moves.
When this happens, it’s normal to get upset and want to react with anger. But to stay safe on the road, you need to stay calm, ignore their misbehavior, and continue to drive safely. While you might have made some driving mistake to anger the other person, it could also be something not personal at all.
Avoid the temptation to drive faster, respond out of anger, or further agitate the other driver. Doing so can put you at risk for an accident, parking ticket, or stressful encounter.
Try to find a safe place to turn into if necessary. If you feel you’re in danger, you can also pull over and call the cops with the license plate number and description of the vehicle.
Use These Car Driving Tips for Beginners
You may not become an expert driver overnight, but you can use these car driving tips for beginners to begin honing your skills.
Along with following this advice, don’t be afraid to seek more driver training. Even if you completed driver’s education, you’ll find that many driver’s schools offer a defensive driving course. Suitable even for experienced drivers, this class can provide some classroom and behind-the-wheel training to help you drive more safely.
Be sure to check out our other posts about driving safety.