Safe driving tips for new drivers
If you’re a new driver, let us be the first to congratulate you on receiving your license. The ability to drive opens up a lot of opportunities that would not be possible with slower, less efficient forms of transit. With new opportunity comes great responsibility. As a new driver it is key to understand that what you do in the driver’s seat doesn’t just affect you, but affects everyone else on the road. It can be difficult to adjust to this new mentality, so take a look at the following suggestions to help get yourself in the right mindset before you get on the road.
Tips for New Drivers
We all remember sitting through Driver’s Ed, but by the time you get your photo taken at the DMV for you license the finer points of classroom knowledge are far behind you. Online Driver’s Ed classes can be a great resource to keep you fresh on the rules of the road, but we’ve got a few easy tips for you here that every driver, novices and veterans alike, could use a refresher on.
- Avoid distractions
- Check in front and behind
- No tailgating
- Avoid fast starts and stops
- Be aware of blind spots
- Keep an eye on road signs
- Use turn signals as needed
- Drive defensively
In our day-to-day lives we are frequently inundated with distractions. This does not change when we get behind the wheel of a car, so we have to be diligent about identifying distractions and minimizing their impact on us while driving.
One of the most common distractions we deal with as drivers involves playing music in the car. Keep noise levels low enough that you are still aware of your surroundings and any sounds that may come from outside of the vehicle such as a car horn or emergency vehicle sirens. Changing stations on the radio can also be dangerous when you’re on the road. We recommend you set the music playlist and or setting the radio station before heading off to your destination.
These days, most of us are pretty attached to our devices. As a result, cell phones are one of the most notorious distractions for drivers.
As a new driver it can be really tempting to check your phone to check messages and social media. Do not do it
Using a cell phone while driving puts your life and the lives of others at risk. No call or message is that important.
California takes the use of electronic devices when driving seriously and has passed three laws banning the use of cellphones.
- All drivers are prohibited from using handheld wireless phones or cell phones
- All drivers under 18 years old are prohibited from using hands-free cell phones
- No driver may text or engage with any other wireless device while driving
Nearly all use of cell phones or other electronic devices while driving is prohibited, and with good reason. Use of devices while driving greatly inhibits the driver’s ability to be attentive to the roadway and their response time to hazards that may present themselves. The only exception to the cell phone use laws is in cases of emergency to “call to law enforcement, medical, fire department, or any other emergency agency; for individuals operating authorized emergency vehicles, and individuals operating vehicles on private property.” Even in cases of emergency, it is best to pull over before using your mobile device to avoid putting yourself or others at further risk.
Combating Distracted Driving - Active Eyes
Keeping an eye on the surroundings is the best practice to combat distracted driving. This will allow you to see any dangerous driving or potential bumps in the road. Keep your front window clean and unobstructed to check traffic in front and use your rearview mirror to check behind. When keeping an eye on cars in front of you and behind you it will help in two ways:
- By actively looking forward, you will be able to see potential hazards while keeping a safe distance between yourself and the cars in front of you
- Checking your rearview mirror allows you to see approaching traffic, understand if you are being tailgated and ensure you are aware of approaching emergency vehicles
Diligent driving is a mentality that, if adopted early, can become second nature. The purpose of driving to get you safely from one place to another. When you’re behind the wheel, focus on your vehicle and the conditions on the roadway and try to shut out the other thoughts, worries and distractions that usually occupy your mind.
Better Safe than Sorry
Here at Ticket Snipers, we usually abide by “safety first”, but in this case we needed to cover best mindset first. Now that we’ve got you in the right headspace, we’ll discuss some best practices for staying safe on the road.
Keeping adequate distance between yourself and other cars is paramount to roadway safety. Especially as a novice driver, it can be difficult to gauge your and your vehicle’s reaction times, especially at varying speeds. When a driver is following too closely behind another vehicle it is called tailgating. Tailgating situations are defense ones that you want to avoid, as it is extremely dangerous and is the cause of most rear-end collisions.
Tailgating is not always on you; if you check your rearview mirror and find that a driver is following too closely behind you, then it is best to slow down, move over and let them pass.
We still have a few safety tips to cover on our list. As a new driver you should be avoiding fast stops and starts, monitoring blind spots, keeping an eye on road signs and using turn signals as needed. Out of context, it seems like a lot to keep track of. However, when you’re on the road and alone in your vehicle you may realize that it can truly be difficult to anticipate the movements and intentions of other drivers. But these tips like using your blinker and avoiding sudden starts and stops help drivers around you know what your next move is.
The signs on the roadway are there to tell everyone how the are expected to behave so you can understand what to do and so you can easily identify drivers who are driving dangerously. When cars end up in “blind spots”—those areas next to our vehicle that are not easily seen from the mirrors or our direct line of sight—they are unknowingly putting themselves at risk for an accident. Check them regularly, especially before turning or changing lanes, to ensure you are fully aware of your surroundings.
The Moral? Drive Defensively
The most important takeaway as a new driver is to understand that even if you are an excellent and cautious driver, accidents still occur due to the actions of others. Using the tips and mentalities outlined in this article will help you develop the skills to drive defensively. Defensive driving means “driving in a manner that utilizes safe driving strategies to enables motorists to address identified hazards in a predictable manner”. It helps avoid accidents by being aware of the surrounding environment, and keeping an eye on the surrounding traffic and cars.
Getting your license is an exciting time for new drivers. Keeping in mind these tips, driving laws and regulations will make your driving experience comfortable and safe.