Better Late than Never: 7 Safety Tips for New Drivers
Most states require driver’s education and graduated licensing programs before first-time drivers have unrestricted driving privileges. Usually, you can expect to learn and have practiced enough of the road rules to safely operate a vehicle.
Always remember you’re cruising in a couple of tons of metal when you get behind the wheel of a car. There’s no telling what can happen once you’re on roads and highways — accidents can and do happen. Every minute you’re on the road increases your chance of being involved in one.
This article shares safety tips for new drivers. It may sound like a broken record but at least hearing it again can help you get there. After all, you’re better late than never when getting from Point A to B.
The Top 7 Safety Tips for New Drivers Getting Behind-the-Wheel
There’s no telling what can happen when you’re finally on your own. Most will go through their entire life without being involved in an accident. Some may have a run of bad luck from accidents to carjackings.
The best you can do is educate yourself and become aware of how to react in these situations since you can’t predict what will happen.
Here are some new driver safety tips worth knowing:
Understand the rules of the road
You took a written and road test when getting your license. These rules don’t magically disappear once you have unrestricted driving privileges.
Take time to review road rules and stay alert as you’re driving for traffic signs and patterns. This provides ample reaction time, helps avoid traffic tickets, and keeps others safe.
Take your time and stay calm
Speedy any amount over the posted limit puts you in danger because you have less reaction time and the force becomes exponentially stronger.
You aren’t truly saving time by speeding, either, as you’ll likely run into other delays. Your best bet is to give yourself extra time whenever you need to get somewhere, letting you cruise the posted speed while staying safe.
Your smooth driving also helps lower road rage incidents which are one of several causes of distracted driving.
Watch what people are doing ahead
Watch the person is doing in front of you but also the car (or two) ahead of who you’re behind. The person in front will react to those in front of them.
You can improve reaction time by predicting them based on the 2nd and 3rd vehicles ahead of them. This includes knowing when to brake early, when to slow down, or avoiding dangerous road debris.
Don’t ride bumper-to-bumper on the highways, either. Give yourself 2 – 3 car lengths. This gives enough distance to react and avoid accidents.
Use the vehicle’s safety features
Wearing your seatbelt should be central to following defensive driving tips. But, don’t neglect other safety features found in your vehicle.
- Motion alerts
- Backup cameras
Learn the ins and outs of your vehicle and what it offers. Trusting in yourself and these features can help reduce your driving anxiety. Because you’re calm, you’ll make good driving decisions.
Practice different driving conditions
It’s scary but good to put yourself in different driving conditions like:
- Winter driving
- Driving during heavy storms
- Bumper-to-bumper traffic
- Hilly/mountain drives
You never know where you may go throughout your time driving. You don’t want to be caught off guard or have to cancel trips because you can’t handle driving in different conditions.
Don’t drive tired or under the influence
It can’t be stressed enough the dangers of driving when tired or under the influence. This includes unexpected reactions to medications.
Be in control of your vehicle (and yourself) at all times when behind the wheel for your safety and everyone else on the road.
Stop to rest if you’re feeling too tired and start dozing off. Get a designated driver if you had a few drinks. And, know how your body will react to new medications if they’ve recently been prescribed.
Failing to drive sober leads to a myriad of problems from suspended licenses to major fines and potential jail time. It’s not worth the risk!
Maintain your vehicle
Vehicle maintenance can get costly but it’ll be a drop in the bucket compared to the medical bills and increased insurance costs from accidents.
- Get regular inspections and tune-ups
- Replace tires when they show wear
- Check the lights and top-up fluids
Many accidents happen when the vehicle becomes inoperable on highways. The driver, in a panic, doesn’t get far enough into the shoulder. This puts them at risk of being hit (especially by distracted drivers).
Avoid these situations by marking your calendar for maintenance. Or, start learning basic car maintenance tips to keep it running smoothly.
Defensive Driving Keeps You Safe
Getting your license is a huge privilege many take for granted. They get on the road and drive as they own it — putting themselves and others in danger.
You can’t expect everyone to obey the road rules. The best safety tip you can practice is defensive driving and trusting yourself, not others. Follow these safety tips for new drivers and you’ll have a pleasant time on the roads.