If you’re here, you’re someone who loves to drive.
Whether it’s your reliable family vehicle or your prized classic car, the idea of getting out onto the road and just driving is your way of cooling off and finding your happy place, no matter where that might be.
But, it doesn’t matter if you’ve been driving for a month or a lifetime, you might not be as good of a driver as you think you are. Once people pass driving exams, they find it too easy to fall into bad habits. While you think you’re in control, these bad habits could make you wrong, and you might even put others in danger.
So what can you do to become a better, safer driver? Here is some advice that everyone can learn from, no matter how long they have been driving.
Stick to the Speed Limit
It’s such an obvious [point to make, but there seems to be an unspoken rule that the actual speed limit is five above what it says on the signs. Although five miles per hour more doesn’t seem like much, it can make it more difficult to stop, and your reaction window is cut shorter.
Everyone wants to get to their destination as quickly as possible, but those extra seconds you shave off will not make th3e difference, especially when you factor in traffic lights and other potential stops along the way.
So, as much as speeding might not hurt you, there is the chance it hurts others. You also don’t want to deal with speeding fines, as too many of these could end with your license being revoked, and then what are you going to do?
Know the Difference Between Confidence and Cockiness
Everyone should be confident behind the wheel. A nervous driver is a dangerous driver, after all. However, too many people mistake cockiness for confidence, and this can make them more dangerous than they believe.
So what is confident driving? You mustn’t second-guess yourself and you must commit to any maneuvers you start. If you’re pulling out at a junction, don’t stop and jolt because you see a car coming in the distance.
If you don’t think you can make it, then don’t attempt to. Instead, make that maneuver and clear the road. It is as simple as that. Not only will you reduce the risk of a road accident, but you will also reduce the impact on your car and increase its lifespan.
Do Better for the Environment
Good driving is not just about how you perform on the highway or along suburban streets. You can also do better for the environment. Choosing low-consumption vehicles and opting for gas over diesel will do a lot to prevent carbon emissions, so consider this as a good place to start.
Besides the fuel, you can also consider how your driving affects the environment. Constant revving will cause more exhaust fumes, and it drains your tank much quicker. If this is something you’re guilty of, check with your mechanic to see if there is something wrong with the engine.
Another way to do better for the environment is with an electric vehicle to replace your current car. Of course, this isn’t the optimal solution for everybody, especially while electric vehicles are still out of many individuals’ price range. However, if you’re given the choice, an electric car, or at the very least a hybrid, could do wonders.
Adjust To the Conditions
Unless you’re lucky enough to live in a place of perpetual sunshine, you will need to know how and when to adapt to the conditions to ensure safe driving.
Driving in the rain is much different from driving on dry roads, and driving in snow is an entirely different beast altogether. You cannot approach these conditions the same way, so make sure you recognize when to adjust your driving habits to prevent accidents.
You can take measures to make things easier, such as putting snow tires that can easily handle the packed roads. It’s also beneficial to give yourself extra time, as you’ll need to drive slowly to prevent any sudden jerks and turns.
Learn Basic Repairs and Maintenance
Not to sound too much like an Old Man Yelling At Cloud, but many of today’s generation don’t know a lick about basic repairs and maintenance, and this could put you in trouble if you break down in the middle of nowhere.
While you should always leave complicated repairs to the professionals, there are some repairs you can do yourself, such as changing a tire or replenishing the oil. This can dramatically improve your driving experience, and it will also teach you more about your car.
The more you know about your car, the better a driver you will become. It helps you become more familiar with how it works inside, which makes issues easier to diagnose so you can get back on the road in no time at all.
Keep Your Distance
As good of a driver you think you are, you should go into every journey assuming others don’t know how to drive.
This opinion means you will reduce the number of issues you encounter, as you are taking measures to avoid other drivers’ mistakes before they make them. If you keep your distance, you won’t rear-end a car that suddenly slams the brakes on at a traffic light, for example.
Doing so can also give you more confidence, which is already established as being essential for good and safe driving. Keeping your distance will also benefit you in different conditions, as it prevents your car from skidding if you need to brake without warning.
No matter who you are, you may have fallen victim to road rage at some point, even if it was just a fleeting bit of frustration.
If you ever feel like you’re getting angry at the person in front of you because they are going too slow, you must show patience. Slamming on your horn and screaming every dirty word you know will not make them go any faster, and it will only end up impacting your driving.
So, if you find yourself in a situation where the person in front is moving at a snail’s pace, take it easy and wait for a safe opening to get past them. If this doesn’t come, then do not do something reckless.
Get Off the Road When You’re Stressed
Everyone can feel stressed while driving, and there are many reasons why it could happen. Perhaps you’re rushing to get somewhere or you are overwhelmed by the conditions and amount of traffic. Maybe you’ve just had a terrible day at work.
These times are undoubtedly the worst time to drive. So, if you’re feeling stressed, look for a place to stop if possible. Even a few minutes and some breathing exercises will help you calm down, which can help you focus on what you need to do and where you need to go.
Much like nervous driving, stressed driving can put you and others in danger, so you mustn’t try to prove anything to anyone. If you need to stop, then stop.
Although many people will spend entire journeys by themselves, there are other occasions where there will be others in the car.
It could be the kids, your partner, or friends, and as grateful as you are to have them, they might become a distraction if you’re not careful. Even if you don’t have passengers, music and food can add other distractions while driving.
You should already know why this is a problem, so when trying to drive safely, make sure you don’t eat, turn notifications off, and make sure the kids have their seatbelts on to avoid any problems when on the road. The fewer the distractions, the easier the journey will be.
Respect Your Car
Finally, your car is one of your most important possessions, regardless of whether it is brand new or on its last wheels. Because of this, you must respect it.
But what does respecting a car really mean? Treating it well and avoiding the common pitfalls of bad driving, such as over-revving or harsh braking will go a long way towards minimizing any issues. Besides this, you can also take the time to learn how your car works but reading the manual and driving as often as possible.
The better care you take of your car, the easier it will be to drive and maintain. It will also look after you, so consider it a partnership rather than a means to get from A to B.
It doesn’t matter how long you have been driving. Every journey is different from the one that came before and will be different from the one that comes after it. Therefore, you must always make sure that you stay focused and remind yourself how to be a good driver.
You have passed your test and you have experience behind the wheel, so show it. Do not fall into the trap of taking shortcuts in your driving, as this can lead to severe problems for you, your car, and potentially others, too.
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