Congratulations on passing your driving test and earning that new driver’s license. You can now hit the road to your favorite destination even without supervision, which is exhilarating.
But don’t celebrate just yet. While there is a lot you might have learned during your driver’s training classes, there is still so much more to learn if you want to enhance your safety on the roads, and here are handy tips for you.
- Avoid Distractions While Driving
Distracted driving is a primary cause of car crashes that claim thousands of lives on American roads annually. Therefore, you must keep your concentration on the road all the time while behind the wheel.
An excellent way to stay alert is to avoid the temptation to receive your phone, send text messages, eat, or tune the radio. If other people are in the car, avoid touching them or turning around to talk to them.
As a rule of thumb, prepare adequately while still in the parking lot to avoid distracted driving. Make any critical communication before leaving, set your stereo system and GPS, eat, and put your phone in silent or airplane mode.
- Regularly Review the Meaning of Road Warning Signs
Of course, you learned about the meaning of all road signs during your driver’s training classes. Others are even listed in your driver’s handbook.
Road signs help you drive safely by directing you on what to do at different road sections. There are so many of them that it might be easier to forget, even the most essential ones.
For that reason, you need to take enough time to review all the road signs regularly with their meanings. As a bonus, master the standard shapes and colors of different signs for easier referencing.
- Stick to the Speed Limit
It’s common for new drivers to be tempted to push the speed limit a little higher. However, you need to understand that driving at higher speeds doubles your chances of being involved in a severe road crash.
Speed limits are necessary because they enhance road safety for you and other road users by helping reduce the chances of an accident in crash-prone areas. You are also likely to react to emergencies on the road in time if you are driving at a safe speed.
And while the posted limit is the maximum permitted speed, driving below it is even safer. It would help if you also judged the safest speed to drive by looking at other factors such as the weather, traffic, and road conditions.
- Familiarize Yourself with Your Vehicle
Vehicles vary in size, shape, design, and performance. So, before you start driving, ensure you familiarize yourself with your car.
If you know your car, you can avoid any mechanical and safety issues down the road. Furthermore, you will find it easy to prove everything is okay with your vehicle just in case you’re pulled over.
Therefore, learn where all the vehicle controls are and how they work. This includes the gas and brake pedals, the steering wheel, the seats, the mirrors, the turn signals, the lights, and every sign on the dashboard.
- Don’t Tailgate
Tailgating or following another car too closely is dangerous and illegal in most states. It means you could easily rear-end the car in front and cause a severe accident if they break suddenly.
Not only could you injure yourself or other road users, but you could also damage your car. And because you’ll most probably be liable for the accident, you will have to pay the other party, and your insurance rates will likely go up.
So, always allow adequate space between you and the car in front of you. Ideally, maintain a three-second following distance depending on the vehicle’s speed and weather, as the National Safety Council recommends.