While taking driving lessons, your driving is very much accompanied by another driver. Driving is a little less stressful because you know you have the reassurance of your trained driving instructor having dual controls just in case of emergencies. You know that if an issue arises, they can take control and resolve the problem. However, this is a very different story when you pass your driving test, receive your licence and can finally drive independently. The safety and reassurance of having someone else to assist you are gone, so it is essential that you are aware of the vital driving do’s and don’ts.
Do’s and Don’ts To Be A Safe Driver
Throughout all of your driving life, it is likely to you will hear many different pieces of advice. Everyone has their own way of driving which means that everyone has various tips that they think will make you a safer driver. There are certain do’s and don’ts that may sound obvious, but are extremely important in staying accident-free and a safe drive, so keep reading to find out!
DO Wear Your Seatbelt
You would have heard your parents, family members, driving instructor and even on the television people continuously talk about wearing your seatbelt and it’s because it genuinely is essential. It is one of the most significant safety precautions that are placed in cars. In the unfortunate event of a crash, they will prevent you from hitting the windscreen or steering wheel and being thrown around the car. And more importantly – it’s the law!
DO Keep Your Distance
You need to keep your distance from anyone or anything that you may come across while driving, whether this may be other cars, cyclists, pedestrians, animals or even buildings and surroundings. In particular, keep your distance from cyclists and pedestrians, especially when overtaking, as they are most vulnerable to cars, they can be knocked over easily, and accidents can be caused within seconds.
Always concentrate when driving – it sounds like common sense, but it is surprisingly easy to drift into your own little world while making a journey that you know like the back of your hand. Even if you are driving in your local area where you know exactly what to look out for, stay focused. It is just luck that the one-day that you do not pay attention, something different will happen that could be a risk to either you or others.
DO Be Extra Careful In Bad Weather Conditions
We all know that some weather conditions are considerably harder to drive in than others, in particular, snow, rain or ice. Here visibility is worse, roads are slippery, and the risk of an accident is increased. As long as you remember to take it slow and take extra care, you shouldn’t have any problems.
DO Regular Check-Ups Of Your Vehicle
Regular check-ups should include checking your tyres, brakes and oil level. Your tyres need to be in pristine condition with no sign of wear and tear that could disrupt your driving. Brake pads need to be checked for signs that they need replacing such as a screeching noise, vibration, reduced responsiveness or a grinding feeling. Your oil needs to be filled up to the correct level; here is an easy step by step guide on how to check your oil level.
DO Keep A Spare Tyre
You never know when you are going to run into an emergency and need a spare tyre. On a busy day, you could find yourself waiting around for hours by the side of the road for a mechanic, which is even worse if it is in winter. So wouldn’t it be so much easier to be able to do it all yourself and be able to get on with your journey?
DON’T Use Your Phone
The use of a phone while driving is one of the biggest distractions and causes of accidents, whoever has messaged or tried to call you would much rather you ignore your phone and protect your safety. If you would like a full explanation of the mobile phone driving laws, visit this RAC article we have found.
DON’T Assume You Know What Other Are Going To Do
We have all been guilty once of forgetting to turn off an indicator signal or not realising that we are still indicating, so this makes it crucial only to move when you directly see the other vehicle turning. You never really know what others are thinking or planning to do, so never assume you can work it out.
James Williams is a driveJohnson’s driving instructor who teaches in the Maidstone area and states that one of his biggest dislikes is drivers who do not indicate. He has experienced many different situations where a pupil has failed their practical test, not at their own fault, but because another driver has not indicated and the pupil has assumed their next steps.
If you are running late, driving over the speed limit or too fast for the weather conditions will not resolve the problem. Stay within the speed limit and more importantly stay safe. You are already late so being careless and rushing just to save a couple of extra minutes is not worth the risk.
Sometimes saying don’t panic is easier said than done, but when driving it is essential that you stay calm no matter the situation. Issues become worse when you panic, you stop thinking straight and make silly mistakes. Even if another driver annoys you or sounds their horn at you, don’t let it get to you. You are more than capable of resolving the issue; your driving test examiner wouldn’t have passed you if they didn’t have full trust in you.
DON’T Put Off Fixing Issues
If something seems wrong with your vehicle or you can tell that something isn’t working as well as it should, get it seen to. Issues come in a chain effect if one small problem is left; it is more than likely to grow into a bigger issue. Getting your car seen to by a mechanic and fixed quickly will save you both time and money in the long run.
Driving doesn’t have to be a stressful task, as long as you remember everything that you would have been taught in your driving instructor then driving can be enjoyable. You would have thought about the idea of finally gaining independence and having your own car for years, so make the most out of it when you finally obtain your driving licence!
If you are still struggling with driving after your test and feel as if you need a little extra guidance, then taking a pass plus course would be a fantastic solution. It will give you the opportunity to build up confidence driving in your car without dual controls.