Getting Behind the Wheel: 8 Helpful Insights for a Novice Driver

94.5% of Americans over 16 drive at least occasionally, which shows you just how important this mode of transportation is. Without our vehicles, we’d be stuck taking public transportation, which is both unreliable and slow.

No matter how old you are, you may be a novice driver, and you’re nervous about getting behind the wheel. It’s understandable that you’re anxious; you’re wielding heavy machinery, after all, and you’re responsible for everyone’s lives around you, including your own.

Knowledge is power though, so brush up on driver safety and other important matters. Here are eight tips that’ll help you master the roads.

  1. Know Your Vehicle

You might be excited about buying a car, but driving isn’t all fun and games. So before you jump into the driver’s seat and head out for a drive, get to know your vehicle, as it’s the responsible thing to do.

Familiarize yourself with the controls, indicators, and features. You can even crack open the owner’s manual to get to know your car even more in detail.

Understanding how everything works on your car will help you react quickly in various driving scenarios. This may even save your life!

  1. Follow Traffic Laws

Traffic laws are there for a reason: to keep everyone safe. It can be tempting to whip around the streets in your new car, especially if it’s capable of handling high speeds and tight corners, but one wrong move can be fatal. Not to mention, you can be slapped with a heavy fine.

Make sure you follow speed limits, stop at stop signs and red lights, use turn signals, and yield to pedestrians. If you’re ever unsure of traffic laws, do some research. It’s easy to hop online and find local traffic laws, so there’s no excuse for not doing so.

  1. Stay Alert and Be Patient

As we’ve said earlier, you’re operating heavy machinery while driving, so accidents can have serious consequences. You might initially use 100% of your concentration to focus on the road, but as time goes by, you might get complacent. It starts with just one thing, and then before you know it, you’re driving with your knees while texting a friend and putting on your makeup.

You must avoid distractions, such as using your phone, eating, or adjusting the radio while driving. If the activity can’t be avoided or delayed, then at least pull over so you can give your full attention to driving before and after doing it.

In addition, be aware that road rage and aggressive driving can lead to accidents too. Stay calm, be patient, and show courtesy to other drivers, even in stressful situations. Be the bigger person and keep cool so situations don’t escalate and become more dangerous; being right isn’t worth losing your life over.

  1. Practice Defensive Driving

Not only are you driving a two-ton hunk of metal, but you’re also hurtling down roads at high speeds. This means that any small thing that may seem harmless when you’re sitting around can be deadly.

To mitigate these risks, defensive driving is essential. Anticipate potential hazards on the road and be prepared to react.

Keep an eye out for reckless drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, wild animals, and any other unexpected obstacles. If you observe traffic laws and don’t speed, this will decrease the chances of you hitting these things too.

  1. Adapt to Weather Conditions

The weather can be fickle, even if you live somewhere considered to be a paradise. When Mother Nature changes her mind, you want to be ready.

Pay close attention to any changes, and adjust your driving behavior accordingly. For example, drive slower and increase your following distance in the rain, snow, or fog, as it’ll be easier to maintain control of your vehicle. This is a type of defensive driving that’ll help you handle inclement weather with ease.

  1. Know What to Do in Emergencies

No one ever wants to have accidents and emergencies, but unfortunately, they’re bound to happen. And when they do, you want to be level-headed and take care of things efficiently.

Learn basic car maintenance tasks and know how to respond in case of emergencies such as a flat tire, engine failure, or getting stranded. If you know how to fix small things, then you can save yourself both time and money.

Know what to do after a car accident as well. You’ll help save lives, and you may avoid breaking laws too.

  1. Maintain Your Car

Speaking of car maintenance, don’t try to pinch pennies by never taking your vehicle to the auto shop. Yes, it might save you some money to spend on much-needed gas, but it’ll come back to bite you.

Just like with people, cars need regular checkups to ensure they’re in tip-top condition. These maintenance checks can catch small issues, which are much cheaper to fix if caught early. Ultimately, you’ll save your hard-earned cash.

  1. Keep Up With Your License and Insurance

This might sound obvious, but it’s imperative that you keep up with your license and insurance. Without a valid license, you’re driving illegally, and this can come with heavy consequences. For instance, you can get points on your driving record, your car can be impounded, and you may even go to jail.

Insurance is also a must-need; not only does it protect you in accidents, but it’s required by law too. If you think you can’t afford it, then think again, as it’s easy to get cheap car insurance. Considering that you can face the same consequences as above if you’re caught driving without car insurance, this is also a money-saving route.

Be a Responsible Novice Driver

Being a novice driver can be nerve-wracking. But as long as you have good intentions and take your time behind the wheel seriously, you’ll have a good start.

Just remember that you’re in charge of a two-ton machine and that people’s lives are at stake. Always pay attention to the road and make sure your vehicle is in excellent condition.

Check out the rest of our blog page for more auto and motor articles.

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