You’ve received your driver’s license, congrats! Hopefully, you feel confident and properly prepared to share the road with others. As a new driver it can be a bit nerve-wracking to begin driving on your own, but just remind yourself this is what you’ve been training for! Continue to practice good judgment in your driving and apply what you’ve learned. If you’re looking for a mini-refresher of the big points to take away, keep reading. Here are five tips essential to your safety while operating a vehicle on the road:
Valuable Tips for New Drivers
- Stick to the speed limit.
Obey traffic laws and adhere to the set speed limits. Going over the speed limit slows your reaction time and increases your chance of being involved in a vehicle crash. When weather conditions are poor, go slightly slower than the posted speed limit. Driving too fast for the conditions and obscured vision due to weather or other issues are the #2 and #10 factors, respectively in fatal crashes according to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration survey.
- Buckle up.
Always wear your seat belt and make sure all passengers do too. If you are involved in a crash, seat belts are the only defense measure for keeping you inside the vehicle instead of being thrown from the vehicle.
- Stay alert.
Don’t engage in distracted driving or other activities that would otherwise capture your attention from the road. Distracted driving includes: texting and talking on your cell phone, eating, feverishly conversing back and forth with your passengers, applying makeup, etc. An estimated 16% of fatal crashes involve driver distraction. Maintain constant awareness of yourself, others and your surroundings.
- Keep up with your vehicle maintenance.
Stick to a regular maintenance schedule that includes: oil changes, rotations, and balancing of tires. You should also continue to check and be aware of: tire pressure, windshield wiper fluid levels, wiper blade efficiency, gas level and obstructions to view (dirty windshield). Regular vehicle maintenance is key to safe driving. Perform your pre-trip checklist to ensure everything is as it should be.
- Avoid driving in bad weather when possible.
When confronted with adverse weather conditions ask yourself, is the trip absolutely necessary? The safest choice you can make might be to cancel or delay your trip until conditions improve. Check radar and other weather updates, so you can plan and prepare accordingly. Remember to utilize your headlights and/or low beams and windshield wipers in deteriorating conditions with poor visibility. Don’t let yourself be caught off-guard!
Keep these five tips fresh and on your mind every time you start your vehicle and embark upon your journey down the road. Good work and good luck on your travels ahead!
As a motorist, it is our responsibility to operate vehicles safely and in a sensible manner. Consider taking an online refresher driving course with Top Driver to stay current on law changes and best driving practices. We’ve helped more than 260,000 students become safe, intelligent drivers.