Getting your license is a huge accomplishment! It means you’re officially able to drive on your own. But driving for the first time can be scary, especially if you don’t know what to do. Plus, some states implement strict driving laws. For example, new drivers in Florida are required to take a drug and alcohol test online, ensuring that they are aware of the consequences of driving under the influence.
If you are a first-time driver, follow these tips, and you’ll be safely cruising down the road in no time.
Get to Know Your Car
Before you start driving, it’s important to get familiar with your car. Learn where all the controls are located and how to use them. This includes the headlights, windshield wipers, blinkers, and emergency brakes. You should also know how to check oil levels and tire pressure. Knowing you are inside and out will make driving a lot easier and less stressful.
Make Yourself Comfortable
You should adjust your seat, mirrors, and steering wheel before you start driving. You should be able to sit with your back straight and feet comfortably reaching the pedals. Your mirrors should be positioned so that you have a clear view of traffic behind and beside you. And your steering wheel should be at a comfortable height so that you don’t have to strain to reach it.
Think of Safe and Defensive Driving
Buckle up. This one is important! Always wear your seat belt, even if you’re just driving around the block. It’s the best way to stay safe in case of an accident.
Keep your eyes on the road. This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s important to keep your eyes on the road at all times. That means no fiddling with the radio, no looking at your phone, and no rubbernecking. If you need to do any of those things, pull over to a safe spot first. Keep safety and defensive driving always in your mind.
Obey the speed limit. Speeding is one of the most common causes of accidents. So it is important to always obey the posted speed limit. This doesn’t just mean going the exact limit but also driving at an appropriate speed for the conditions. For example, if it’s raining or snowing, you should slow down because it will take longer to stop.
Effective Communication Is Key
Use your turn signals. Let other drivers know what you’re doing by using your turn signals. This includes when you’re changing lanes, turning, and pulling over.
Be aware of your surroundings. In addition to watching the cars around you, it is crucial to be mindful of what is happening on the side of the road.
Maintain a Safe Speed
Keeping a safe driving speed seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many accidents are caused by speeding. It’s always better to play it safe and go the speed limit, especially when starting out.
As a new driver, you might be tempted to go faster. This is a mistake. Not only is it illegal, but it’s also dangerous. Going too fast makes it harder to stop and makes accidents more likely.
Follow at a Reasonable Distance
Leave plenty of space between you and the car ahead of you.
New drivers are instructed to follow the basic three-second rule. Keep your vehicle at least three seconds of travel time between you and the vehicle you are following. With a three-second distance, you have three seconds to avoid an accident. Drivers can respond better if they have enough room and space to slow down. Allow for some flexibility when you put some distance between you and the vehicle in front. Remember that the faster you go, the longer the distance should be between you and any vehicle.
Learn Basic Traffic Rules
This includes understanding speed limits, stop signs, and yield signs. If you’re unsure what a particular sign means, look it up or ask a driving instructor.
Be extra cautious at night. Nighttime driving is more dangerous than daytime driving. There are fewer cars on the road, so it’s more likely that you’ll be alone if you have an accident. There’s also less light, so it’s harder to see what’s ahead of you. If you can, avoid driving at night until you have more experience.
Stay on Your Side of the Road
In the US, we drive on the right side of the road. So when you’re driving, always stay on your right. This can be confusing at first if you’re used to driving on the left, but you’ll get used to it.
Congratulations on your new driver’s license! This is an exciting time, but it’s important to remember that driving is a privilege and a responsibility. There are eight essential tips for first-time drivers that we hope will help you stay safe while you get comfortable with this new skill. Be aware of your surroundings, don’t drive when tired or distracted, and always obey the speed limit. We wish you safe travels as you explore everything your neighborhood and beyond has to offer.