Passing your driver’s test and receiving your license is an exciting occasion, as is beginning your journey behind the wheel as a motorist. Driving brings a great sense of freedom, but that freedom also comes with significant responsibility. This includes not only ensuring your own safety, but that of the other drivers and passengers on the road.
You don’t need to be a new driver to make one of the many common mistakes that are witnessed on the road every day. Even the most skilled and experienced of us are guilty of throwing caution to the wind, be it unintentionally or otherwise. To help you get on the road safely, consider the following common mistakes made by new drivers of all ages.
We all get impatient sometimes and it’s easy to feel like putting your foot down can help you get from point A to point B faster. However, this is seldom the case, especially in an urban area where you’ll inevitably lose any time you might have saved by speeding when you get to the next traffic light. Regardless, sticking to the speed limit can save you from some nasty fines, or worse.
Not Maintaining a Distance
For many people, it takes a costly fender bender to realize just how unpredictable other drivers can be. No matter who might be in front, it’s recommended that you always keep at least a car’s length distance per 10 miles per hour in speed you are traveling between yourself and other vehicles. For instance, if you are driving 50 MPH, make sure to have a minimum of five car lengths between you and the automobile in front of you. This way, you can safely stop in time if the driver ahead of you suddenly hits their brakes.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving causes more than half of all accidents where a teen was behind the wheel. Many studies have proven that parents are no exception when it comes to committing the act, especially where smartphones are concerned.
Distractions are not only those posed by your smartphone. Speaking to passengers, eating, drinking and adjusting the radio are also major causes of distracted driving accidents.
The takeaway here is to always focus on driving first. Everything else can be handled later. Giving your full attention to the road and your surroundings goes a long way in ensuring that you’ll still be driving your own car back home.
Not Accounting for Weather Conditions
If the road is being pummeled by heavy rain or covered in snow, your best bet would be to stay at home or find an alternative way to reach your destination, such as public transport. This is because not taking poor weather into consideration can result in a serious accident, especially if you aren’t experienced in driving during rain or snow. Even a light shower can cause slippery conditions, and many newer drivers just don’t have enough experience to drive safely under less than perfect conditions.
Driving Without Checking the Vehicle
There are a number of components that should be checked regularly to ensure that your car is in driving condition. You should get your engine checked regularly and if any parts are old or worn, replace them as soon as possible. If it’s your alernator that needs replacing, you can find a guide on finding the best aftermarket alternator here. This also includes checking your tire pressure, which can save you from a dangerous blowout. Maintaining the correct pressure will also reduce fuel costs. Don’t forget to also adjust your mirrors and ensure your headlights are working properly.
Driving When Tired
Tired drivers have poorer senses and slower reaction times. This, of course, is a dangerous combination when you’re behind the wheel. Newer drives may not be aware of how tired is too tired, so it’s wise to take the safe approach and only get on the road if you’ve had sufficient sleep and are thinking clearly.
If you find yourself feeling tired during a road trip, keep in mind that opening the window is only a temporary measure. It is best substituted with a 10-15 minute nap somewhere that is safe and off the road. It should go without saying, but driving under the influence of anything mind-altering, be it alcohol or medication, should also be avoided.
By keeping the above points in mind, you will certainly be safer on the road. There’s no harm in enjoying your time behind the wheel, provided you remember that safety always comes first.