Driving Tips

Gaining your shiny new driver licence after you have passed the driving test is one of the most exciting milestones to reach in life. It means freedom, independence and the ability to take yourself off anywhere there is a road and a place to park at the end of it. While it is all super exciting, it is vital to keep a level head when you are a new driver. There are lots of things you have to get right when driving a car, and even more pitfalls that make your driving life dangerous. That brings us neatly to the main thrust of my blog: Driving tips for beginners.

busy traffic driving tips

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Driving Tips For Beginners

In today’s piece, I will be offering useful driving tips to new drivers to help keep you safe on the road. Believe me when we say that this list is not just aimed at teens. People learn how to drive a car at all stages in life, and these tips apply to you going driving for the first time as a recently licenced driver, regardless of your age.

Establish a Pre-Driving Routine

There are some rituals that you should practice when you are a new driver. The good news is that many of these will have been drilled into you already if you had a good driving instructor. As you get into the car, remember to:

  • Pop open the bonnet and make sure you have enough windscreen washer fluid, especially if it’s raining or you know you’ll be following other traffic.

  • Adjust the seat so you can see clearly over the steering wheel and the car’s bonnet to the road ahead.

  • Fix your rear-view mirror to have a clear view showing just the road in the centre, and the kerb on either side.

  • Adjust your side mirrors so you can see the road and kerb clearly. From your driver seat position, you should be able to see the car’s rear bumper on each side.

  • Fasten your seatbelt and sit in a comfortable position that does not compromise your view of the road ahead.
steering wheel

Place Your Hands at 9 and 3 on the Steering Wheel

For years, you might have heard people talking about 10 and 2 when describing the ideal position to place your hands on the steering wheel in cars. On many older cars, this was fine, but for newer cars, it is not the best position. Placing your hands at 9 and 3 is safer, because the old 10 and 2 positions, in the event of an accident, can send your hands flying into your face as your airbag deploys. Believe it or not, your hands hitting you in the face like that can do some pretty severe damage. That’s why 9 and 3 is now considered safer. It’s a good driving habit to get into.

Don’t Speed or Break Other Traffic Laws

As a new driver, regardless of your age, you are subject to a 2-year probationary period during which time your licence penalty points limit is only six as opposed to 12 for more experienced drivers. If you are caught exceeding the speed limit or committing other traffic offences, and you acquire a total of six penalty points, then your licence will be revoked. So, it is, therefore, more important than ever as a new driver you stick to the speed limits and drive within the rules as you learned with your instructor. Don’t allow others to influence you to act in any other way.

Smartphone in car

Eliminate Distractions While Driving

Concentration is critical when you are new to driving. You must minimize or eliminate distractions as much as possible. The first important thing is to drive without the distraction of your smartphone. Obviously, you shouldn’t text or attempt to use the smartphone directly while you are driving, but I recommend that you avoid the smartphone entirely. If your car has onboard navigation, use that instead of Google or Apple Maps on your phone.

Also, don’t play the radio or music players loudly in the car while you’re driving. You need to be fully aware of all things going on around you, especially as you look out for potential hazards in the road ahead. All the above-mentioned are distractions that hinder your concentration.

Car skid during Advanced Driving course

Take an Advanced Driving Course for enhanced driving tips

It would be foolish as a new driver to consider passing your standard road test as being the end of your driving education. In fact, it is just the beginning. One of the best things you can do following that pass is to take a Pass Plus or other advanced driver courses. These advanced drivers training courses teach you how to become a better driver. Specifically, driving a car on the motorway, all-weather driving, defensive driving and more, all of which can make you more confident on the road. They can also help with cheap car insurance for new drivers!

A lot of the time, confidence is a life-saving attribute when you’re on the road. It allows you to drive with purpose and navigate your route more skilfully.

Never Forget the Blind Spot

Even if your new car has blind-spot monitoring, always remember to check your blind spot the old-fashioned way, too. So many accidents are caused by people only using their mirrors and forgetting to check the blind spot. This is especially true when travelling at higher speeds. When preparing to manoeuvre, especially on the motorway, always check your blind spot. There’s a reason your driving instructor drilled this into you when learning how to drive and why it’s a crucial part of passing your driving test.

Checking blind spot in the side mirror

Don’t Over Rely on ADAS

In the previous point, I mentioned blind-spot monitoring, but most new cars come with a host of ADAS.
What is ADAS? ADAS stands for Advanced Driver Assistance Systems designed to make driving simpler and safer. These are gadgets that will actively work to keep you, other drivers and pedestrians, safe. They are not a substitute for careful and vigilant driving on your part. Use ADAS for assistance, but don’t come to rely on them too much.

Don’t Get too Ambitious with Parking

As a new driver, your experience in tricky parking manoeuvres is limited. Particularly with reverse parking (aka parallel parking). If a space looks too tight, then keep looking. There’s no point rattling your confidence too much by failing to get into an impossible space. Trust me, I’ve been there! Keep practising your parking moves when you have spare time to improve your parking skills. If you’d like a post on how to parallel park or bay parking tips, let me know in the comments below. 

Similar to on-road ADAS systems, parking assist is also a feature you see more and more on cars nowadays. It can be useful when the parking move looks especially tricky, but as a new driver, you should favour trying to do the manoeuvre yourself. Every time you attempt, it’s practice. Just be realistic in your target spaces, and progress will come.

Stay safe on the roads with these driving tips

These tips for driving are not to patronise or scare anyone. If you only take one thing away from today’s piece, let it be this: passing your driving test is only the beginning of your on-road education. Remember that, stay humble and practical and you won’t go far wrong.

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