It doesn’t matter for how long you’ve been driving, there is always a lot of room for improvement. As with any skill, you need to be consciously aware of your driving abilities and learn as much as you can when you can. Even if you believe that you are the Schumacher of the driving world, you have to keep building on your ability to be a good driver and for that to happen, you have to continue to learn. The laws of the road are updated from time to time as we better learn how to behave while we are behind the wheel. Even the actual Schumacher’s of the world are learning all the time.
Improving your driving skills and ensuring that you have a better understanding of the road rules is vital if you want to ensure that you are the best possible driver that you can be. The last thing that you need is to have to be stopped all the time for DUI breathalyzer tests because of your driving skills! Below, we’ve put together ten ways you can be a better driver and avoid points and demerits on your license.
- Know The Rules. When was the last time that you read your driving handbook? Most people read it when they’re learning and then put it down again. It may be that you need to update your knowledge and all it could take is re-reading that handbook to acquaint yourself with the rules of the road. A refresher from time to time is important so that you can stay abreast of the rules. Make sure that it’s not the same handbook from 30 years ago, though!
- Stay Clean. It’s not always nice to be the designated driver, but it’s always nice to be the driver who is clean on the road. With the right attitude, you can ensure that you don’t drive with anything in your system and stay able to concentrate on the road. If you avoid any drink and drugs (in general, not just on the road) you can also avoid a DUI. The effects can be devastating, including charges of manslaughter if you are driving under the influence.
- Go On A Course. Remember we talked about continuing your education as a driver? Well, that includes making sure that you take a course from time to time. Driving schools are always offering refresher courses, which will improve any bad habits you’ve slipped into as a driver, and driving schools will support you while you complete courses. There’s nothing wrong with relearning something that has slipped your mind, so take the time to correct any issues you’re having.
- Say No to Lifts. If you are new to driving, it may be smarter to refuse that “lift around the corner” for your friends. It’s nice to show off a little, but the problem with new drivers like you is that there is a need to show off a little – which is what you want to avoid. Passengers, noise, music – these are all distractions on the road and you don’t need to worry about distractions if you can avoid them. It’s much easier to say no now, than deal with a crash later. Wait until you’re a more confident, competent driver before you start offering your friends a lift here, there and everywhere.
- Go Smoothly. As you learn to be a better driver, you can learn to be smooth in your actions. From moving your hand from the driving stick to the wheel, you can move from each thing easily without jerky movements and stumbling over what you need to do. Drive as if you have a hot coffee on the dash, and you won’t be so generous with the brake. The smoother you drive, the happier you and everyone else will be on the road.
- Look. It sounds so simple, but looking where you are going is so important when you are driving. After some time behind the wheel, it’s easy to slip into auto mode when you drive. As in, suddenly you’re at home and you have no idea how you got there? This happens as you become more seasoned as a driver, and your unconscious brain learns to see things that your eyes don’t see anymore, such as lampposts. You need to look where you’re going, and you have to learn to keep your brain focused on the road.
- Keep Your Distance. This should be in the manual and it should be an automatic thing to do, but you need to keep a safe distance from other drivers on the road. It’s a no-brainer if you want to ensure that you don’t hit the person in front if they need to brake suddenly. It happens, and emergencies happen, too. You have to consider the other people on the road, and your road conduct being good means not hugging the back of another car!
- Know Your Strengths. Are you good at lane discipline but rubbish at parking? Do you tailgate? If you know your strengths on the road, then it makes sense to know your weaknesses, too. If you know that you have limits on the road, you will be a far better driver for recognizing them. Knowing the limits means that you will know when to make changes and upgrades to the way in which you drive. You’re never too old for self-improvement, and not only will you be able to explore new things, you’re going to have fun with it.
- Sleep Well. Fatigue on the road is a killer, and there is no way you should ever be risking it. Drowsiness can creep up on you and it happens even to the best drivers. Don’t let it run you off the road: pull over and sleep! You need to save your own life, and this is the way to do it!
- Remove Distractions. No radio or phone, no passengers, no coffee cups – avoiding distractions will make you a much better driver. Invest in yourself and the safety of other people and don’t put them at risk if you know you’ll forget to concentrate if you’re singing while driving.