Tips For Learner Drivers
August 13, 2013 at 12:30 PM
Whether you have just become old enough to get your licence, or you're 60 and have never learned, learning to driver can be very hard and stressful. There are many aspects in learning how to drive, and in the end passing your test is only a minor part in the grand scheme of driving. Below are some tips that you are likely to not hear from your average driving instructor: these are tips that will keep your alive and safe on the road, rather than just getting your licence.
There are hazards absolutely everywhere on the road. The most important aspect of your safety will be your ability to recognize these, and to know how to deal with them. Common hazards include: wet road, ice-covered road, pot holes, and of course, other cars. Check the weather before leaving so you know what to expect for the day. Avoid known 'bad' roads to avoid large pot holes and bumpy surfaces, and keep an eye on the cars around you.
Be sure you don't look at the road directly in front of you, and look out onto the road ahead. This will take some adjusting to if you are accustomed to looking just in front of the car, but it will allow you to notice possibly dangers earlier.
The ... Second Rule
Have you heard of the two second rule? This is usually 'keep two seconds driving time between you and the car in front'. This isn't true. In fact, having a full three seconds of reaction time has been shown to prevent majority of accidents. While it may seem over the top, it could save your life. Now, this only applies to dry roads. If the road is wet, extend this to four seconds, and if it is icy, aim for ten.
Stress is a major factor in your driving skill. If you are very stressed, it will greatly affect your ability to react to a situation. As such, teaching yourself to be calm on the road will allow you to be a better driver. Usually this will come with time but aiming to remain calm when you start out can mean you also learn quicker, as you'll absorb more instead of simply 'freaking out'.
Choosing The Right Instructor
You should always drive with someone who not only knows what they are doing, but who you get along with. When you are learning from a non-qualified person (such as a family member or friend), look for someone who has a lot of experience behind the wheel, and who can teach you calmly. If they get frustrated easily, they will not be the best for teaching you how to drive.
As for qualified driving instructors, be sure to go to a driving school with a good reputation. Do a bit of research before you begin to pay, as some can be quite pricey. Also, from within that company try to choose an instructor who you trust and get along with; you will learn far better from them than from someone who you don't like and have no respect for.
As long as you follow these tips, you should be safer and a far more able driver on the road. Consider undergoing a defensive driving course, even if it is not mandatory. These are probably the best skills you can have while on the road, and could very well end up saving your life.