As a new driver, there are lots of interesting bits and pieces of information out there that will help you on your way to becoming a better road user. However, if there’s one piece of information that should really help you, it’s this: the learning doesn’t stop once you’ve got your license. Don’t, under any circumstances, think you can fall into lazy habits or that you need to stop being vigilant on the road.
Don’t Get Cocky
One thing you’ll notice with a number of new drivers is that they’re disproportionately cocky to the amount of experience they have on the road. Getting cocky isn’t something any driver should do on the road, whether you have three weeks experience or three decades. If you get cocky, you’ll get complacent. Every driver should be prepared to practice defensive driving techniques whenever they get behind the wheel.
Avoid Peer Pressure
If you’re a young new driver, one thing you’ll have to contend with at some point is peer pressure. It can be too tempting to drive faster than you’re comfortable with, but showing off is one of the main cause of accidents and rear-end collisions. Imagine writing off your car when you’ve only just got on the road – or worse. These things do happen, so avoiding peer pressure is a must. Don’t have too many people in the car at once, and don’t allow them to pressure you into driving a certain way. Be firm and say no.
Everything Can Be A Distraction
When you’re a new driver, everything can be a distraction. Lots of people in the car can be a distraction, loud music can be a distraction, even being able to see your phone can be a distraction if you get calls and notifications while you’re on the road. Your goal should be to minimize distractions every time you get on the road. Even participating in a conversation can be a distraction. Failing to concentrate could cost you your life, a loved one’s life, or another road users life.
New drivers can get a bad reputation, so make sure you pay close attention to this advice and do what you can to minimize your risk on the road. You can take the following steps to ensure you’re not posing a risk to other drivers:
- Put your phone in the glovebox
- Avoid having too many people in your car at once
- Let people know that you won’t be talking much so you can concentrate
- Don’t have your music on too loud
- Make sure you know when not to drive, e.g. when the conditions are bad, when you’re hungover, or when you’ve barely had any sleep
- Take bonus driving courses, such as defensive driving so you can easily preempt what other drivers may be doing on the road and how you can prevent an accident
- Always remain open to learning new things
The learning never stops. It doesn’t stop when you have your license, and it doesn’t stop when you’ve been driving a long time. Things are constantly changing, so don’t get complacent!