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Summary
  • Driving can get dangerous, especially for new drivers. Following these tips can make the experience safer and less nerve-wracking.
  • Follow the traffic rules, be mindful of your speed, wear your seat belt, focus on the road, and make yourself comfortable.
  • It also helps to keep your distance from the vehicle ahead, prepare for emergencies, don’t drive drunk, and communicate with other drivers.

If you’re a new driver, it’s your responsibility to learn how to navigate various conditions, from bumper-to-bumper traffic and deserted freeways to sloping streets and sudden downpours.

Driving can get dangerous, and the journey to being a proficient and responsible driver is a challenging yet fulfilling endeavor. Getting your license is a great start. It also helps to keep the following driving tips for newer drivers.

Follow the Traffic Rules

You don’t want to be that guy getting blasted with car horns because he ran an orange light and nearly caused a catastrophic intersection accident. The best way to avoid that is to pay attention to road signs and keep traffic rules in mind.

Traffic rules are imposed to ensure everyone’s safety on the road and keep the traffic flowing and organized. Consider speed limits. People who disregard them are more at risk of getting into devastating accidents, as collisions at racing speeds mean higher impact and greater damage.

Plus, disobeying traffic can also result in hefty fines. For example, in California, running a red light is a $500 ticket.

Slow Down

Make sure your speed matches the driving conditions. Speeding on a deserted freeway is one thing, but zooming through congested and busy streets is a major no-no. You could easily crash into the vehicle in front or into innocent pedestrians.

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In 2021, reports show that 29% of traffic fatalities involved speeding. An alarming statistic you can avoid being a part of by maintaining a safe speed.

While it’s impossible to have everyone slow down, minding your speed makes a difference because it’s one less driver to be wary of on the road.

Wear Your Seat Belt

Always wear your seat belt when you get behind the wheel, and you should also encourage your passengers to secure theirs.

Seat belts can prevent passengers from getting thrown out in case of crashes. They also help lower the risk of devastating injuries, such as spinal cord injuries and internal organ damage.

Many reports support the life-saving capabilities of seat belts. For example, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that seat belts save 15,000 lives annually.

Focus on the Road

male new driver focused
While it might seem like an obvious tip, you’d be surprised how many drivers get distracted behind the wheel.

While it might seem like an obvious tip, you’d be surprised how many drivers get distracted behind the wheel. Distractions can be anything from watching an event outside the vehicle to snacking or reaching for something in the glove compartment.

Using electronic devices is probably the most common driving distraction. When you send texts or navigate a map on your phone, you shift your focus off the road.

The few seconds you spend with your eyes on your device could mean the difference between a safe trip. According to the NHTSA, there were 396 fatalities as a direct result of texting and driving in 2020.

If you’re still not convinced, it only takes five seconds of driving at 55 mph to travel the length of an entire football field. Imagine driving that distance with your eyes closed. The risk of colliding with a pedestrian or motorist is massive.

Be Comfortable

Making yourself comfortable isn’t just about playing your favorite tunes or having your go-to take-out coffee by your side. Sure, those will help make drives more relaxing, but we’re talking about adjusting your seats and mirrors.

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Finding the right seat distance helps you grip the steering wheel more comfortably and ensures you have enough legroom for the brake and gas pedals. A rule you can follow is there should be at least two finger gaps between the back of your knee and the seat.

As for the side and rear-view mirrors, make sure you have a clear image of the vehicles behind you.

For the side-view mirrors, your vehicle’s body must only take up 20% of the space, while the rest encompasses the road. For the rear-view mirror, you should see it entirely without moving your head.

Keep Distance

Always keep your distance with the car in front. Tailgating is dangerous because it increases the odds of crashing should the driver in front suddenly step on the brake.

The National Safety Council recommends following the three-second rule when there’s a vehicle in front.

Pick an object on the road, and when the vehicle ahead passes it, start counting to three. If you pass the same point before reaching three, it means you’re too close.

You can also follow the 10-mile rule. For every 10 miles per hour of speed, keep a distance of one car length between you and the vehicle in front.

Prepare for Emergencies

Before setting out for the road, always ensure you’re equipped with everything you could need in case the worst happens. This includes having your driver’s license and other driving documents ready if you get pulled over.

Of course, preparation should also oversee potential road accidents and collisions. Get a first-aid kit from your local pharmacy. The kits don’t take up much space, so you can place one or two under the seats or in the glove compartment or the trunk.

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Also, bring protein bars, snacks, easy-open canned goods, and other easy-to-eat food when you plan on being on the road for an extended period. Driving on an empty stomach could be dangerous because it could lead to lightheadedness or nausea.

Drive Sober

One of the leading causes of driving-related fatalities is driving under the influence. In 2021, 13,384 people lost their lives because of drunk driving, which was a 14% increase compared to 2020. The sad part is these numbers were all preventable if the drivers sobered up before getting behind the wheel or took a cab home.

If you’re going to a party and want to drive, stick to mocktails and other non-alcoholic beverages. Or, if you really want to drink, commute to the venue and take a taxi home. The money you’ll save on drunk driving instead of commuting isn’t worth it.

Communicate With Other Drivers

The two main communication mediums on the road are the blinkers and the car horn. Using them properly alerts the other drivers of your intentions. Something as simple as using the blinkers to indicate you’re switching lanes goes a long way in preventing collisions.

Similarly, you should always use your car horn if you’re planning on overtaking to alert the driver in front that you need space to maneuver.

About The Author
Written By Automotive and Tech Writers

The CarParts.com Research Team is composed of experienced automotive and tech writers working with (ASE)-certified automobile technicians and automotive journalists to bring up-to-date, helpful information to car owners in the US. Guided by CarParts.com's thorough editorial process, our team strives to produce guides and resources DIYers and casual car owners can trust.

Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.

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