How to Become a Better Driver
Think back to when you first learned to drive. An adult in your life has probably told you that driving is a responsibility and a privilege, and while commuting daily to work may not seem like a privilege, you are still responsible for road safety. Whether you are an experienced driver or have just completed a driver training course, when it comes to driving, there is always room for improvement. Here are 10 things you can do to hone your safe and smart driving skills.
Take a Safe Driving Course
Online driving courses not only can save you money on car insurance or take points off your driving experience , but they are actually pretty good refresher courses for anyone who has driven for a while, and the answers to these tests are driving licenses remain hazy memories. Do you know how to determine how far ahead of you a car should be based on your speed? Know the difference between DUI and DWI, and how many drinks can hurt you for each one? Things like this are covered in these courses.
Park with precision
Parking is (usually) easy when you’re comfortable with it, but in tight spaces or when you’re new to reversing, it’s helpful to know a few tricks. Here’s an infographic on Parallel Parking, Reverse and Forward Parking, and step-by-step instructions for Parallel Parking. If you need some extra parking assistance and are out of luck with a car with a backup camera, consider these DIY sound sensors for your vehicle .
Keep your hands on the steering wheel in the correct positions
For decades, driving instructors have taught students to keep their hands on the steering wheel at the 10 and 2 positions on the clock. These rules have changed over the past few years, so now you have to keep your hands lower, at 9 and 3 or 8 and 4. This gives you more control and stability while driving, and is also the most ergonomic position. hold hands for a long time. If you allow your muscles to be more relaxed and you can better control your vehicle, you will immediately become a better driver.
Adjust mirrors to hide blind spots
As in the previous case, there is a better way to position the mirrors than you may have been taught: adjust the side mirrors so far outward that they just cover the rearview mirror. Here’s an illustration .
Don’t drive when you are sleepy (or not alert)
We all know the dangers of drunk driving, but severe sleep deprivation can also harm you (some people even fall asleep !) – and one in six fatal accidents involves a sleepy driver, according to one study. … Anytime your mental capacity may be compromised – whether it be alcohol, poor sleep, new medications, or even a terrible cold – it’s time to stay out of the way or find alternatives to driving.
Don’t worry about speeding
We all want to get to our destination earlier, but as it turns out, speeding does increase the risk of an accident or speeding ticket. Here’s the math behind this and why you’re better off just driving at or below the recommended speed.
Know how to best drive traffic
Ineffective lane consolidation leads to traffic, road rage and accidents. Some people are aggressive, while others politely take their place in the lane long before the exit. The best and most effective solution for all of us is to stay calm and merge with each other. (It was worth a try. At least when merging or when others are trying to merge, be patient, but also don’t be the guy holding the whole lane. We can work together to improve traffic for everyone .)
Manage tough driving conditions like a boss
Even the most experienced drivers can be confused by hazardous conditions. Here’s how to drive in extreme winter weather (including on bare ice ), how to see better when driving at night , how to drive safely on a two-lane road, and why you should wear sunglasses but not cruise control while driving. it’s raining.
Eliminate distractions and know where you are going
By now, we all know that writing text messages while driving is dangerous and prohibited by law . It is safe to drive a car using a mobile phone , but it’s better to just turn it off and put it in your bag if you don’t need it for navigation. However, your cell phone is not the only problem. If you eat while driving, fiddle with the radio, or have an overly talkative passenger, you won’t be able to drive either. The dangers of texting while driving rightfully gets a lot of attention, but driving distraction in general is a major concern.
In this regard: distraction from not knowing where you are or exactly how to get where you want to go. Even with your phone’s or car’s navigation system, you could say, “Wait, which highway should I take?” and in a panic take a sudden dangerous step. Before driving, try to cover your route as much as possible – even with Google Street View so you get used to landmarks and difficult intersections before getting in your car.
Finally, as the great people at Jalopnik point out in their article on driving skills , the best way to get better is to drive more – consciously, of course, with the above in mind. It’s a skill, after all, and we shouldn’t take too much for granted.
This story was originally published on 6/28/14 and updated on 10/14/19 to provide more complete and up-to-date information.