Being a new driver on the road is both exciting and scary, and the best thing you can do is be prepared! The Wrench team of mobile mechanics is here to help in any way we can, whether that be providing educational resources like this one or coming out to your location to tune up our car before you hit the road. We thought it would be helpful to put together the ultimate guide for new drivers that you can reference whenever you find yourself needing some advice. Here you will find our best advice for new drivers, some of the best cars for new drivers, and some extra tips for making the most out of your car. By the end of this guide, you will be fully equipped to tackle anything the road has to offer, so stick around!Get a free quote
Best Advice for New Drivers
- Get to know your vehicle. We recommend you use the same vehicle if possible when you are learning how to drive so you can become comfortable with its features and how it drives. One of the first things you should do when you get in the car is adjust all the settings to best suit you, whether it is your first time getting in the car or your 100th time. This includes moving the seat to where you can easily access both pedals and grip the steering wheel comfortably, adjust your mirrors to minimize blind spots and increase visibility and make sure to turn the lights on if it is early in the morning on late at night. Other things to know are where the parking brake is (and how to use it), what the lights on the dashboard mean, and how to work the turn signals. Forming habits like these is one of the best ways to keep you safe on the road for the rest of your life.
- Watch your blind spots. As we mentioned earlier, you can adjust your mirrors to minimize blind spots, but they will always exist to a certain degree. This makes it extremely critical that you are constantly checking your mirrors for cars behind you and on either side, especially if you are going to be changing lanes. Not only should you be checking your mirrors, but you should also always check behind you when changing lanes to make sure you have not missed anything. These simple reminders will help you be the safest driver on the road!
- Avoid tailgating. You were probably taught in driver’s education to keep a safe distance from the car in front of you, but sometimes this is easier said than done. Consistently remind yourself to keep at least two lengths between you and the driver in front of you, as this has proven to help avoid accidents and gives you plenty of time to brake in the event that the car stops quickly. Sometimes this may feel like too much, especially if you are stuck in heavy traffic, but there is no downside to keeping your distance, and can also help other cars on the road who are trying to change lanes or merge.
- Get experience in all weather conditions. If you are from southern California or even the Pacific Northwest, you may not be exposed to all weather conditions when you are learning how to drive. It is extremely important that the first time you drive in heavy rain is not also the first time you are driving on your own. Even worse, you do not want to find yourself having to drive in the snow - no matter how light - if it is a condition you have never experienced before. If you see that the weather is changing, grab an experienced driver and get out on the road for a little while to familiarize yourself with how your car reacts. If you are driving in the rain or snow, make sure to leave even more room in front of you than normal to account for any slipping that may occur. Remember, cars are built to handle all weather conditions, so as long as you drive safely you will be completely fine. However, if you have previously noticed any issues with your windshield wipers, brakes, or lights, now is a great time to schedule an appointment with a Wrench mobile mechanic in order to be proactive about your vehicle’s maintenance. Check out the Wrench blog for more advice on driving in the rain or winter weather.
- Always use your blinkers. While this may seem obvious, you would not believe how many accidents result from failure to signal properly. Your turn signals notify other drivers on the road when you are planning on changing lanes, making a turn, or pulling off to the side of the road. If you do not indicate what you are doing, you cannot expect other drivers to know how to respond. Making a habit of using your blinkers even when no one is around will allow it to soon become muscle memory so you do not even have to think about it when you are on the road.
- Keep an emergency kit handy. While this may not be the first thing they tell you in driver’s ed, it is extremely critical to your safety on the road. Having a safety kit in the back of your car will ensure that you are prepared for anything, whether it be waiting for AAA to come and jump-start your car or sitting through a snowstorm. Safety kit essentials include jumper cables, spare tire, water, non-perishable snacks, blanket, flashlight, portable charger, and a tool kit (to name a few).
- No cellphones! We cannot express enough how important it is to keep your eyes on the road at all times and avoid any distractions. Cellphone use in vehicles is a huge cause of accidents every year and is so easily avoidable. Before you get in the car, tell your friends that you are driving and cannot talk, then put your phone in the glovebox and do not take it out until you get to your destination. If you have a sound system that you can connect your phone to, choose a playlist before you leave so you do not have to tap around on your phone looking for the right song. IMPORTANT: This includes red lights too! Just because you are stopped on the road does not mean you can pull your phone out. Sing along to your music, look at the world around you, and keep your eyes on the road for when the light changes.
- Don’t get comfortable! Once you have been driving for a little while, it is easy to feel like you have gotten the hang of it and can relax. Unfortunately, this is when the accidents happen, because drivers get lazy on the road. Do not forget all of the great advice we have given you just because you are a seasoned driver! These tips are great for all drivers on the road, not just new ones, so make sure to remind yourself to always drive defensively and brush up on this advice every once and a while.
Best Cars for New Drivers
Wrench has a great article on the best cars for new drivers, but as part of the Ultimate Guide For New Drivers, we figured we would do you a favor and consolidate everything right here, and add a few more that have recently become more popular. Be sure to check out the article for a detailed description of each car and why it is such a great fit for new drivers.
- Honda Fit. This stays at the top of our list because of its consistent safety on the road. Safety features on the 2020 Fit include a backup camera, blind spot sensors, automatic emergency braking, and more! You can get a model with these features for less than $20,000, making it one of the most affordable new cars on the market.
- Toyota Prius. This car is consistently one of the top safety picks due to its braking system and vehicle stability control. It is also a hybrid, making it a great option for a new car for environmental reasons
- Ford Escape. A new addition to our list, the Ford Escape is the perfect compact SUV to keep you safe on the road. Along with its advanced safety features, it also has Ford MyKey technology, which allows parents to set speed and sound volume limits if their child is driving. If you feel safer in a larger car, this is a great option!
- Mazda 3. This sporty yet affordable car is another great option for new drivers who prefer a smaller car with high-end safety features. The Mazda 3 comes in both a sedan and hatchback style depending on your preferences.
- Honda CR-V. Another small SUV on our list is the Honda CR-V, which is consistently ranked high for safety, affordability, and overall comfort. This is an extremely popular car among young adults; it is the perfect size for a college driver!
Check out the Wrench blog linked above for a more detailed description of our favorite cars for new drivers. The best advice we can give is to do a lot of research before purchasing and be sure to test drive the car to get a sense of how it feels. For the best Wrench tips on buying a new car, click here! If you are thinking about taking the route of a used car, there are a ton of great options out there as well! Lucky for you, Wrench has all of the advice for buying a used car, including what to look for, the most common used car myths, and how to tell which car is right for you.
Tips for Making Your Car Last
Finally, we wanted to offer some helpful advice for extending the life of your car. Understanding how to take care of your car from the start of your driving career sets you up for a lifetime of success with your vehicle’s lifespans. When it comes to making your car last, the best thing you can do is follow the maintenance schedule in your vehicle’s owner’s manual and schedule an appointment with a Wrench mobile mechanic if you fall behind on maintenance, or sense that something may be wrong. Beyond that, follow these Wrench tips and you will be driving your car for 200,000 miles or more!
- Keep your battery healthy. When taken care of properly, your car’s battery can last 14 years or longer. That being said, it does not stay healthy by sitting around. While you may think that your car will last longer if it does not get as much driving time, but cars are meant to be driven. If you are planning on letting your car sit in the driveway or garage for an extended period of time, it is a good idea to drive it around the neighborhood for 15-30 minutes are so every week. This will keep the battery healthy, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic when people are on the roads less than usual.
- Check and change your filters regularly. If left alone, dirt and debris can build up and lead to larger issues down the road. When you schedule an oil change with a Wrench mobile mechanic, they will automatically switch the filter, but it is a good thing to keep in mind when taking care of your car.
- Wash your car regularly. While this may seem insignificant, washing your car regularly can prevent rust from accumulating. This is especially important during the winter months when there is salt on the road because this can lead to corrosion in the metal.
- Take care of your tires. Good tires are the foundation of your car and are extremely crucial to your safety. Make sure you are monitoring your tire pressure regularly, checking for uneven tread wear, and rotating your tires when necessary. If you are wondering whether it is time for new tires, click here!
Getting your license and hitting the road is extremely exciting! We hope that Wrench was able to answer some of your questions about being a new driver and prepare you for this next chapter of your life. If you have further questions about our services or using Wrench during a global pandemic, feel free to talk to our customer service team through email, firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone, at 844-997-3624.
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