Driving a car is a big responsibility, and we want new drivers to be as prepared as possible. Wrench has compiled a list of tips to ensure the safety of everyone on the road. Not only can new drivers benefit from these tips, but so can anyone else. It is easy to get comfortable if you have been driving for many years, so it can be good to go back to the basics and remind yourself to be mindful. If you are a parent and are about to enter the terrifying world that is your child on the road, a Wrench mobile mechanic would be happy to come to your house and perform a diagnosis on your vehicle to make sure that it is completely safe to drive. Abide by these tips and you will be a smart and safe driver on the road!
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- Avoid tailgating. Driving too close to the car in front of you causes many accidents that could have been easily avoidable had the driver in the back kept their distance. Aim to keep at least two car lengths between you and the car in front of you; if they stop quickly, you will have time to react and stop with plenty of room to spare. It is also frustrating and stressful to be the driver getting tailgated, so it is better to avoid it at all costs.
- Pay attention to the signs. It is important to recognize and follow the signs that you see to avoid breaking the law or getting in an accident. If you are confused about what a sign means, remember what it looks like and consult a friend or the internet when you get home. Additionally, different places will have different speed limits, so it is crucial to keep your eyes peeled for these signs in order to stay within the legal limits. Many cities have school zones, where you are required by law to drive slower at certain times of the day when children are going to and from school. Failing to follow this traffic law can sometimes result in a several-hundred-dollar fine. It is also important to obey all traffic signs to avoid getting a ticket or your car towed (hint: your parents will not be very pleased if this happens).
- Learn to drive in all weather conditions. Freaking out the first time in rains or snows while you’re behind the wheel is quite possibly the worst thing you could do in this kind of weather, so it is good to be prepared for anything. If you know that the weather is going to be different from what you are used to, bring an experienced driver with you the first time for guidance and moral support. Cars are built for all kinds of weather, so you do not have to worry about that unless your vehicle is very old or damaged. If this is the case, we recommend hiring a Wrench mobile mechanic to take a look at your vehicle and determine the best course of action.
- Get regular check ups. Speaking of our mobile mechanics, it is good to get regular check ups done on your vehicle to ensure that it is safe to drive at all times. Follow the maintenance schedule in your owner’s manual to get regular oil changes, brake checks, etc. and keep your car running smoothly.
- Know your car. Be familiar with the car that you drive most often; what the lights mean on the dashboard, how to put on the parking brake, etc. There are things that vary from car-to-car and it is important to be mindful of this if you ever find yourself driving a vehicle that you are unfamiliar with. Adjust everything to the correct settings when you get in the car. Make sure that your seat and mirrors are in the correct positions to maximize safety and visibility. It is also great for new drivers to learn how to change a flat tire, as this is a very important life skill to have and will make you look cool in front of your friends (and also save you time and money).
- Give others the right of way. When in doubt, let the other person go, because it is always better to be nice than aggressive (not just when driving but also in life).
- Have a safety kit. Be prepared for anything! You never know when you are going to break down or get in an accident, and it might be a little while before help comes. Make sure your car is equipped with jumper cables, a spare tire, a flashlight, water, snacks, and a blanket (to name a few).
- Nothing inside the car is more important than what is outside. Keep your eyes on the road ahead and do not let yourself get distracted by your friends in the back or whatever is on the radio. It is good to constantly be looking ahead, not just at the car directly in front of you. If you see someone’s brake lights go on a couple cars ahead, chances are you will have to brake in the near future and you want to be ready for it.
- If you are questioning it, you probably shouldn’t be doing it. Avoid running the yellow light, passing a car on a one-lane street, or parking somewhere that you are not sure is a space. If you have to question whether it is legal or not, it probably isn’t. Even if it is legal and you didn’t know it at the time, at least you will have erred on the side of caution.
- Avoid anything that will hinder your driving abilities. Texting, eating, driving under the influence of anything (this should go without saying), and driving while tired should be avoided at all costs. No ifs, ands, or buts, because you are putting your life, and other peoples’ lives in danger when you do so.
- No cellphones!! This is so important that it deserves its own tip. Your cellphone will never be more helpful than harmful, so it is better to just turn it off or keep it in the glove compartment while you are driving. If you get lost or need to communicate with someone, wait until you can pull over to use your phone.
- Don’t get comfortable. Once you have been driving for a little while, you might be feeling more confident in yourself and your driving skills. Although it is great to be feeling confident on the road, you do not want this to hinder your attentiveness in any way. If you find yourself getting comfortable driving a certain route because you drive it everyday, try to practice some of the other tips so that you do not find yourself spacing out or getting distracted. Similarly, do not assume anything. Do not try to predict what another driver is going to do (i.e. accelerate through a yellow light, stop at a stop sign, etc.), because you never know when they might make a mistake or not see you. It is always better to err on the side of caution, because it is better to be safe than sorry.
This may seem like a lot, but driving is a big responsibility. Remember that anytime you get in the car, you are responsible for the safety of yourself, your passengers, and every other driver you encounter on the road. With that being said, driving is also fun and exciting and will make you the most popular friend in your group - especially if you are the first one with a license!
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