We all think that we’re great at driving but this is common, when really we all have questionable behavior behind the wheel at times. It’s often taken for granted that a car is a very powerful and dangerous piece of machinery that can cause serious harm.
It’s not about just following the rules, but also improving your own skills and ability. There are some easy ways to improve your driving skills not only keeping your safer but also the vehicles that you’re sharing the road with.
Throughout this guide, we’ll go through the quick wins you can incorporate into your everyday driving routine.
Of course, the best way to become a better driver is to drive more often. If you’re not confident behind the wheel but you only drive your car once a month then you need to drive more frequently then you’ll become more confident and calm. Practice won’t make you perfect but it will definitely make you better.
Also, if you’re used to driving the same route day in day out, explore into a new part of the area. This will take you out of your comfort zone having to adapt to different environments improving your skills as a driver.
It’s good to be confident but not overconfidence because thousands of accidents happen each year and the majority are down to driver human error.
2. Remove Distractions
We already know how dangerous operating your cell phone is whilst driving and that its against the law. You’re better off just turning it off or onto airplane mode so you don’t feel tempted to fiddle with it when you’re driving.
Cell phones aren’t just the only distraction, because you can be trying to juggle food, fiddling with the sound system or being disturbed by a passenger. The main point is to avoid being distracted.
3. Know Your Route
Not knowing the route, you should be taking is a strong distraction. Even if you use a sat nav we often find ourselves wondering if it’s “this left or the next left”. Before setting off on your journey have a look at the route so you have a rough idea of the route so you’re already aware of any difficult parts or intersections
4. Stay Within the Speed Limit
Speeding is not only dangerous, but you also risk getting caught which leads to a fine and sanctions against your license. Also, the faster you drive, the more fuel you’ll use so this will also affect your bank balance. This is before we’ve even got to the increased risk of causing an accident.
We all want to get to the final destination as soon as possible but driving at the speed limit makes little difference to your final destination arrival time.
5. Enrol in a Defensive Driving Course
Enlisting yourself in these types of course can save you money on the cost of your insurance policy but can also remove points off your license. They will also be a good refresher for those that have been driving for many years and may have forgotten the basics.
By doing these courses this will build your confidence and assure you that you know the correct driving code, and the courses are very affordable and are usually under $50.
6. Brake More Effectively
Braking is an art and should be learned. You should start slight and increase the pressure on the brake finishing lightly. Breaking in this way will allow other motorist to react to your braking instead of them having to suddenly react to your instant braking.
Braking in this way also puts less wear and tear on to your brakes which not only means that they need to be replaced less regularly but also saves fuel.
7. Don’t Tailgate
Tailgating should not be done and is a dangerous driving habit of following too close to the vehicle in front of you. This is not only unsafe but often makes drivers in front annoyed anxious. Usually the two second rule needs to be followed and this should be extended in bad conditions such as snow or heavy rain where braking distance is extended.
8. Look Ahead
A key part of driving is anticipation, and you should anticipate ahead of just the vehicle directly in front of you. If you follow our tailgating two second rule then you will instantly be better placed to react to sudden changes that may happen further down the road.
9. Accelerate Smoothly
Accelerating and decelerating smoothly can save you a significant amount of fuel in the long term. This also makes driving safer as the vehicles sharing the road wont have to suddenly react to you slamming on the accelerator. This is easier if you anticipate the road ahead.
When you’re entering bends, you should decrease your speed and then begin to accelerate slowly once you have come out the other end. If you brake mid bend then this can cause your car to go out of balance resulting in a loss of control.
10. Take Breaks
Sleep related crashes are twice as likely to lead to serious injury or death because you are less likely to react. If you’re planning to take a long journey then you should factor in additional time to account for rest stops.
If you feel tired mid journey then the best ways to reenergize yourself would be to take a rest stop at the nearest freeway garage or to drink a strong cup of coffee or energy drink.
11. Stay Sober
You should never attempt to drive under the influence of alcohol as this can seriously impair your ability to operate a vehicle, as it will slow down your reaction times meaning that you may not brake or react to changes in the road as quickly as you would if you were sober. If in doubt, don’t drive.
Hundreds of people are killed in drink related accidents each year and its not just the drivers who suffer, but often passengers, people in other cars, cyclists, pedestrians or motorcyclists, as well as the families of all involved.