Driving alone for the first time is a unique experience. It’s exciting and freeing, but it’s also nerve-wracking. Especially since 46% of first-year drivers get into an accident.
But never fear, because we’ve listed the top driving tips to help you safely navigate the open roads. Let’s explore.
1. Leave Your Phone Alone
Driving basics 101: Put the phone away.
You should have your phone nearby for an emergency. But you do not want to be glancing at your screen while on the road. That’s called distracted driving, and it was responsible for 2,840 deaths in 2018.
If you’re easily distracted by your phone, leave it upside down in your passenger seat or stash it in your center console. You can also put your phone on silent, airplane mode, or “Do Not Disturb.” That way, you won’t be tempted to send a quick text at the wheel.
2. Stay Alert When Driving Alone for the First Time
When driving for the first time, keep your focus on the road at all times. Alertness is one of your best tools in preventing an accident.
Pay attention to what’s going on in front, around, and behind you. Observing odd behavior can help you anticipate another driver’s mistake and avoid a collision. This is known as defensive driving.
Not only should you remain alert for other drivers, but you also need to be attentive in regards to the proper right of way rules.
Sure, you may have memorized who gets to go first at a four-way interaction, but it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you’re out on the road alone. Staying alert can help you assess a situation and know when it’s your turn to go.
3. Make Sure Your Vehicle Is Good to Go
One of the best tips for new drivers is to always make sure their vehicle is road-ready before pulling out of the driveway.
Take a quick peek under your vehicle and make sure there are no leaks. If you spot liquid around or smell something funky, don’t drive.
You’ll also want to check the tire pressure. The air in your tires fluctuates depending on the season. Your owner’s manual should list the correct pressure for your tires. Use a tire gauge — which is a tool every driver should keep in their car — to assess the pressure.
Finally, when you hop into your car, make sure there is plenty of gas in the tank. If there are any blinking lights on your dashboard, turn off your vehicle, and ask for help.
4. Keep Calm and Drive Safely
While behind the wheel, do what you need to do to stay calm.
If that means turning off the radio and driving in silence, so be it. But for many, playing music helps them feel less nervous. If silence makes you tense up, switch on some mellow music at a low volume.
New drivers should also be careful about who they let into their car. For your first few trips, stick to driving alone. The more people in the vehicle, the more distractions. Do what makes you feel comfortable and calm, even if that means telling friends you can’t give them a ride.
Let’s Keep Learning
Driving alone for the first time can be overwhelming. But when you take the right steps to create a safe vehicle with few distractions, it’s not so bad.
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