Both adult and teen driving school programs teach drivers how to drive a vehicle on the road safely. They focus on the basics and teach how to navigate tough situations. While the basics are covered, they are also the items that most drivers go on to forget after driving classes are done. To help keep the roads safer, it is important to review these basics every few years. Here are some of the most common mistakes new drivers make on the road.
- Not Making Adjustments First. When a driver first enters a vehicle, they should immediately fix the settings for their height and preference. Adjusting the seat is critical to reaching the pedals, gear shifts, and viewing the road. Mirrors should be adjusted to give the driver an optimal view around and behind the car. These adjustments should be made before pulling out of a parking spot or driveway, not while the driver is going down the road.
- Driving Too Fast or Too Slow. It seems that new drivers are either driving too fast or too slow. It is important to not drive over the speed limit because it is too dangerous, but it is also dangerous to drive too slow. Without going too fast, drivers should keep up with the flow of traffic. Both extremes can cause problems, so be mindful of driving the right speed.
- Following Too Close. No matter what speed you are going, it is important to leave enough distance between your car and the one in front of you. This way, if there is a need for a sudden stop like a blown tire, car crash, or something running in the road, you have enough time to stop without crashing into the car in front of you. While some people want to know how many feet they should leave, the current standard is leaving a three-second following distance between your cars. This standard allows you to adjust the distance based on speed for the most safety.
- Not Using Turn Signals. Turn signals are used to alert drivers around you about what you are intending to do. This helps cars know when you are passing them, merging in front of them, or slowing down to make a turn. When other drivers know your intentions, they can adjust their speed and actions to avoid a crash. It is important to always use your turn signal, even if you are in a turning lane.
- Driving Distracted. Since cell phones have become a widespread problem with drivers, it is covered in almost every driving school. Even though most people acknowledge they are a problem, drivers still admit that they use them behind the wheel. Distracted driving isn’t limited to cellphone use though. Passengers, eating, and picking something up off the ground are all forms of distracted driving. Remember to always keep your eyes and mind on the road to keep you and all the other drivers safe.
New drivers need a little extra guidance on driving safely, but they are not the only ones. Remember to review the basics and practice them. Getting too comfortable behind the wheel of a car can lead to lazy maneuvers and over-confidence on the road. Take time to commit to mastering the basics and helping new drivers master them too.