If you don't feel fully at ease while driving, you are not alone. Driving is still a new experience and there is a lot to know. Even veteran drivers encounter situations that are new and unfamiliar. Maybe you need a little help to feel more confident in your car. Here's a list of tips and tricks for boosting your skills that will help you feel safer behind the wheel.
1. Know Your Strong and Weak Points
Even though you have your license, likely there are skills you haven't mastered yet. The reality of the road can feel very different than the protected environment of a driver's test.
Admitting you don't know something is a good thing. It gives you the awareness to learn. For example, parallel parking can be hard for a lot of people, even experienced drivers. Make a list of what you know and what you'd like to learn.
2. Slow Down
Drive more slowly, especially if the road conditions are difficult. This is a top tip for driving in hazardous winter weather. Let's say you're driving through rain or a snowstorm. The simple act of slowing down buys you time to react. Also, your vehicle's tires are better able to grip the road if you are driving slower. So, taking the foot off the gas is often a good way to keep you safe.
3. Practice Driving in Different Conditions
Did you know that newly licensed drivers are at a greater risk for an accident? You've heard the saying, "Practice makes perfect." Driving is no different. There are so many skills involved in driving, such as dealing with traffic on a jammed city street or cruising on the highway. So, get out there and take some time to practice skills you need in various conditions.
4. Break Bad Driving Habits
Acquiring good driving habits will make you a better driver. Unfortunately, practicing bad habits reinforces them and makes you a less safe driver. Some of these bad habits won't get you in trouble with law enforcement, such as not using your turn signal. But the more you make driving easier for others, the safer you'll be.
5. Avoid Distractions
You may know that distracted driving is unsafe and against the law in most states. It is not always enough to promise you won't use your cell phone or electronic gadget while behind the wheel. It would be more helpful to have a plan for keeping your devices out of sight. Make a habit of silencing and stashing your phone in your bag or glove compartment.
6. Inspect Your Vehicle for Safety
A large part of being safe on the road is to have a sound vehicle. You don't need to be a mechanic or expert in cars. There are some simple things you can check on your own. However, there are some problems you should have a mechanic check, such as braking troubles.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers a vehicle safety checklist you should go through before any long trip. Just a few of the items on the list include:
Checking the lights
Testing the battery
Checking your tires
Topping off the coolant
7. Prepare for Emergencies
There are many things that can go wrong on the road. So, if you prepare in advance, you will know exactly what to do. One thing to prepare for is when your car breaks down in some way. A handy thing to have is an emergency preparedness kit stashed in your trunk. You can stock non-perishable food, blankets, and other supplies in your kit to help you feel more confident on the road.
One Final Tip for Confidence — Driver's Ed
Are you ready to become the driver you'd like to be? Learn about online driver's education, which can make you safer and more confident behind the wheel.