Everyone thinks they’re driving habits are fine, but we know better, don’t we? If you suspect your driving skills could use a little polishing up, don’t fret. There are several steps you can take to ensure you come out a better, more confident driver.
1. Complete Focus
When getting behind the wheel, one of the most important things to remember is how crucial it is that you do not get distracted. This entails several things to bear in mind. Always keep your eyes on the road and your destination. Outside sources of distraction can include other cars, road signs, billboards and trees–keep these out of mind. And likewise, don’t allow things inside the car to take your focus. Don’t look around the interior of the car, play around with the radio or talk to other passengers or on the phone with friends.
2. Prepare for the Drive
Take the necessary extra steps to first make sure you are even ready for the drive ahead of you. Ensure that you got enough sleep the night before and are well rested, as well as fed and hydrated–you don’t want hunger or sleepiness to derail you. Don’t ever drive when you are overly angry or just had a fight, and never get behind the wheel when you are under medication; just ask a friend for a ride. Once you are ready for your drive, make the appropriate adjustments, like seats, mirrors, or temperature via air conditioning or the heater.
3. Drive More Often
One of the best tips for becoming a better driver is to simply drive more often. After all, practice makes perfect. No matter how much you study and think about improving your driving habits, you will only ever really learn by getting out on the road. As they say, theory can’t work as good as experience. If you feel too nervous, get a trusted friend or guardian to go with you for some test runs, and go as slowly as you feel necessary. You can even start out by doing slow laps around a deserted parking area or in a low traffic area of your neighborhood. Whatever you do, get out there and start practicing.
4. Drive Defensively
Remember to drive defensively, which isn’t nearly as aggressive as it sounds. Driving aggressively means looking out for danger and anticipating problems. For instance, you should remember that when driving, an attack isn’t the best defense. Proactive is better than reactive. You should assume everyone has problems with driving regulations, and go a step above. Don’t blindly trust signals like traffic lights or turn signals. For example, even if you have the right of way at a stop sign, take a moment to ensure fellow drivers aren’t trying to leap out in front of you. Use caution and good judgment instead of assuming that other cars are going to follow the letter of the law precisely as you understand it.
5. Be Open for Suggestions
Ultimately, when trying to become better at any skill, it is important to keep an open mind. This means sometimes taking in the advice of others for consideration. Actively try to improve yourself by talking with a confidant whose opinion you value, and really listen to what he or she is saying. Don’t dismiss advice on driving or parking before trying it, simply because it does not sound like something you want to do. If you are driving other people, also take care to adapt to their needs and wishes. For example, some might not be comfortable with your speed and others might want to avoid the highways. It’s common courtesy to think of others when you are the one responsible for getting passengers from point A to point B. Everyone in the car should feel safe and comfortable, as well as confident they are going to arrive at their destination in a secure manner.
Becoming a better driver is an incredibly attainable goal. It is just like anything else–you have to put in the time and effort. Working at your driving skills will reap major benefits down the line, and give you the pride in knowing you have taken proactive steps to improve upon yourself for the better.
Now that you’ve read up on how you can become a better driver, treat yourself to a brand new motor from our motoring section.
Andy is a blogger/guide at a blog on ProctorHonda.com. When he’s not writing about driving, it’s either about cars, travel or healthy living (and again, driving).
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