Top Tips for New Drivers

Most people will never forget the sense of freedom they feel when they get behind the wheel for the first time. That freedom, however, comes with a lot of responsibility. It takes many hours of driving practice and experience in different road and weather conditions to become a safe and competent driver. Although you can’t control what other drivers do, you can practice safe and defensive driving methods to prevent accidents. Here are our top tips for new drivers to help ensure they remain safe on the road:

Expect the Unexpected

Just because you abide by the rules of the road does not mean that other drivers will too. Many accidents are caused by driver negligence, so you must stay alert and drive with caution at all times. This is referred to as “defensive driving”.

You should never assume what another driver is going to do. If a car is parked on the side of the road, don’t assume they will signal or yield before pulling out into traffic. Be ready to step on the brake because drivers don’t always look around to see if there are pedestrians or cars passing before pulling out. Drivers can also be aggressive. For example, a vehicle may not wait its turn at an intersection or stop at a stop sign. Sometimes drivers are forgetful. A car may pull out suddenly in front of you into the passing lane without shoulder checking, or drive through a crosswalk without looking for pedestrians.

Defensive driving requires concentration and awareness, which means you can’t be distracted while you’re driving.

Remove the Distractions

Many new drivers, especially youths, actively use their mobile devices to text, call, and browse social media. But these distractions will impact your ability to drive safely, so when you get behind the wheel, you have to put your phone down. Depending on what province you’re in, you could be ticketed for simply holding your phone, so make sure the devices are in your bag, jacket, or purse.

Passengers can also be a distraction. Starting out as a new driver, it’s best to limit the number of passengers you allow into your vehicle.  If you feel yourself being distracted by passengers, pull over and deal with the situation. Sometimes people start to argue or children make too much noise, so you need to recognize how these distractions are impacting your ability to focus and drive safely and react responsibly for everyone’s sake.

Practice Driving in Poor Weather Conditions

Once you have gained confidence with driving in clear, dry weather, test out driving in the rain or snow. When driving in poor weather conditions, you should slow down and maintain a 6-8 second distance between cars.

It is good practice to take an experienced driver with you when you’re starting out since they can offer tips while driving or help in a sticky situation. It’s important, however, to choose an experienced driver who won’t stress you out or get emotional too quickly while you’re driving.

During these practice runs, it’s also important to limit the number of passengers in your vehicle because learning how to maneuver a vehicle in tricky weather conditions requires concentration.

Regulate What Goes on in Your Car

As the driver, you are responsible for the safety of yourself and other passengers in your vehicle so don’t be afraid to stand up to your passengers if you don’t like their behaviour. After all, you’re doing them a favour by giving them a ride to their destination. Passengers can be distracting, such as yelling, cranking the music, or backseat driving.  Passengers can also try to engage in activities while you’re driving, such as drinking alcohol or smoking marijuana inside your vehicle. Impaired driving is a serious offence with large fines and driving suspensions.

If you aren’t comfortable with how your passengers are behaving inside your vehicle, pull over and firmly set boundaries. Don’t let unruly passengers put your safety or your license in jeopardy.

Not all accidents can be avoided, but you can lower your chances of being in a motor vehicle accident by employing safe driving practices. Our lawyers understand the financial and emotional stress caused by an accident, which is why we do our best to alleviate your burden and help you through the process. Contact us today for a free consultation.