Learning to drive isn’t easy. You’d be forgiven for getting stressed out during your time learning how to operate a vehicle of any size best. It’s not easy to learn the rules of the road, and how to best and confidently navigate it. It’s not easy to read the road and understand how to identify problem drivers, and cautiously adapt to their habits to maximize your safety. All of these things come with practice, practice, practice. Even the most natural rally car and F1 drivers once had those first few instances on the road that made them nervous.
Don’t worry, most of these abilities will come in time, and soon you’ll be so far into the automotive culture that you’ll be scouring this site for the newest vehicle reviews and specifications. However, there are a set of considerations that you must understand if you’re to keep the most healthy, safe, respectful and ultimately fun driving career.
These following eight driving mistakes are errors that no matter your experience level, you must avoid. These are unacceptable and will get you in legal trouble, or even identify you as the cause of an accident.
The dangers of texting or calling and driving are well known by now, to the point where police will identify and immediately pull you over if you are spotted doing so. It’s not hard to imagine why, directing your attention to the content of a phone call will take the focus away from the road, in whatever percentage that is.
Even a 1% deviation from your focus on the road is discouraged. It might seem over the top to say that, but it’s not. You’ll be the one having to explain why you were on your phone while reluctantly giving your details after an accident. There’s no real reason that while you’re operating a car, you should be focusing on anything other than the safe operation of your vehicle, except in-car conversation and perhaps the music you’re playing.
Smoking is also inadvisable during a car journey. It might be tempting to pull out a quick cigarette during a long haul drive to satiate a craving, but taking your hand away from the wheel like this and smoking can put the lives of others at risk in its worst outcome. This is because your reaction time towards an unfolding difficult road event is reduced, thanks to your inability to grip both hands on the wheel, and having to consider the lit and potentially burning object in your hand. If you’re driving passengers who don’t smoke, the dangers of secondhand smoking are more profound in a shielded car environment. Sure, it might be your car, and you have the authority to do what you’d like within it, but it can seem rude to do so. Respect those within your vehicle and in relationship to it on the road, and you’ll be a good driver.
Inadequately Securing Children Or Pets
Failing to secure your pets or children in a positive and safe way not only endangers their health, but it also gives them room to unpredictably jump or lurch out and seriously impede your driving ability. Any contingency you can take care of within your car that stops you driving recklessly should be implemented and respected. Securing your child correctly within the car is a simple legal requirement. Ensuring they have safe and new child seats that adhere to the recommendations fitting their age and height is a must, not a should.
Forgoing Car Maintenance
Sacrificing car maintenance might seem like a short-term cost saving activity, but it will only compound the problems your car might face and altogether give you a hefty maintenance bill in the future. It will also make your vehicle less roadworthy. Your car might have completed its annual check up (MOT), but if you notice that the car doesn’t handle as responsively as you were used to, this might indicate a larger hidden issue that you need to sort out. Sort it out. Quickly.
This is illegal and ridiculous. There is nothing worse than getting in a crash with or hitting as an uninsured driver. You should have insurance, and you should have it properly applied and paid for before the very first day you consider your car roadworthy.
As a young driver who has just passed their driving test, it can feel tempting to invite all of your friends for a road trip immediately, or become the driver who will be the first one to take their friends on a night out. A new driver coupled with the folly of youth and even drinking culture can be hazardous.
Never take the car out when you’re impaired, no matter how fine you think you are. Never speed to impress your friends or to seem cooler than the car opposite at the traffic lights. Never forgo the rules of the road to impress those riding with you. If your friends are encouraging any form of this behavior while riding with you, they are not your friend and should have no future place in your car. A true friend will understand the necessity of driving correctly and will remind you to do so if they notice that you’re driving is too lax.
Everyone has bad days. Everyone has terrible days. Everyone experiences what they’d term ‘idiots’ on the road. In fact, during the whole of your driving career, you’re likely to run into many of these people who make you wonder how they passed their test in the first place. It’s likely that these people will directly affect your safety on the road, by aggressively cutting you up or tailgating you for extended periods of time. However difficult it is, and it is difficult, you must not give in to any form of road rage or anger. The only consideration no matter how idiotic another driver is, that you should be taking care of is that of your safe driving and security on the road. If more people adopted this attitude, over time traffic accidents and road rage mistakes would be decreased. You don’t have to behave like an enlightened Zen monk when you see a driver committing driving errors and seemingly getting away with it, but you don’t and shouldn’t have to express this anger through your driving behavior. Find another route if the problem persists, and continue from there.
You must never drink and drive. Never, never, never. It is worth it 0% of times. Be cautious, and be reasonable with identifying if you are in a roadworthy state or not. Remember, drinking the night before can have compound effects on your ability to drive in the morning. A good sleep might not have made you eligible to drive. Be wary of this, and make the best decision you can.
As a good driver, you are likely to make mistakes. But vehemently adopt these tips listed above, and you’ll have your head screwed on correctly when it comes to the essential practices you must never, ever carry out. Safe driving.