If you’ve finally got your driver’s license then congratulations! Of course, this is only the first step on your journey towards becoming a driver. Up until now, you’ve been a student. But with your license, you finally have the keys (metaphorically and, soon, physically) to independence on the open road. Still, before you rush into a bad car purchase or drive recklessly now that you no longer have an instructor watching your every move, here’s a guide to being a smart new driver.
The main thing on your mind is most likely your first car. We’ll start with this point because it’s probably all you can think about. You’ve spent weeks or months learning how to drive with an instructor sitting beside you but now you have the chance for independence. Of course, you might not be able to afford most brand new cars. Still, this shouldn’t be a worry for you. All that matters is you buy a vehicle which is roadworthy and safe from a reputable dealer. Your goal is to buy something which you can use to get from point A to B; you’re just learning how to get used to the road.
You might want to look into information about Roadbend and other dealers selling pre-owned cars. As a new driver, this is all about learning how to drive. You may have your license but this is about gaining experience on top of your expertise; much like graduating from college and entering the “real” world. And when buying a car, it’s not just about buying something understated to save money. You don’t want to drive a 4×4 or a sports car if you have little road experience; give it a few years before you go for bolder car purchases. The point is that you just need to focus on getting a simple car designed for a “newbie” so that you can get used to the road without putting yourself or others in danger (or bankrupting yourself with a really expensive purchase).
When you own a car, you need to know not only how to drive the thing but how to look after it. Perhaps this was covered during your driving lessons, to some extent, but it’s very different once you own a car and you have to perform maintenance or repairs in unexpected situations. Would you know how to change a tire if you broke down on the road? You can’t always ring up breakdown companies (especially if you’re poor or you’re without phone signal). It’s important to learn how to regularly check your car so as to spot problems before they develop into real issues. That way, you can avoid breaking down in the first place. You need to learn how to check your oil level and also how to keep your car’s exterior in good shape.
Most importantly, you need to be safe on the road. This has been touched on throughout the article. You need to keep your car well-maintained so as to keep yourself and others safe; unexpected mechanical failures can cause danger to everyone. Of course, it’s the actual driving that really affects safety on the road. You might want to look into additional training after passing your test so that you can brush up on any skills you feel you might be lacking; you might want to gain a little confidence in dealing with busy or overwhelming situations on the road. Additionally, you need to learn how to drive defensively. You need to be aware that there are other drivers on the road and your actions affect them. Even if you see somebody driving dangerously, don’t react aggressively; keep your distance and minimize the risk of a disaster.