Tips for New Drivers

Don't let this be your strategy for helping new drivers!

Don’t let this be your strategy for helping new drivers!

Being a young driver is an incredibly exciting and nerve wracking time! You finally have the freedom to get behind the wheel of a car and exert your independence. But driving is a major responsibility and something that new (and experienced) drivers can never take lightly. Here are a few ways new drivers can stay safe on the road.

1. Buckle up
This one is quick, easy and the best way to keep yourself safe. Fastening your seatbelt takes just seconds and is the first thing you should be doing everytime you get in the vehicle, regardless of whether you are the driver or passenger.

2. Plan your route ahead of time
Planning your route ahead of time allows you to be prepared and know where you are going. You won’t be forced to make any last minute turns or deal with the stress of being lost. If you ever do become lost, the best strategy is to remain calm, find a safe spot to pull over and get back on track.

3. Put your cell phone away
Drivers, especially when you are new, should not be using cell phones – including hands free devices. Your full attention should be on the road and when you are texting or making calls, your ability to concentrate on the road in front of you is greatly diminished.

4.  Know the weather
It is always helpful to understand the weather conditions before you head out. Is there a chance of rain, freezing rain or snow? Even if the weather is clear, you will still want to know this so you can bring sunglasses along to prevent the sun from getting in your eyes.

5. Keep night driving short
When driving at night, keep your first few trips short and close to home. Night driving adds more hazards, as your visibility is greatly reduced. Once you become more comfortable with night driving, you can increase the distance and frequency of trips.

6. Don’t speed or tailgate
This is common sense for all drivers. Speeding and tailgating increase your risk of preventable collisions. By keeping your speed in check and maintaining a safe following distance, your ability to react and stop your vehicle is greatly improved. This is a simple way to stay safe.

7. Reduce the number of passengers
The more people you have in your car, the more chance there is for distractions. For your first few trips, it is best to head out on your own or with a trusted friend or parent. Once you become more confident and experienced behind the wheel you can load up the car with all your friends.

8. Know your vehicle
Make sure you know your vehicle well. Knowing where all of the buttons are, how to operate the headlights, climate control system and all aspects of the vehicle is important. Being comfortable with the size of the vehicle and understanding its visibility will also be an asset.

These tips are important for all drivers, but especially relevant for new drivers. The best way to become a good driver is to practice in a safe, and stress free environment with an experienced and trusted individual in the passenger seat. Once you have your license and are ready to hit the road, make sure to select a vehicle that fits your ability and comfort level, then hit the road for many years of safe and enjoyable driving.