Driving isn’t something that necessarily comes naturally to everyone. In fact, the first time pass rate for driving tests is around 49%, meaning that roughly 1 in 2 people don’t pass on their first attempt. And learning to be a good driver doesn’t end the moment you pass your test. Arguably, that’s just when the lessons begin.
But the good news is that if you have managed to pass your test, you are deemed to be a fit and safe driver in the eyes of the law. And that alone should give you a certain amount of confidence — which leads us fittingly on to our first tip…
So without further ado, here are 5 things you can do to be a better driver.
Admittedly, this is far easier said than done. And overconfidence can make for a terrible (and dangerous) driver too. So it’s a fine line you need to try and strike here. But nervous drivers can often be a little erratic on the roads, making it hard for other drivers to read their movements. Typically new drivers are lacking in confidence, but it will come with time and experience.
Adjust to the weather
Signs and speed limits are given assuming dry conditions. So when the weather changes, so too must your driving. In heavy rain you’ll need to drive slower than the speed limit indicates to stay safe, fog will impair your visibility, and ice on the roads can increase breaking distances by up to ten times.
Slower breaking helps signal to your fellow drivers what action you are taking so that they can assess their own and respond accordingly. Far more preferable than slamming on at the last minute and taking everyone by surprise, leaving them little time to react. Additionally, gentle breaking will reduce wear and tear on your tires so could even save you money in the long run.
Read the road
Keep an eye on your fellow drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. Anticipate people’s movements and read their driving so you can react appropriately. A good driver always has one eye on what everyone else is doing.
Patience is key
Road rage or allowing yourself to become easily wound up and agitated whilst driving is a quick way to hamper your capabilities no matter how good a driver you are. Find a way to keep yourself calm whilst on the roads, whether that’s listening to gentle music or practicing some deep breathing techniques. Do whatever you need to do to not respond aggressively to other drivers on the road.
And remember, if your car itself is in bad condition this can hugely affect your driving ability. Make sure your car is in good shape before you set off on a journey, particularly a longer one or one taken in bad conditions. Carrying out weekly checks on your brakes and fluid levels is a great way to stay on top and stop your car affecting your driving.