3 Tips for New Drivers Who Want to Stay Safe on the Road
For most new drivers, the moment they first pass their driving tests, get their first vehicle, and hit the open roads, is deeply exciting, and rewarding.
Suddenly, the whole world opens up in ways that it hadn’t before - and it’s now possible to travel wherever you want at your own leisure, to expand your career possibilities thanks to your newfound ability to commute with ease, and more.
Of course, there is the downside that new drivers are notoriously dangerous drivers - particularly up until such time as they’ve had sufficient practice.
Everyone’s heard about motorcycle accidents and car crashes involving new drivers, that are like something straight out of a horror movie. And it’s definitely best to avoid ending up in that kind of situation, at just about any costs.
If you’re a new driver, and you’re concerned with staying safe on the road, here are a few tips that might help you to avoid accidents.
Treat “driving tired” the same as you would treat “driving drunk”
These days, the vast majority of us are well aware of the fact that drunk driving is extremely irresponsible and extremely dangerous. Having a few beers before hitting the road is one of the surest ways of increasing the odds that you’re going to kill or maim yourself and other people.
And yet, even if you would never consider driving drunk, it’s highly likely that you would still drive tired, without giving it much of a second thought.
According to the sleep researcher Matthew Walker, in his book “Why We Sleep,” however, driving tired is just as dangerous as driving drunk. In fact, he actually makes the case that driving when extremely tired is more dangerous than driving drunk.
Not only do sleep-deprived people react almost identically to drunk people, in test conditions, but there’s also the added risk of them actually falling asleep at the wheel.
When you’re drunk, your reaction times are slowed, and your judgement is impaired. You’re likely to get involved in an accident and to be unable to react appropriately to mitigate the damage.
If you actually fall asleep at the wheel, though, it’s not just that your reaction times are slowed, is that you don’t react at all - and can end up in absolutely brutal and fatal situations, such as drifting across lanes and having a head-on collision at 70 mph or more.
Next time you know you have to drive somewhere, be sure to get plenty of sleep the night before. And, if you can’t get enough sleep, make alternate travel plans. Driving when extremely tired is just as bad as driving drunk.
Drive defensively, and don’t count on other people to automatically do the right thing
For new drivers, in particular, it can be easy to develop a type of “tunnel vision” when driving and to focus entirely and exclusively on what you’re doing, while ignoring whatever the other drivers on the road are doing, for the most part.
To some extent, this is natural and to be expected. But it’s still a dangerous situation to put yourself in, and relies on the implicit assumption that as long as you do “the right things” on the road, you can count other people to do the right thing too and that everything is going to be safe and go well.
Instead of making this assumption, though, you’ve got to drive defensively and be on the lookout for stupid behaviour coming from other people.
Do not count on other people to automatically do the right thing. Realise that sometimes people turn without indicating, switch lanes without looking where they’re going, drive drunk, and do other reckless things on the road.
Pace yourself - if you’re going to be late, be late
There are few situations that end up causing as many problems for new drivers as speeding in a reckless frenzy of panic, due to the fact that they are going to be late for work, or some other appointment.
You should avoid being late for your appointment by planning properly in advance, and leaving home with plenty of time to spare. Never by trying to make up time on the road by putting the pedal to the metal.
When you’re driving at high speeds, in a panic, you are always going to have less control of your vehicle, and are going to be less aware of your surroundings. If a negative situation does develop, you won’t be able to adjust and compensate as effectively and promptly.
When you’re a new driver, in particular, the situation is all the worse.
Pace yourself when driving. If you’re going to be late, be late. It’s better than risking your life gratuitously.
Get some practice online
Use the right tools for the job; you can get plenty of practice online by playing online games like our games here at Drifted. We have car games, driving games and even drifting games available for you to play.