A majority of people, especially beginners, find driving exciting. Every adult should have this skill because it is helpful in everyday life. However, driving carelessly or recklessly may endanger the driver, other vehicles, and pedestrians on the road.
Although most people have studied the rules of the road and basic driving methods before getting behind the wheel for the first time, there are a few things to remember if this is your first time. Unfamiliarity with the mechanics of driving might lead to unforeseen consequences. So to avoid this as a new driver, follow this essential checklist below.
In Case of an Emergency
If you’re like most drivers, you won’t have the opportunity to practice how you’d react in an emergency before it happens. On the other hand, knowing what to do in unexpected driving scenarios will make a difference. When something goes wrong, you are more likely to crash your car if you take improper action or do nothing. Here are a few tips to follow in case of an emergency.
A Tire Blow Out
Sometimes thumping sounds occur before a tire bursts out, but this is impossible to predict. Avoid blowouts by keeping your tires in good condition and under proper pressure. When one of the front tires fails, the steering wheel may shake, and the vehicle may veer to one side.
When a rear tire fails, the rear of a car may suddenly drop and sway back and forth. If one of your tires blows out, follow these steps:
- Maintain a firm grip on the steering wheel and steer straight.
- Remove your foot from the accelerator pedal.
- Use mild braking only once you bring the vehicle under control. Untimely braking may result in total loss of control.
- Leave the highway.
On the freeway, faulty brakes are particularly dangerous. If your brakes appear in good working order, but a system warning light indicates brake failure, go cautiously to the nearest repair facility as soon as possible. However, if your brakes fail altogether, you should do the following.
- Shift the gear lower (manual) or choose ‘low’ (automatic)
- If you’re driving a car without ABS, try generating brake fluid pressure by braking hard and quickly.
- To keep the wheels from locking, gradually apply the parking brake while holding the release button.
If none of these work, try traveling in a safe direction until you come to a complete stop. When a vehicle drives at high speeds, friction can slow it down by rubbing it against a divider or curb.
Your engine may unexpectedly shut down for a variety of reasons. Overheating, running out of gas, and a lack of lubricant are all easily avoided with regular periodic maintenance. Other difficulties, such as transmission failure, electrical problems, a malfunctioning fuel pump, or problems with the catalytic converter or ignition system, may catch you off guard and invoke an immediate response.
If this happens, turn on your hazard lights and slowly pump your brakes to notify other vehicles of imminent danger. If feasible, try to steer your vehicle to the road’s shoulder. Once safely off the road, put the vehicle in neutral and try to restart it.
If you can continue the car, proceed cautiously and exit the restricted-access route as soon as possible. If you are traveling through a city, seek assistance at the nearest repair shop. If you cannot exit the road, stay in your lane and keep your lights on to inform other drivers of a breakdown while you call for help.
In the event of a car fire, pull over and come to a complete stop. Turn off the ignition, exit the vehicle, and call 911. Fighting a car fire can be risky if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Never use water to put out a gasoline or diesel fire; it will worsen things! Mechanical failure or poor maintenance is usually the most common cause of car fires. A lack of antifreeze or motor oil may cause the engine to overheat.
We frequently overlook some of the more uncommon instances when it comes to circumstances concerning risky driving. A sudden failure of the vehicle’s headlights is the stuff of nightmares, not to mention extremely dangerous.
Inspect your vehicle’s four-way flashers, parking lights, and directional signals if your headlights suddenly cease working. These may still work and should provide enough illumination to allow you to get safely off the roadway while alerting other cars to the problem. Drive to the nearest service station or pull over to the side of the road and call for assistance if your headlights begin to dim.
Other emergencies may take place while you are driving. It is, therefore, vital that you prepare adequately prepare for them. One of the best ways to prepare for emergencies is by getting auto insurance for your car. Here is a list of auto insurance discounts to help you get the best auto insurance possible.
Keep a Safe Following Distance
One of the most basic but often neglected checklists you should follow as a new driver is to keep a safe distance behind the car in front of you. Even if you use every other defensive driving method, you will not be a safe driver until you follow this guideline.
If you keep a safe distance from other drivers, you will nearly always have an escape route or the option to take evasive action. Even at high speeds, your chances of colliding with the vehicle in front of you are relatively low if you keep a safe distance.
Maintain a safe distance between yourself and the car in front of you. If something terrible happens, you may struggle to react if you are too near to other vehicles.
General Rules for Following Distance
Too close following lowers both forward visibility and reaction time. The “three-second rule” may have been taught to you in driver’s education.
Professional drivers should have a six-second gap between their car and the vehicle in front of them. Find a stationary object ahead of you on the road and how long it takes to approach it to establish your safe following distance.
The 3-to 4-second rule will help you set and maintain a safe following distance while giving you enough time to brake if necessary, as the most prominent accident risk is directly ahead of you.
This rule, however, only applies during regular traffic and weather circumstances. When driving in inclement weather, such as rain, fog, at night, or behind a heavy vehicle or motorcycle, increase your following distance by one second.
Extreme weather and hazardous driving conditions occur far too frequently. Driving safely in typical winter weather conditions such as rain, wind, snow, ice, sleet, and fog is more critical than ever. Hurricanes, tornadoes, heavy rain/snow, and electrical storms emphasize the significance of exercising safety.
Regardless of your level of driving ability or the weather conditions, never go faster than is safe for the current road conditions. It is critical to slow down when traveling in bad weather. Slowing down is not the only way to keep safe in bad weather. Follow these tips for driving in bad weather to get to your destination safely.
Driving in Snow and Ice
One of the most important things to know when driving in snow or ice is that it will almost certainly take twice as long to get to your destination, so plan accordingly. Because snow and sleet account for a considerable amount of weather-related fatalities, it is best to travel slowly and attentively. Here are a few tips to follow in case of snow.
Check your brakes
Your vehicle will behave differently in the snow than it would on a dry road if you’re new to driving in the snow—practice braking in an empty parking lot to see how your car reacts to brake pedal pressure.
Turn around corners slowly
Allow plenty of time to slow down before turning. A rapid turn may cause you to lose control of your vehicle and drive off the road.
Increase your speed gradually
If you try to accelerate too quickly, your tires will most likely spin in place.
Take caution with the ice
A little covering of translucent ice on the road can suddenly cause your vehicle to spin off and lose control. Keep an eye on the road ahead of you and avoid wet places.
Driving in Rain
Quality windshield wipers may be your best ally when driving in the rain. If your windshield wipers are old and worn, they can drastically impede your vision and increase your chances of being involved in an accident.
Enough Time for Complete Stops
Because the roadways are slick in wet weather, stopping becomes more difficult. You should also maintain a safe distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. When you apply the brakes, you run the risk of skidding.
Turn On Your Headlights
They will not only improve your vision but will also make you more visible to other drivers.
Driving through puddles can cause hydroplaning and loss of control. Because these areas are less slippery, following the vehicle’s tracks in front of you is preferable.
Make Use of Center Lanes
Because the road’s outside borders are more likely to accumulate water, staying in the middle of the road gives you the best chance of avoiding hydroplaning.
Replace the Wipers on Your Windshield
Replace them promptly if they become dull. As a result, the rain will not strand you behind a hazy windshield during an unexpected downpour.
Driving in Fog
Dense fog can make it difficult for drivers to see the road. The safest method to deal with fog is to avoid driving whenever possible. If you have to drive, keep the following tips in mind:
Use your low-beam headlights instead
High headlights reflect light from the fog in front of you, lowering visibility. Instead, turn on your conventional headlights or, if you have them, your fog lights.
Use the white line on the right side of the road
The white line is apparent in lousy weather. It will aid navigation and keep you on track.
Maintain a safe distance between yourself and the car in front of you
Allow yourself enough time to come to an abrupt halt if necessary.
Use your turn signals as soon as possible
Allow plenty of time for traffic behind you to see that you’re slowing down for a turn. It will allow them to keep a safe following distance.
Hands on the Wheel
According to a study, 1,885 drivers aged 15 to 20 would be killed in car accidents in 2020, up from 1,625 in 2019. Despite accounting for only 5.1 percent of all licensed drivers, young drivers accounted for 8.5 percent of all drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2020.
Maintaining a firm hold on the steering wheel is one of the most important precautions to ensure safe driving. Finally, the steering wheel is in charge of the entire vehicle. A competent steering wheel technique reduces the likelihood of a car accident while improving driving economy.
The Fundamentals of Proper Steering
When driving, try to avoid understeering and oversteering as much as possible. Here are some pointers to help you improve your steering:
Hold the steering wheel with both hands
Driving with two hands improves vehicle control. You will also see how the treatment responds in this manner. Instead of shifting gears, you can drive your vehicle rapidly using pedals and steering wheel as needed. Remove your hand from the steering wheel for no more than one second when shifting gears.
Hold It Tight
Never grip the steering knuckle too tightly; only enough to allow you to steer well and see what’s happening beneath your vehicle.
Adjust the Settings
Vehicles with electrically assisted steering now include a steering adjustment menu. You should figure out what works best for you and your vehicle.
Maintain Your Eyes on the Road Ahead
If you keep your gaze on the road ahead, your steering will be more exact and accurate. As a result, you will be able to recognize hazards, curves, and other barriers that necessitate course correction. Anticipate turns and provide yourself enough time to prepare and change your direction.
As a beginner, you should not drive with one hand. With both hands, maintain vehicle control by holding the steering wheel tightly in the ’10-and-2′ or ‘9-and-3’ position.
These are frequent steering wheel grips that novice drivers choose. However, these are not the only options; what ultimately matters is the hand position that provides you with the most comfort and satisfaction.
The Essentials to Safe Driving
The primary goal of your first driving experience should be to adapt you to the driving experience. Keeping these simple suggestions in mind as you prepare for your first driving experience will make it less daunting. Driving is not something to be feared but rather an unavoidable evil.
You are responsible for your own and others’ safety when you get behind the wheel. Maintain your calm and familiarity with traffic laws to guarantee you’re ready for your first driving adventure.