Whether you just got your driver’s license and you are looking for tips on how to be a good driver, or you have been driving for years and typically other drivers seem to hate you, this article is for you. We’ve compiled a list of tips to promote road safety and traffic courtesy that also have the potential to improve your driving skills.
Top 10 Tips to Be a Good Driver
Get acquainted to your car
This is a great how to be a good driver tip, especially for beginners. Getting to know your car well is important because you don’t risk damaging your engine when you change gear or climb a ramp at low speed. You must learn how your car behaves in unusual situations, when to change gear by the way the engine sounds and similar techniques. These are all important aspects of driving because they make you a skilled driver and allow you to drive naturally and enjoy the experience.
Pay attention to the mirrors
All good drivers know the importance of mirrors. The first thing to do when you get inside a car is to inspect the mirrors carefully and check if their angles suit your height and position in regard with the wheel. Most cars have a blind spot on the passenger’s side. You may not be able to see a smaller vehicle going parallel and at about a meter distance from you, so take that blind spot into consideration. Most drivers think they know how to position their mirrors, but they really don’t. In the rear mirrors you should be able to see the cars in the nearby lanes, not the side of your own car.
Always use signals responsibly
The most hated drivers are those behaving erratically and not announcing their intentions. Stick to road etiquette and use your turn signals whenever necessary. It is best to use them even if you think there is no one around. And it is of utmost importance to use them in heavy traffic: they can probably save your life. Self- assured drivers thinking that no harm can happen to them should consider what happens when you suddenly change lanes in front of an 18 wheeler.
Watch the road
This is a critical one on how to be a good driver. It is not enough to watch the car immediately in front of you. In fact, it gets more and more unsafe if the car in front is too close to you. To be able to predict when the car in front will break, you should watch the traffic way ahead of you. Otherwise you risk bumping into the front car when it takes a sudden brake. Try to look several hundred meters ahead and leave more distance if you are behind a big car blocking your visibility.
Be responsible in your role as a driver
Responsibility in driving means also taking responsibility for others. Driving like you could not care less if others survive the ride is a huge no-no. Taking responsibility for other participants to the traffic is the hallmark of a good driver. Sometimes, drivers zooming through the traffic are safer than people pushing shopping carts in Walmart. You know how shoppers never pay attention to what’s going on around, they leave their carts blocking aisles, or bump into each other. Zoomers through the traffic pay a lot of attention to what is going on around them and anticipate the next move of the neighbors, to maintain themselves and those around safe.
Getting carried away never helps anyone much. Don’t assume that the person behind you honks you, although that can happen too. They may be honking someone in front of you. Even if they are asking you to move, be polite and try to accommodate their wishes. Most importantly, don’t get mad over it. They have as much rights to be on the road as you do.
Pay attention to the signs
Just like you’ve been taught in driving school, pay attention to the signs on the road, and give priority to the right. That particular priority sign has caused more accidents than you can count. A good tip when you look for parking spaces: read the sign carefully. Sometimes people don’t realize that no parking signs come with hourly or daily instructions; for example, the restriction starts tomorrow.
Place your hands where they should be
While older driving schools used to teach keeping your hands on the wheel at 10 and 2 o’clock, newer lessons changed the line. Instead, they are teaching drivers to keep their hands at 9 and 3 o’clock, where your hands are more relaxed and stable. It’s true that keeping both hands on the wheel at all times is a practical impossibility, but being a good driver implies thinking carefully when the traffic allows for exceptions.
Drive only when you are fully capable
Sleeping on the wheel and inconveniencing traffic is not a good way to get driver stars. It’s a danger for you and for others, because you risk falling asleep and causing an accident. The same goes for feeling unwell. If you really have to go somewhere when you can’t drive, either get a cab or let someone else drive.
If you think in the spirit of social courtesy while driving, you will instinctively apply most of the guidelines you have been taught in driving school. When you leave a party, you notify the host; when you step into a crowded elevator you avoid stepping on people’s feet and you wouldn’t throw anyone out to make room for yourself. Much in the same way, signaling announces your intentions, while carefully changing lanes does not make it risky or inconvenient for others. Indeed, all these tips on how to be a good driver are essentially this one: Be polite!