Freedom, Freedom, FREEDOM is not just the catchy rephrase of a 90s song. Its what you’ll feel when you first get your driver’s license (whether you’re 16 or 56). But if you don’t drive safely, that freedom can quickly be taken away. Don’t lose your license right after you got it – use these tips for new drivers to stay safe on the road.
1. Don’t Fake Your Practice Hours
One of the things you have to do when you’re applying for your driver’s license after having a permit is to prove you’ve driven a certain number of hours with supervision.
Even though it’s illegal to lie and say you’ve driven more hours than you actually have, people, make up their logs all the time. And kid aren’t the only culprit – we see parents signing off on knowingly false logs too.
With the technology that’s available to track your driving hours these days, there’s no excuse not to get those hours in.
You wouldn’t want your doctor skipping out on half their training and not getting that on-the-job practice, would you?
While that seems like a harsh comparison, you’re just as responsible for other people’s lives on the road as a doctor is in the emergency room.
Do everyone a favor and do your driving log the right way. It could save you a lot of time, money, and pain in the long run.
2. Don’t Drive With Lazy Hands
The correct position to hold your hands on the steering wheel is ten and two or nine and three. This gives you the most control over the car and allows you to have fast reaction times if need be.
It also keeps your arms from getting tired on long drives.
Another tip for new drivers is to keep both hands on the wheel while driving for at least the first three years. Yes – three.
Even experienced drivers are expected to keep two hands on the wheel, especially when they’re maneuvering around traffic or driving on tricky roads.
Many people underestimate how much difference using two hands makes, which they find out the hard way by getting into crashes.
Don’t be one of those people – keep your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.
3. Put Your Phone in the Backseat
One of the things we see more and more with drivers of any age is texting and driving. It’s the 2020s, and you have no excuse.
It’s illegal in the majority of states, and it makes driving more dangerous for you as well as the people around you.
There’s no reason to text and drive, especially when many cars these days have Bluetooth options. If someone really needs you, they can call you, and you can answer on the car’s system.
If you know you’re likely to text and drive, put your phone on “driving mode.” Most phones will text people back an automated message that reads something like, “I’m driving; please call if it’s urgent.”
99% of the time, the other person can wait until you get to your destination.
And remember, while it can seem a long time to go without texting back, it’ll be a lot longer if you crash and hurt yourself or someone else while looking at your phone.
4. Set Your Lights to Auto
If your car has an automatic headlight setting, turn it on right now. We can’t tell you how many people (again, of any age) get in the car when it’s still bright enough not to use their lights, then forget to turn them on as the sky gets darker.
One thing to remember about your lights is that if your windshield wipers are on, your lights should be too. You know how quickly the weather can change in Florida from blue sky to dark and stormy – so switch on your lights!
5. Use the Three Second Rule
You can’t control what other people do on the road, only what you do. And it’s safest to assume that they’re going to make a mistake at any moment.
It’s easy to slam on the breaks if you’re at an intersection, but it takes your car longer to stop at high speeds.
If you’re going over 45 miles an hour, use what’s called the three-second rule – a defensive driving technique.
To use it, look at the car in front of you, and pick something it just passed. It could be a billboard, a tire on the side of the road, or a tree in the median.
Then, count to three “one Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi.” If you pass the mark you’re testing against (that the first car passed) before you got to three, you’re going too fast.
Either safely pass the car in front of you, or slow down.
The three-second rule comes from the idea that it would take you and your car three seconds to react and correct course if something terrible happened to the car in front of you.
6. Don’t Be Petty
We know it’s annoying when someone is riding your bumper. What do they think they’re going to do, crawl into your tailpipe? Drive over you?
Let them pass you as soon as you can or speed up if you realize they’re tailing you because you’re going under the speed limit.
But don’t “brake check” them. If you don’t know that term, it refers to when the car that’s being tailgated (the car in front) hits their brakes to make the other person slow down or realize they’re tailgating.
Brake checking is petty and, in the eyes of the court and some insurance adjusters, aggressive driving.
If you get into an accident because you were deliberately brake checking someone, part of the accident’s fault could fall on you.
Tips for New Drivers
If you’re nervous about driving, you don’t have to drive alone just because you can now. You can still drive with another adult in the front seat until you feel comfortable.
We hope you’ll use these tips for new drivers and never get a driving-related ticket. But if you do, we’re here for you.
Find out how we can get you back on the road faster by browsing our services, here.