The mechanics of how to operate a vehicle are easily learned; putting them into the practice, out there on the roads, with other drivers around you, is another matter. And then there are the things that you can only figure out after you’ve spent several years on the roads – the things that can help to keep you safer behind the wheel, paying less for the privilege, and more. Below, we take a look at thirteen things every driver needs to know if they want to get the most out of their driving experience!
YOU’RE NOT AS GOOD AS YOU THINK
It’s important to be confident when you’re behind the wheel. If you’re not, you might be too hesitant, or drive too slowly, or do something else that might cause an accident for you or others. However, while it’s important to be confident, it’s equally important that you’re not arrogant. The average driver thinks that they’re better than the average driver which, yupp, we all know can’t be true. So don’t get to thinking that you know the roads so well that you can do what you like; even if you get lucky, you might end up disrupting another driver’s flow, and cause an accident that way.
NOT ALL CARS ARE CREATED EQUALLY
It’s not enough to have a vehicle: you need to have a vehicle that’s right for your needs, surroundings, and so on. For example, if you live in a city, then a large SUV probably isn’t all that necessary if you’re just using it to get from A to B. Go for a smaller model. Similarly, those living in the mountains won’t find much use from a small runaround vehicle – they’ll need something to handle those rocky terrains. Always base your vehicle purchase decisions on what’s practical for where you’re living, not only what car you’re most attracted to.
DRIVING IN DIFFERENT CONDITIONS
Here’s the thing about driving: there’s not only just one way to do it. How you do it depends on where you’re driving and the conditions. The process of driving along the coast on a clear blue sky day and trying to navigate the mountains during a snowstorm are only vaguely related. In reality, they’re using different skills and intuitions. Now, most people rarely find themselves in a totally different scenery, but this in itself is the problem – it’s only when they do that they realize that it’s not the same at all. Even in your home area, you’ll want to be aware of how to drive differently when the weather turns icy, or there’s heavy rainfall. These types of weather always cause a lot of accidents, but it’s only because people don’t know how to drive in them.
YOU’LL HAVE AN INCIDENT
If you’re on the roads for long enough, then you’re going to be involved in an incident of some sort. It’s just the law of averages. Now, this could be as minor as being nudging another vehicle while you’re trying to park, or it could be more serious. The important thing is that you know how to handle these incidents. Even accidents that seem harmless at first can cause injuries later on, so get yourself see to by a medical expert. To ensure that accidents don’t cost you more than they should, get more information on accidents and the financial compensation that you may be eligible to claim. It’s also worth keeping in mind that accidents can have a lingering effect – some drivers find it difficult to get back onto the road. Be patient, and start slow.
ANGER DOESN’T HELP
Once the novelty of being behind the wheel has worn off, you’ll begin to see that, well, there are a lot of annoying aspects about driving. And on some days, it can feel like those annoying aspects just keep coming, coming, coming. Before you know it, you’ve grown incredibly frustrated, and all it’ll take is one more person to not use their indicator and you’re going to flip! While it can sometimes be tempting to vent your road rage, it’s important to remember that it’s unlikely to do you or anyone else any good. All it’ll do is make it more difficult for you to focus your attention on the roads. So if you feel yourself getting angry, maybe pull over and get yourself a cup of coffee. When you’re on the roads, all you can control is what you do – other people will control what they do. And it rarely makes any sense to lose your temper over things that are beyond your control!
…AND TAILGATING DOESN’T EITHER
Anger usually involves a loss of control. So you can have a sympathetic view if that happens; at least it’s beyond their control. But there’s one annoying aspect of driving that isn’t related to anger, yet can cause a lot of problems. Tailgating! While it can be frustrating to be behind someone who’s not going as fast as you’d like to do, you’re not doing them a favor by gently reminding them that they can speed up by driving right behind them. All you’re doing is making it much more likely that you’ll be involved in an accident if they have to brake sharply, which they will do at some point.
YOU’LL GET BURNED OUT
Anything that’s taken to the extreme edge can begin to feel old. And this applies to driving. If you’re spending an hour or more a day in your vehicle, then it won’t be long before it’s not providing the same novelty as it once did. To get around this, simply get out of the car for a while. Your love for driving will come back pretty strong after you’ve spent a couple of weeks getting around by other means. Then, even sitting idle in traffic won’t look quite as bad!
YOU CAN’T MULTITASK
You really can’t. Studies have shown that people can’t multitask when they’re at the office and they control the environment; they for sure can’t multitask when they’re out on the road, behind the wheel. So it’s best not to try. What does this mean? You can probably guess – no texting! Your hands can’t process more than one thing at once. Make sure any conversations you’re having are with a hands-free device.
YOU CAN DIY SOME THINGS
Whenever there’s something wrong with their car, people tend to take it straight to the garage, but this isn’t always necessary, especially when it comes to preventative measures. You can put fluids in your vehicle, for instance, and it’s always worth knowing how to jump-start a car with cables. It’ll save you an expensive callout.
MUSIC IS KING
Of all the awesome additions to the car over the past one hundred years, none should be celebrated as much as the in-car sound system. There’s nothing better than putting in your favorite tracks and cruising down the highway. It’s for moments like this that you bought a car in the first place! If your sound system is currently living up to its potential, consider buying an updated model.
A CLEAN CAR CHANGES EVERYTHING
It really does. You wouldn’t enjoy sitting in an unclean home; why would you enjoy driving around in an unclean car? Set aside some time each month to get over your vehicle inside and out – especially the inside. You’re cleaning the exterior for everyone else’s benefit, the inside is all for you. It really does feel like a breath of fresh air driving around in a newly cleaned vehicle after some time in one filled with dirt and grime.
WHEN YOU LEAVE THE CAR AT HOME
Just because your car is there, it doesn’t mean you have to fire it up and go for a drive every time you leave the front door. That’s an easy habit to fall in to, but it’s not always the best option. For starters, you’ll end up spending way more money on gas if you’re forever driving around! Instead, why not take a look at public transport, walking, or cycling options? Life is all about variety, and it’s a good idea to mix things up every now and again. You might just find that you’ve made your day more interesting, have taken a new route, and are no worse off than if you’d taken the car just by taking a moment to think.
IT CAN BE VERY ENJOYABLE
Driving isn’t perfect, but boy oh boy, can it be fun. Is there anything better than loading up the vehicle with supplies and hitting the road for a trip? Driving brings freedom, adventure, convenience, and so much more. If you haven’t yet taken the plunge and bought your own vehicle yet, maybe this article is the final motivation that you need. But whether you’re a newbie or have twenty years experience under your belt, the fun thing is that you’re always going to discover new and exciting things about being on the road. Cars: we don’t know where we’d be without them!
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