Seven ways to be a better driver

When it comes to driving, it’s easy to believe that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. You probably find that driving is second nature, you just switch on and drive off without really giving much thought to it.

But let’s be honest, if you’ve been driving for a while there’s every chance that you’ve picked up some habits that might not get you through a test if you were to take one today.

While you’re a good driver is there any possibility that you could become a great driver? Any way at all that you could improve your skills, even when you’ve been behind the wheel since your teen years? In this blog we’re going to take a look at seven ways to improve your driving technique, for even the most experienced driver.

TEST YOURSELF

Driving tests have changed a lot since you last took one. Take a look at the latest requirements and see if there are any challenges in there that are worth knowing and testing yourself on. You might find the theory test a challenge, even if you’ve got the driving element covered. 

You should also consider taking an advanced driving test. Why? Because as well as testing you and taking you outside of your comfort zone, there are other benefits such as lower car insurance.

You’ll be surprised at how many things you take for granted as you drive, particularly the behaviour of other drivers and spotting potential dangers. The advanced test calls on you to spot these dangers and name them. It will challenge the way the drive and make you much more aware of your driving environment. A challenge well worth taking on to improve your overall driving skills.

DRIVE PREDICTABLY

The hardest thing to deal with on the road is the unpredictable drivers, particularly those who seem to think the rules of the road don’t apply to them. They’re dangerous and best avoided where possible.

You know the rules and though sticking to them can make you slower and mean giving way when you really don’t want to, stay predictable. Everyone benefits when everyone’s following the same system. Fewer confrontations, better flow of traffic and hopefully, fewer collisions and injuries.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be confident in your driving, just have in your mind that you are going to stick to the rules of the road making it a safer place for pedestrians and other drivers.

DON’T RELY ON GADGETS

Modern cars are awash with technology that make our lives easier and for the most part they do, but just because you have ABS and cruise control that’s no reason to compromise on your driving standards and become over reliant on them.

This is particularly true over long journeys. While cruise control is a convenience it has its limitations and many feel it compromises the driver’s ability to stay in full control. If you have any doubts about using it, don’t. It certainly shouldn’t be used in anything other than good weather and can’t replace your skills when driving through challenging conditions such as snow or heavy rain.

DRIVE ORGANIZED

That’s right, getting your car in the right condition before you set off will make you a better driver. Knowing where your documents are makes finding them less stressful in an accident and driving with in interior that’s clean and free from litter will have a positive psychological effect on your technique. Taking pride in your car means you’re likely to drive that little bit more carefully.

Treat yourself to some custom air fresheners and smarten up your interior. The same is true of the outside of course and regular cleaning is more than just vanity, it will help to keep your lights free from dirt and grime, making them more effective and giving you better nighttime vision.

BOOST YOUR CONFIDENCE

As you’ve got older have you started to lose confidence? Perhaps now the prospect of driving on motorways daunts you and you avoid the experience as much as possible. This is perfectly natural and if you’re feeling like you could do with a refresher course, talk to a local driving instructor about a lesson.

Have them take you on the motorway and just give you any hints or tips at driving a little more smoothly and confidently. You’ll probably find the experience is far less daunting than you remember and get your confidence back in no time, an investment well worth making.

STAY FOCUSED

We know that it goes without saying that you shouldn’t text, read emails or even try and dial out while you’re at the wheel. But we would go one step further and say that even if you have a hands free kit and can talk safely while you drive, this is still a distraction and it’s just not worth taking the risk.

Just put the phone away. Out of sight, in a glovebox and don’t engage with it until you’re at your destination. As tempting as it is to check your social media at the traffic lights, it’s all too easy to take your eyes of the traffic and accidentally roll forwards into the car in front. An accident that could so easily have been avoided and will now result in a claim on your insurance that could affect that long-standing no claims bonus.

BE THE BETTER DRIVER

There will be times when you have to face an aggressive driver or one that is just plain bad. In these circumstances, put your superior skills to test and extricate yourself from the situation. This might mean letting them cut in front of you or giving them more space and time then you would otherwise but being a great driver is more than just knowing how to drive a car, it’s as much psychological as anything else. 

Use your great judgement to drive better, to drive more safely and to know when to give less experienced and dangerous drivers a wide berth. 


Photo Credit: Cadillac

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