Driving skills are the basic knowledge and skills that you need to operate a vehicle safely on the road. Whether you’re a teen driver or taking drivers education for adults, there are certain skills that all drivers must master in order to pass their driver’s license test.
It’s important to practice these driving skills regularly, and with the help of an instructor. The more you practice these skills, the better you’ll be at them when it comes time to take your driving test for licensing.
1. Listen to Your Instructor
Your instructor is your key to learning how to drive safely and legally. They will help you build up the skills and knowledge you need to pass your driving test, but they can’t do this unless you listen to what they say.
This includes listening to their directions while you’re driving. The most important thing to remember is that your instructor is there for you, and they want you to succeed. They don’t mind if you miss something or need a little explanation, as long as you’re making progress.
Listening to your instructor is also a great way to build confidence and get the most out of every lesson. You’ll be more likely to ask questions if you don’t understand something, and they will be more willing to answer them if they think you are taking their advice seriously.
For example, if your instructor tells you to pull over on the left hand side of the road in a safe place, this is an instruction that will have a specific meaning and purpose. Whether it’s to check you can make a safe decision about where to stop or it’s to prepare you for a significant behavioural change that will occur in the next stage of the driving test, this is an instruction that needs to be understood carefully.
You should always be aware of what you’re doing when you are driving, and that means paying attention to your mirrors and the road ahead. You’ll also want to be aware of any emergency vehicles around you, and your instructor may need to remind you about this.
One of the most common mistakes that learners make is that they fail to listen to their instructors. It’s often because they are distracted by other things – they are thinking about what’s going on outside the car or how to avoid getting their foot off the brake.
2. Follow the Rules of the Road
Following the rules of the road is the best way to avoid accidents and injuries. It can also help you avoid costly fines and jail time if you are involved in an accident.
Whether you are a new driver or a seasoned veteran, it’s important to follow traffic laws and regulations. Failure to do so can result in hefty fines, points on your license and even imprisonment.
One of the most common mistakes new drivers make is failing to pay attention to their surroundings. This can lead to a variety of problems, including car accidents, traffic congestion and pedestrian injuries.
If you are traveling down the road, always check your mirrors and scan the road 20 to 30 seconds ahead of you to identify any potential dangers. If you spot an aggressive driver, slow down or pull over to avoid a collision.
This rule may seem obvious, but it’s often overlooked by newer drivers. When turning left, for example, it’s critical to pass in front of cars that are turning left from the opposing direction.
You should also be careful when merging into a lane that isn’t your own. This is especially important if the lane is filled with slow-moving traffic.
When you are driving on the highway, it’s important to give a thumbs up or a wave when someone lets you into their lane. This will let them know that you are a courteous driver and will encourage them to adhere to proper etiquette in the future.
The 3-second rule is an essential safety measure that helps drivers establish and maintain a safe following distance. It’s a simple rule that requires selecting an object on the road like a sign and counting slowly to two or three as the vehicle in front of you passes. Increasing this space to four seconds in bad weather conditions or at high speeds can help ensure your safety and the safety of others on the road.
3. Stay Calm
When you get stressed out or upset on the road, it can be dangerous for yourself and others. These feelings can trigger aggressive or even illogical reactions that put you and your passengers at risk.
One way to stay calm while driving is to practice breathing exercises. These can be as simple as purposefully taking deep breaths or counting your breaths in and out. The goal is to remind your brain that you are okay and don’t need to worry about anything.
Another way to stay calm while driving is to avoid any distractions. This can include things like phone calls, music or other people who are distracting you.
Getting enough sleep the night before can also help to reduce your stress levels while you’re on the road. If you don’t get enough rest, your stress levels can quickly flare-up, making it difficult to keep a calm, collected head when you’re behind the wheel.
Listening to relaxing music while you’re driving is also a great way to stay calm. Many studies have shown that listening to soothing, relaxing music can improve your concentration and ease anxiety.
It’s important to practice these techniques over and over again so that your mind learns to stay calm while you drive. This can be difficult if you’re suffering from severe anxiety or a phobia, but it’s essential if you want to overcome your fear of driving.
If you’re experiencing significant anxiety while driving, it may be time to consult with a mental health professional. They can recommend a number of different treatments, including exposure therapy or cognitive-behavioral therapy. During this type of therapy, a professional will help you to gradually become accustomed to driving without your anxiety.
4. Be Prepared for Changes in the Weather
Driving skills are vital all year long, but the weather can be a real challenge to those who don’t have their act together. A good driver knows how to adjust their driving plans and a vehicle’s maintenance schedule to accommodate changing weather conditions, from icy roads to heavy rain and sleet to cold temperatures.
For example, you can improve visibility on wet roads by using front and rear defrosters to reduce fog, snow and ice. You can also install a rain-sensing device that will activate a windshield wiper when it senses rainfall.
However, the best way to be prepared for changes in the weather is by taking the time to review the road conditions around you before getting behind the wheel. Look for warning signs, such as traffic snarls or a hazy sky, and be sure to listen to the radio to get the latest reports on the condition of your local roadways.
You can also check out Highways England’s winter website for road and traffic news and information. It features road and traffic reports, maps of the road network and displays on motorway message signs.
The weather can cause you to lose control of your vehicle if you don’t pay attention to it. It is especially important to maintain a safe distance from the car in front of you and use dipped headlights when visibility is poor, as well as maintaining a steady speed.
Another important tip is to keep an eye out for flash floods and debris flows, which can happen on roads or even bridges during severe weather. If you see something that could be a problem, pull over and wait for it to pass.
5. Be Alert
Driver fatigue is one of the leading causes of vehicle accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). If you find yourself struggling to focus on your driving tasks on long trips, it’s time to consider taking some proactive steps to keep yourself alert.
A good night’s sleep is the number one way to keep your brain alert. In addition, try to avoid alcohol before you drive because it can affect your ability to stay awake and focused while on the road.
If you start feeling tired or drowsy when you’re on the road, pull over to a safe spot. Get some rest, drink a caffeinated beverage, or take a short nap before continuing your journey.
While these strategies won’t always prevent you from falling asleep behind the wheel, they will help you avoid a serious accident. Drowsy driving is the number one cause of fatal crashes and it can be avoided.
You’re much more likely to be sleepy if you’ve been drinking or eating foods high in sugar, which can raise your blood sugar levels and trigger drowsiness. To keep your body in balance, try a healthy pre-drive meal that contains complex carbohydrates and fibers to boost energy and maintain your attention span while driving.
Also, make sure you’re getting enough water during the day to avoid dehydration. The brain and body are about 73% water, so staying well hydrated will help you stay alert while on the road.
Another helpful tip is to turn up the radio until it’s loud enough that you feel awake. But don’t do this habitually, as it could damage your hearing. It’s also a good idea to have a friend in the car with you who can listen for early warning signs of drowsiness.