Whether you went to driving school or took driving lessons, you’ve passed your driving test and have your permit or license. You’re ready to take the roads…or are you?
Regardless of how well you did in driver’s ed or your new driver program, you need to be mindful of 25 mistakes a new driver should avoid in 2023.
- Improperly Adjusted Driver’s Seat: Failing to position your car seat properly can lead you to overextending your arms, legs, or both. This reduces how much control you have over your vehicle. This is more than just staying comfortable and in control. It also impacts how well you can react to something unpredictable.
- Ignoring Your Speeds: New drivers sometimes get so focused on their driving that they forget to track their speeds. Know how fast you are going, and stick within the speed limits where you are. Even if it feels safe to go faster, you are risking a ticket and points you don’t want at this or any age.
- Failing to See the Big Picture: This is something you learn well at Edge Driving School. Many new drivers don’t always keep up with all of their surroundings. You can’t just look ahead, because you always need to be using peripheral vision to watch out for unpredictable drivers, animals, pedestrians, and road debris.
- Staying a Safe Distance Back: Tailgating isn’t just rude, as it’s also dangerous. Drivers in front of you might stop or slow down suddenly for many reasons, including having someone too close behind them. They slow down to compensate for your lack of reaction time which you then have to use.
- Failing to Clean Your Windows: A new driver program might not instill this into you, but you always need to be sure that your windows are clean before getting into the vehicle. That means both front and rear windshields and all passenger windows. You need to be able to see through everything free of obstruction.
- Using Headlights Wrong: If it’s dark outside, even slightly, then you need your headlights on. Many states also require these to be on in certain weather conditions, such as rain and fog. Turn them on when you have to, even if you can see. You need to make sure other drivers can see you.
- Cleaning and Adjusting Mirrors: Clean your mirrors before you start driving since you can’t do it while you are. Also, make sure that they are adjusted properly so you can see nearby cars and gauge their distance. The rear-view mirror is one that needs to be adjusted perfectly to see what’s behind you, but side mirrors are also important for blind spots.
- Not Using High Beams: If you live in rural areas or drive at night when no one else is on the road, then you should probably use your high beams to get better visibility of your surroundings and upcoming stretches of pavement.
- Forgetting Your Turn Signals: Your driver’s ed instructor would be furious if he ever found out you were doing this. Neglecting your turn signals means you’re neglecting to inform drivers around you about what you’ll be doing next on the road you share with them. Use them to let drivers know about turns, merges, reverses, parking, and pulling out of your parking spot. Use them whenever you need more space for a maneuver.
- Not Turning High Beams Off: When it’s really dark enough to need high beams, you’ll usually see the light of an oncoming vehicle in the distance before you actually see it. Turn down your high beams so you don’t glare-blind the other driver. Hopefully, they’re doing the same for you.
- Taking Needless Risks: Your driving lessons should have taught you not to take needless risks, especially if they’re dangerous. Then again, some drivers do it because they feel lucky, confident, or careless. Risking your life and the lives of others is possible if you drive distracted, under the influence, impaired, while texting, or just tailgating or speeding.
- Not Having Car Insurance: Missing just one payment on your car insurance can get it cancelled, and just one wreck without insurance can cost you a lot of money and possibly even your license.
- Driving With Low Tire Pressure: One of the finer points of driving that Edge Driving School and other outfits can teach you is by tracking your car tire pressures. Many modern vehicles will just tell you this on your dashboard, including helpful warning lights. Make sure your car doesn’t drift when driving, and know how to fill up a tire properly.
- Avoiding Tickets and Points: New drivers of any age have heightened risk levels their first three years of driving, and their insurance rates reflect this. Keep your driving record clean and pristine in order to avoid spiking your already high rates.
- Check Your Blind Spots: This should be a basic for any driving school. If you don’t check your blind spots for close-by vehicles, then you might collide with them when you pull in. Check your side-view mirrors, but also glance over your shoulder, too.
- Car Maintenance: Your car might be new, relatively new, or just already well-cared for by a previous owner. It won’t stay that way. Keeping your car maintained and thoroughly inspected keeps your rides smooth, your gas mileage good, and you and your passengers safe.
- Accelerating Too Quickly: You probably didn’t do this on your driving test, so don’t do it on the roads either. Get familiar with the pedal sensitivity of any vehicle you drive so that you don’t press it too hard or fast. Learn and master the behavior of any car for confident driving.
- Yield to Oncoming Vehicles: Other drivers give you room when you need to get into traffic or a new lane. You know the signals to let them know you’re turning or moving, so when you see another driver doing the same, don’t speed up to cut them off.
- Braking Too Quickly: If you brake too quickly, you’ll jolt yourself and your car. You’ll also risk getting rear-ended by someone behind you. Don’t startle other drivers or pedestrians. Your passengers will thank you for this as well.
- Driving When Exhausted: Your ability to drive can’t be impaired just by texting, talking, drugs, and alcohol. Driving while tired seriously ups your chances of an accident, and it might not be one that anyone walks away from.
- Failing to Remember Your Directions: Struggling to figure out where you are and how to get where you are going can distract you from driving safely. Use your phone’s or vehicle’s GPS to get around until you know your community like the back of your hand.
- Practicing Good Steering Wheel Techniques: Keep both hands on the wheel. Make sure your grip is firm but not too tight. Be sure you are gripping the wheel at the right places. You have to be able to respond in a second’s notice, and often less, if you want to stay safe and keep your ride in one piece.
- Panicking at Intersections: Stoplights at interchanges have very consistent patterns. Note how long is left at crossing lights so you can anticipate the light changing colors. You’ll pass by safely in doing so.
- Running Lights: Running a red light is pretty much illegal everywhere. Running yellows isn’t always illegal, but it’s also usually a very dangerous thing to do if there’s a pedestrian running across a crosswalk or a driver trying to squeeze in a turn before sitting through another signal rotation.
- Insufficient Practice: You might look forward to driving as much as you can, but every driving trip ends with parking. Master every method you can in a safe space, including parallel, front, and reverse. Know these by heart so you can avoid people and property with your vehicle.
Regardless of the age you start driving, your first few years are possibly the most risky and dangerous, not just to you, but also your passengers and other drivers. Avoid these 25 mistakes new drivers shouldn’t make in 2023 and beyond so you can create lifelong good habits that get you everywhere you want to go.