6 Quintessential Driving Skills You Should Master This Year

Learning how to drive is something most people struggle with. However, with the help of an instructor, we usually get over it; some people would not be able to do it too quickly and some would ace it.

A lot of people take time in practicing how to drive in their free time. And why not? Nobody wants to fail a driving test. But it’s hard to learn the skill on your own. So if you’re planning to hone it, you must ask someone to guide you and give you some tips. It can be anyone in your family or friends who already has a driver’s license. Asking someone to come with you during a drive is also for safety purposes.

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After you’re done and passed the driving test, you will, more or less, find that the real world is not as strict as in driving school. However, it’s not as safe either. When you get behind the wheel, you must keep in mind that you are in what could be a dangerous machinery, if don’t handle it well. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced driver, there are always some more things you can learn so that you’ll improve your driving skills. To make driving a safer and more effective operation, here are eight tips you can use:

1. Enroll in a defensive driving school.

Defensive driving school offers a refresher course on the laws in driving in your state and teach you on how to improve your driving skills—from how safely pass other cars to how to handle skids and other unforeseen accidents. This is usually run by the National Safety Council, American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), and American Automobile Association (AAA).  A course will last about 4 to 8 hours. However, how long you’re going to take it will usually depend on the state or the insurance company handling your car. You can enroll in a defensive driving school online.

Classes cost 20 USD to 100 USD. It may sound a little expensive, especially if you’re frugal, however, you’ll end up seeing that it can actually help you save on your car’s insurance. If you’re a beginner and still going to a driving school, a defensive driving course can also take points out of your driving records. If still does not convince you to enroll, then think about driving around the streets safely.

2. Learn how to park the right way.

Parking is one od the easiest thing about driving, that is once you get used to it. However, there are instances when you have to drive backward and you’re afraid to scratch your car or the car parked next to yours. In these kinds of situations, it pays if you know a few tricks about parking.

  • Parallel parking– this is perhaps the most feared by drivers. There’s just enough space in between two cars which makes you lucky and unlucky at the same. You have a parking spot, but it doesn’t give much space to do backing. So what you have to do is to pull as close to the first car as possible. Make sure that the back of your cars are in line. Then, stop and turn the steering wheel to the left. Don’t forget to look behind you. Stop reversing and turn the wheel in the middle position. Continue reversing. Stop and turn you wheel to the right. Continue reversing, but slowly. Stop when the car is parked in parallel.
  • Reverse Parking– This may be easier than parallel parking. To do it, move the car forward. Look around and make sure that no pedestrian or other cars are approaching. Move backward until you see the two lines in your wing mirrors. When you see that the lines are parallel to the side mirror, straighten the wheel.
  • Forward Parking- Slowly approach the spotted empty space. Make a signal before you turn. Steer the wheel to the right and park the car in the space. Finally, bring the steering wheel to the left. When your mirror is line with the car next to your’s, then you’re completely parked.

3. Merge in traffic smoothly.

If you don’t know how to merge in traffic smoothly, then there is a high possibility that you will be the cause of accidents and road rage. There are some people who are aggressive in cutting lanes and there are others who will politely take their place in the long lane and wait for their exit. However, the right thing one should do is to keep calm, slow down a bit, and zipper merge. This means that everyone should wait for their own turn. It may take some time, but it will save you a lot of headaches and will help avoid bottleneck or accidents.

4. Drive like a pro.

While it’s true that you shouldn’t drive under extreme conditions, there are some instances when they will catch you unaware and you’re suddenly faced with hazardous situations. Here are some tips you can use during commonly feared driving conditions:

  • When snowing– First, you must ensure that your car is in top shape. Then, study the streets and know which lane gets plowed first. Always step on the brake before you make a turn to avoid slipping. Keep a good distance from the car before you. When your car is skidding, don’t panic and avoid focusing on the target.
  • When driving in the dark– Angle your headlights the right way and make sure that they are clean. Then, adjust your mirrors and see if they’re blurry or not. If the former, clean it. When a coming car’s headlight is blinding you, focus on the white line. To do this, you have to make sure that your eyes are not tired. Finally, do go too near the car you are following.
  • When passing a slow car– Pull back so that you can accelerate. Then, get to a much faster speed as you can. If you fail to make a pass, you need to use your back-up plan. Slow down and make room between you and the other car. Then, drop back behind it. Of course, before you do this, make sure that you know your state’s law with regards overtaking.

5. Know where you are going.

drive safe

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Driving while using your cellphone is against the law as it is a distraction and can be the cause of accidents; that is why drivers are often advised to keep it away, turn it off or set it in silent mode. This is also true with eating, drinking, and frequently looking at the car’s navigation system. Other navigation systems are already voice operated, but if yours happen to be not, then you might want to take this tip.

Since looking at something most of the time will only serve as a distraction, it’s best if you know where you’re going and memorize it by heart. That way, you’ll be able to focus on the road. If you’re bad at memorizing, you can turn on Google map and activate voiced instructions.

6. Avoid overspeeding.

Want to go to your destination a little faster? Why not overspeed. That way, you can save travel time, right?

Unfortunately, this common belief is entirely false. Increasing your speed will not get you to your destination faster. One research found that if you are going for a long trip, then you will not save that much time at all even if you are already overspeeding. At most, you can save about 12 minutes for a normally 1 hour trip. If you think about it, it’s not that much. And 12 minutes is not worth the risk of getting a ticket. It’ll disappear quickly without you even realizing it. Therefore, it’s better if you follow the law and drive within the speed limit.

If you are really in a rush, you can use these tips instead:

  • If you’re stopping by several places on the way to your destination, plan your route beforehand. Which one would save you more time? Which place is the nearest? However you do it, just make sure that you are doing as little backtracking as possible.
  • Avoid turning left as much as possible. When you’re lost and you don’t know where to turn, always choose right. It does not mean that the right-hand street is always the way to lead you to your destination. It’s just that when you run out of gas, the right-hand street will lead you faster to a gas station compared to the left.
  • If there is a roundabout, use it. It is better in coordinating traffic between several crossroads than a four-way stop.

These are some of the most useful driving tips you may or may not heard before. If you’re keen on driving, you may not be in any accident yet. If so, do yourself and other people a favor and keep the record straight. Make sure that you know what you’re doing whenever you are behind the wheel. And when you’re in the tight spot, these tips may come in handy. You only have to follow them.

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