Once you’re done with your driving lessons, the next big thing between you and your New York license is the road test. It might be smarter to put your defensive driving strategies into play for you to nail the road test on the first try. As you know, defensive driving goes beyond mastering driving and the rules of the road.
Besides minimizing the risk of collisions, using defensive driving techniques will prove to your examiner that you’re ready to be on the road. It’ll be clear to them that you’ve honed your driving skills, and you can make the roads safer as a driver.
The tips below can help you prove your skills during the road test;
1. Focus on the Wheel and the Road Ahead
During your road test, you should avoid distractions at all costs. Keep off your phone and any other electronic devices and focus on your driving. Don’t be distracted by anything else not related to your driving. Whether it’s an accident or anything else happening on the road, you should focus on driving safely away from the other distracted motorists.
2. Scan the Road Far Ahead and Be Aware of Your Surroundings While Driving
While you should focus on the motorists in front, you also need to scan the road farther ahead to identify any hazards or blind spots. Use the car mirrors to check behind and the surroundings so you can avoid possible dangers.
3. Be Prepared at All Times
As you drive, you should be ready to drive defensively to avoid crashes or collisions. Preventive actions are necessary for your safety and that of other motorists. Sit straight without slouching and keep your hands on the wheel. If you spot a hazard in front, you should take the necessary action like changing lanes safely or slowing down.
4. Follow the 3-Second Rule
The three-second rule requires you to keep a safe distance from the motorist in front of you. This means you should have 3 seconds of driving time between you and the other motorist. You should have ample room to maneuver.
The three-second rule applies in situations such as;
- When another car is tailgating
- During bad weather such as rain, wind gusts, snow, or fog
- During traffic jams when cars are rushing in and out of your lane
- When roads are slippery or under construction
- When a large truck or bus is in front of you
5. Enroll for a Defensive Driving Course
Before taking your road test, you should polish your defensive driving skills by enrolling in a reputable driving school. This will help you upskill to become a safe driver. A defensive driving course will improve your safety knowledge and update your knowledge on local driving laws and regulations. The driving school has certified instructors who will take you through a comprehensive curriculum to ensure you pass your road test.
6. Observe All the Road Signs
When taking your road test, you should be keen on the traffic rules and road signs in your test location. On the road, you’ll encounter truck drivers who are driving beyond the speed limit for one reason or another. They tend to maneuver through uneven surfaces, sharp curves, and other hazards. You have to be keen on the road signs and your driving to avoid colliding with them.
Stay alert on intersections and stop signs. Watch out for crossing traffic to see if motorists are stopping at the red light. Proceed only when you have the right of way.
7. Stay on the Right Lane
Don’t change lanes unnecessarily as slipping between motorists will risk causing an accident. Another motorist may be doing the same thing, which may endanger your safety. If you try to slip between two drivers without much space between them, the vehicle in front may slow down, causing you to rear-end it. You’ll not only be breaking the traffic law but will also you’re your driving test.
During your driving lessons, you were taught that the far right lane is for entering and exiting the highway while the left lane can be used to pass other cars. You cannot drive on these lanes while traveling long distances.
8. Don’t Brake Suddenly
Don’t brake suddenly unless you’re out of choices. Always watch the brake lights of the cars in front. If you notice several vehicles slowing or braking, you should start braking early to avoid an abrupt stop. Also, tap your brakes several times to warn the motorists behind you.
9. Observe the Speed Limit
When driving, you have the responsibility to keep the posted speed limits. You should make sure your driving speed matches the conditions of the road or the area. Driving at high speeds may limit your vehicle control if anything goes wrong. To be able to control your vehicle, you must keep your speed under control.
10. Drive Defensively
Make sure you are in the center of your lane every time you drive. Avoid driving in another motorist’s blind spot. Also, make sure you keep your car in an open space situation where you can freely change lanes if an emergency arises.
Switch lanes to avoid the tailgating motorist, but only do it when it’s safe. If it’s not possible to switch lanes, tap your brake pedal lightly, and the brake lights will flash to warn the tailgating car that you’re slowing to give them way. If the driver keeps tailgating, just pull off the road to let them pass.
11. Use Your Headlights and Blinkers Wisely
If your visibility is impaired while driving on a winding road or in rain, snow, low light, and fog, turn off your headlights to allow other vehicles to see you. Only use high beams in areas with low traffic and turn them down for oncoming motorists.
Use blinkers to signal other drivers that you’re changing lanes or turning. This will help to prevent collisions.
Driving defensively gives you complete control when behind the steering will. Proper preparation and attention to instructions will help you keep your focus throughout your road test. These tips will start you off, and you’re sure to pass on your first try.
Always follow the road signs and traffic rules and avoid any form of distractions. This will let you concentrate on the task ahead to the end. Above all, come well prepared to pass.