Learning how to drive, passing your road test, and finally getting your driver’s license are the three most exciting moments for any new driver. You’ll eventually be able to drive a vehicle on your own, unsupervised, just like a pro. But the truth is, your real test begins right when you hit the road.
What you learned in driving school may not be enough to keep you safe and confident on the road in real-time. There are other skills you should know of that will make you a better driver. Here are tips to help make driving easy for you.
1. Using the Hand Brake Regularly
Whether you are angle parking or not, you should use the hand brake more regularly to keep it alive. Only in cold weather should you stop using it to prevent the brake pads from freezing.
2. Checking if the Mirrors are well Adjusted
Before setting off, you should inspect the car mirrors to ensure they are all correctly positioned to help you spot and avoid blind spots. Check your side mirrors and adjust them so you can see your vehicle’s back window while in your normal driving position.
3. Learning to Feel Where Your Car Wheels Are
Knowing where your wheels are can help you avoid scratching your hubcaps while parking and evade potholes on the road. With experience and proper car control, you’ll know where your wheels are position, a skill that can also help you park well in tight spaces.
To learn how to feel where your wheels are, take a plastic bottle, flatten it with your foot and place it on the road. Drive over it in turns with your left and right front wheels. With your window open, you’ll be able to hear as the bottle crunches. Continue practicing until you get it right.
4. Using the Anti-Lock Braking System
Anti-lock brakes prevent wheels from locking up when you brake intensely. This is a safety system you can use during extreme weather conditions like storms. When you have an anti-lock braking system fitted on your car, you can negotiate corners safely and save money on repairs.
5. Changing the Rear-View Mirror’s Angle at Night
Rearview mirrors have a day and nighttime mode. When driving at night, you can change the mirror’s angle by pulling down the lever beneath it. This will prevent the vehicle behind from blinding you.
6. Watching Out for Trucks Maneuvering In Front
While on the road, you should watch out for those trucks trying to maneuver down the road. Truck and bus drivers can see the road clearly and may change lanes immediately they spot a car accident or roadblock. When you see them doing this, you should follow suit.
When trucks are trying to overtake, you should reduce your speed and let them pass. Driving next to them on a highway isn’t comfortable, so it’s better to let them have their right of way for your own safety.
7. Turning On Your Air Conditioner Regularly
The air conditioner is mostly used in summer, but it’s also important to turn it on during perfect weather to prevent its coolant from seeping out and drying out the tubes. Switching it on can save you from the costs of replacing parts. You can regularly use its dry, warm air during winter to clear your windscreen as you ensure the tubes remain moist.
8. Getting to the Gas Station When Running Out of Fuel
Running out of fuel in the middle of nowhere can be scary, especially if you’re a new driver. If your car is loaded, you’ll have to stop it in a safe zone and make it light by removing some of the things. Drive slowly and steadily without braking and accelerating and shut down the windows to minimize wind resistance.
Turn off the air conditioner to avoid stressing the engine. Turn off the phone chargers and stereo too.This will help you contain the situation and get to the nearest gas station.
9. Drying Your Brakes Immediately You Drive Through a Puddle
If you accidentally drove through a puddle, you should dry your brakes immediately to prevent water from penetrating the vehicle’s ignition system. You can do this by pressing your gas pedal repeatedly. The friction will cause heat and evaporate the water from the pedals.
But before that, you should slow down and maneuver through the puddle smoothly without changing your speed or maneuvering. If you drive faster, water will get into the ignition and stall your engine. The car may lose traction and cause you to lose your control over it too.
When you pass a big puddle, don’t switch off the engine, or change your speed before drying the brakes first.
10. Turning On High Beams When the Car Doesn’t Start
Sometimes during winter, your car may refuse to start. To make it start immediately, you should heat the battery by turning on the high beams. Switching on the indicator or radio can also work.
11. Parking Guided By Your Mirrors and Windows
When parallel parking, you should ensure you don’t scratch the hubcaps by sticking a piece of colored tape on the bottom of your windshield. Only stop when the tape matches the curb line. The best way to parallel park your car is by doing it in reverse. This will make the curb visible through the side view mirrors, so you don’t get too close.
For perpendicular parking, you should stop immediately you spot the curb under your side mirror. This will ensure the distance between the curb and the car is minimal and you’ll avoid scratching the bumper.
Driving is a continuous learning process. Until you understand your car and its components and the rules of the road, it’ll take time to become a confident driver.
The best way to master your skill is through practice, improvising, adapting, and overcoming. Better stay vigilant, alert, and focused on the road and the surroundings. Never forget the basics of driving as you traverse around the metro.