You just passed your road test and got the treasured NY driver’s license. Thumbs up!
Now you’ve got what it takes to drive on busy highways, heavy traffic, and go for long trips, right?
Well, not so fast.
Start by taking things slow at first because you aren’t yet perfect and you’ll gain more driving experience with time.
So how should a beginner drive in traffic?
1 Avoid Aggressive Driving
As a fresh driving graduate, you should not tempt fate. This doesn’t mean that experienced drivers should do otherwise; it is just that, in their case, they have learned some tricks they can use to save the situation quickly or evade the possible consequences their actions attract. It would be best to avoid aggressive driving; learn how to stay in your lane even when others are not.
Your lane might have been mobile for minutes while the other lane is moving, so you look over and wish you were there. So you switch, but then the traffic on your previous lane starts to move faster you switch back to it. This kind of aggressive driving only helps to slow the traffic if many drivers practice it. Do not be tempted to weave in and out of your lane or move from lane to lane.
2 Slow Down in Wet Roads and Bad Weather
You should not maintain fast speed when you are driving on wet roads. Your tires are likely to slide on a wet road than on a dry one. This can result in an accident.
It may also help if you choose a bright day without snow, rain, or fog to drive when you are still a beginner. In a dense fog, your visibility can be significantly strained. This can pile more stress or anxiety in you as you struggle to judge the distance between your car and the one in front. In short, choose good weather if possible. Bad weather and heavy traffic are not what you would like to have as a beginner still learning the ropes. Stick to good weather until such a time when you can handle difficult situations confidently.
3 Know The Blind Spots
The area behind your vehicle’s pillars and the back are the blind spots you should never forget about when you are driving in traffic. When you are to move in these directions, you need to be overcautious because the chances are that something is hidden from you. Do not be content with looking into your rear-view. Take a quick look at your blind spots to check if there is anything on your way before making any turn.
When you are driving on interstates major highways where the speed limits are high, the traffic from your rear will approach very fast, so you need to maintain the proper distance to keep your car visible in the rear-views of the buses and trucks in front of you.
4 Stay Focused
Distractions are bad enough even for an experienced driver, but for a newbie in traffic, the result of being distracted might be more severe. It would help if you focused on the road. Taking your eyes off the traffic for as much as 2 seconds could be disastrous. Getting involved in chitchat with your passenger should not take your attention off the road, no matter how interesting the conversation is.
Neither should you have one eye on the video-recording camera or be taking a selfie to share with friends when you are in traffic. A distraction that prevents you from focusing on the road can also be a bottle of soda or water or a packet of biscuits. In short, avoid all forms of in-car distractions that are likely to take your attention from the main thing.
5 Respect The Right-Of-Way Rules
When you are driving in traffic as a beginner, you will encounter many situations where other road users expect you to hold on and let them have it. Although the law gives the right of way to no one, you should know when you are expected to yield the right of way to other road users.
You should not always use common sense in some of these situations; let the right of way rules apply. Some of these rules are not fair, but if everyone obeyed them simultaneously, you would appreciate their value. It would be best if you always remember what you were taught about these rules.
6. Avoid Speeding
Speed is the top reason for fatal road accidents. The consequences could be worse for a new driver because you are likely to panic and get too confused to save the situation should there be an emergency.
You may not know how to stop the car when the brakes fail, so maintain the right speed so that should anything happen, you can correct it in time.
That said, adapt to the speed of other drivers when in traffic.
7. Avoid Tailgating
To be safe, you need to keep a reasonable distance from the car in front so that you can react well in case of emergency. Do not tailgate; you need enough cushion distance for reacting in case of emergency.
Always remember that the driver in front could be a novice like you, fumbling along. Again, he could be drunk, upset for whatever reason, or just distracted by a cell phone or a talkative passenger. Anything can happen. He might pull up when you least expect, so embrace defensive driving to be safer.
8. Keep Calm
It would help if you constantly stay calm while driving. Once in a while, some undisciplined driver is going to get on your nerves. But that should not affect your mood. Being angry can affect how you drive or react to what you consider provocations directed at you.
On the other hand, you are likely to overspend when angry, and it can happen so smoothly that you only realize you are overspending when it is too late
Driving is a fun activity, so it is not always about getting to the destination. It is enjoyable, even if you will be doing it as work. Because it is fun, you can easily forget the potential dangers around the traffic.
At Pierre Paul Driving School, we prepare our learners for the possible challenges that new drivers face in traffic and how to overcome them. You can join us today to learn driving, sit for the exams, pass, and get your driving license.