Owning the Road: 8 Driving Tips for Beginners, Straight from the Pros

December 31, 2018

driving tips for beginners

Before you get behind the wheel and let loose on the streets of New York, it’s wise to take a minute to get some professional advice.

Sadly, the majority of accidents in New York are caused by young people. Rather than becoming part of the statistics, get a load of the advice below and you’ll be confident and safe on the roads.

Read on for 8 top driving tips for beginners.

1. Set Up Your Mirrors Correctly

Before you even start the car, it’s vital that your mirrors are set up to give you maximum road visibility.

For most drivers, that means moving the side mirrors out until you can just see the edge of the car. However, that’s not far enough. You want to see exactly what’s happening at the side of you.

To do this move your head over to the left by the window and now adjust the left mirror out until you can see the edge of the car. Move over to your right toward the heating controls and do the same to check your right mirror.

Now you have the best possible view of the road. That said, it’s still vital that you…

2. Always Check Your Blindspot

The importance of this piece of advice cannot be overestimated.

No matter how well you adjust your mirrors, you’ll never have a perfect view of the road behind you. It’s super easy for a cyclist, pedestrian or another vehicle to be hovering in your blind spot out of view.

Before turning, always check over your shoulder. It only takes a quick glance, and you should practice this until it becomes second nature. Doing so can potentially save your life and those of others.

Speaking of keeping your eyes open…

3. Keep Your Eyes Looking Around

Get out of the city and onto the open road and you’ll soon find that driving can get boring, fast.

It can be very easy to find your eyes glued to the car in front, or simply to the long, straight road ahead of you. However, this is a mistake and can lead to accidents.

Train yourself to keep your eyes moving. Keep scanning the road ahead, moving your eyes, not your head unless you’re changing lanes.

If you become focused on just one point, you can be at risk of a phenomenon known as target fixation. This can lead to accidents, so take our advice and keep those eyes alert and moving.

4. Adapt to Weather Conditions

In New York, winter weather can get pretty bad. 

Roads can be icy, visibility can be low, and snow is a regular feature. All of this requires preparation and careful driving. Ensure that you have scrapers in your car at all times and don’t get going until the car is thoroughly scraped off.

Maintain your car well, including having sufficient tread on your tires. When driving, go slowly. Maintain a greater distance between you and the vehicle in front. 

The best way to learn to drive is to take a course with an experienced instructor in your local area. They’re familiar with local road and weather conditions. They’ll be able to train you to get your license and be a safe driver.

5. Gently Does It

Have you ever been driven by someone who loves to accelerate hard, then slam on the brakes?

Of course, you have! Well, don’t be like them.

People who drive like that are causing a whole load of trouble to their vehicles, not to mention other drivers. Rapid acceleration puts extra strain on the rear tires and heavy braking puts extra on the front. It also means you’re more likely to crash.

In fact, there isn’t a part of your car that benefits from being driven that way. The best way to provide a comfortable driving experience for yourself and your car is to be gentle. Accelerate smoothly and squeeze the brake rather than ramming it.

Turn smoothly when cornering, keeping the weight balanced across all four tires.

6. Handle the Wheel Correctly

For many years, one of the tips for new drivers was to keep your hands in the 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock positions.

Actually, that advice is now considered outdated. The safest and most comfortable position is actually around 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock.

Once you’ve got a comfortable grip on the wheel, you’ll be able to handle it safely. This will allow you to concentrate on the road and avoiding hazards.

7. Don’t Drive Distracted

The law is clear — cell phones and driving do not mix. 

You’ll end up with points on your driving record, a fine, or worse — you could cause a potentially fatal accident.

Remember though, that there are plenty of other distractions other than cell phones.

Eating while driving is a big one. Trying to juggle a Reuben and your steering wheel? Don’t — pull over, enjoy your sandwich, and carry on.

Maps and navigations systems are also potential distractions. The best advice? As much as you can, be prepared before you set off, or enlist a capable passenger to direct you.

8. Stick to the Speed Limit

We know, we’re all in a hurry at times. But the risks of speeding far outweigh any potential drawbacks of being a little late.

The speed limits have been put there for a reason. There’s science behind it. Stopping distances have been calculated, and other road users are taken into consideration.

Not only is it a bad habit, but it’s also a dangerous one and one best avoided altogether.

The Takeaway: The Ultimate Driving Tips for Beginners

Every driver wants to feel safe and confident on the road and if you follow our ultimate driving tips for beginners you’ll be well on your way.

Remember, safety is your number one priority. Smooth driving will also help you have a comfortable ride, and keep your vehicle in good shape for as long as possible. 

At Pierre Paul Driving School, we have the skills and experience to help you become the best driver you can be.

If you’re ready to learn from the best, click here for our attractive packages today!