If you are in your heydays as a driver, you are probably nervous and overcautious. Undoubtedly, you are trying to apply all the instructions your dad or driving school instructor has taught you to become a skilled driver.
But, what if things don’t seem to work the more you try? It could be your skills are wanting, so you need more tips to become a better driver.
On the other hand, you could be an experienced driver, but something is lacking even with your experience; you seem to be reckless or negligent even after years of driving. It would be best if you also learned some more tricks to become a skilled driver.
We have compiled a list of ten secrets to help you become a skilled driver. Some of these secrets will surprise you. So here are the ten secrets to becoming a skilled driver:
1. Take A Defensive Driving Course
Anyone can always take additional courses to improve their skills. Defensive driving courses are meant not just for beginners but also for experienced drivers as well. You may have been a driver for years, but that doesn’t mean you are at the top of your game right now, especially on matters to do with traffic rules. Taking a refresher course will open your eyes to some skills that have long faded from your memory.
There is nothing like being too old or too smart to study, or that once taught always smart. One good thing about defensive driving courses is that you can take them online while seated on your couch.
2. Move at the Same Speed As Other Vehicles
It is one of the important lessons in driver education courses, but one that almost every learner forgets as soon as they get the license. Well, some people always want to be ahead of others to boost their ego. You should know that the road is not the right place to show your love for attention because things may not end well if everyone starts to imitate your habit.
It is dangerous to over-speed no matter the reason; everyone knows that, or should. It is also dangerous to drive slower than necessary. When you choose the right speed, take into account the traffic density. The road should be your patience-testing ground.
3. Keep Your Hands on the Wheel in the Proper Position
In the past, instructors advised their students to keep their hands high on the wheel, that is, on the 10 and 2 o’clock positions, or 9 and 3 positions. But this has been found to cause tensions in your hands after a long drive.
It is now recommended that you keep your hands lower on the steering wheel because it is the most ergonomic position to hold your hands in for an extended period. This trick makes your driving a better experience.
4. Control Under-steering and Over-steering
In cases of under-steering, the front tires lose traction on the road surface while turning because of the speed of acceleration. The same thing happens with the rear tires in cases of over-steering. If you are driving on a wet or icy road, do not accelerate too much. The best way is to drive at a moderate speed if you aim to avoid under-steering or over-steering.
5. Park Precisely
What was the hardest part of the learning process when you were taking the driving lessons? It was no doubt parallel parking. Parallel parking could be confusing and time-consuming, but it is essential because if you can parallel park perfectly, you will not be afraid of crowded parking lots. You can park any vehicle in a matter of seconds. You would also be more confident when driving a car in reverse.
6. Use the Handbrake to Perform a Handbrake Turn
This technique requires practice, so you are not going to master it on day one. It is widely used by auto racers because it helps them keep momentum when getting around a tight corner.
There are many of those on a racing track. The racer locks up the rear wheels, slows the car, and points in the right direction without losing speed which he cares so much about.
This trick is not just for races: it can help you in an emergency. However, do not overuse this technique, and do not try it on dry asphalt lest you expose the tires to premature wear.
7. Use Heel-Toe Downshifting
This technique involves shifting the transmission down from a higher gear to a lower one by hitting the gas pedal with your heel and braking with your toe at the same time.
It considerably reduces the time required for shifting the gears, prevents the unloading of rear wheels, and allows fast and smooth downshifting before turning. Moreover, your transmission will live longer if you use this trick.
8. Pay Attention to Cars at the Distance
Focusing on the nearest surroundings is a habit many drivers find challenging to break from when moving in heavy traffic. Of course, looking near is vital for your safety, no doubt about that. But you should also train yourself to look far ahead.
By looking ahead, you get the time to react in case of an emergency. For instance, if you notice brake lights some 300 meters away, you will have the time to stop your car and avoid getting into an accident. This cannot be the case if you see the brake lights when you are too close to the scene to brake.
Even if you believe you are an experienced driver, you should always stay alert and reallocate your attention.
9. Adjust the Mirrors to Eliminate Blind Spots
If your side mirrors mainly reflect your car’s flanks, it means that you are not making proper use of the whole reflecting surface. Remember that the driver-side mirror should reflect only a quarter of the car you are in, while the passenger-side mirror should reflect only the rear quarter of the vehicle.
Furthermore, the cabin’s rear-view mirror should reflect the rear window right in the center of it.
10. Use Your Left Foot to Brake
Most driving schools will tell you always to use your right foot to brake. Nevertheless, braking is an excellent reason to use your left foot, just as auto racers are used to. Auto racers prefer to brake with their left foot to keep the car balanced while applying power.
Braking on the left foot is backed by science because it is safer. It would help if you always kept the left foot over the left pedal while the right foot over the right pedal. But when it is time to hit the brake, you simply apply pressure on the left foot to reduce the likelihood of committing an error.
With these tips, you will become a skilled driver and be safe on the road. Remember to take a fresher course for more valuable driving skills updates. Things change the more time flies, so there are new skills you always need to learn.
If you are nervous and starting as a new driver, I recommend going through our 5-hour driving course to enhance your confidence, first.
Pierre Paul Driving School is one fully equipped, DMV-approved, and well-reputed school you can consider for your refresher course or first-time driving lessons.