7 Rules for New Drivers: How To Drive Safely

7 Rules for New Drivers: How To Drive Safely

In the United States alone, road crashes seriously injure 4.4 million people yearly. These injuries are severe enough to warrant medical attention. That’s on top of the thousands of other people who lose their lives because of such incidents.

New drivers, in turn, are behind many of those unfortunate events. After all, they lack driving experience and are also more prone to speeding.

So if you’ve only started driving yourself, you must master the road safety rules for new drivers. Doing so can help protect you and other road users from deadly incidents.

To that end, we created this guide on the most crucial rules to abide by as you gain more road experience. Read on to discover what they are so you can follow them the next time you go out for a drive.

1. Perform Vehicle Inspections Before Every Drive

It’s vital to check your car for potential problems before every drive, regardless of how new it is. A good enough reason is that even new vehicles may have defects that make them dangerous.

For example, in March 2022 alone, Ford had to recall 736,000 vehicles, including some of its 2022 models. There were also 7,000 Daimler Trucks recalled in the first half of 2022, including 2021, 2022, and 2023 models. There were also hundreds of thousands of other recalls for older models.

Thus, staying safe on the road must begin at home while you still have your car parked. Check the following for starters:

  • Fluid leaks under the car
  • Proper tire inflation and pressure
  • Front and rear lights
  • Good window visibility

Next, get inside your ride and check the back seats to ensure no one is hiding there. Carjackers may hide in these places and surprise drivers once they start their cars.

After that, check your mirrors and ensure they have proper alignment. They should always give you an optimal view of the road.

You can then start your car to see if all the gauges on your dashboard are working. Finally, put on your seatbelt before driving away.

2. Gain Experience on Familiar Roads

Since you’re only beginning to drive, consider gaining more experience on short trips. Most importantly, stick to roads you’re already familiar with so you don’t have to use a GPS.

You’d want to avoid configuring a GPS while driving because it can be enough of a distraction. All distractions, in turn, are dangerous, as they often lead to drivers taking their eyes off the road. Five seconds of not looking at the road can already result in a loss of life.

3. Put Away Your Phone

One of the most crucial driving tips for beginners, regardless of age, is to avoid phone use while driving. It heightens one’s crash risk even more than operating a GPS.

For example, texting while operating a vehicle can make a crash 23 times more likely. Taking or making calls while driving also increases accident risk by four times.

If there’s an urgent need to text or call, find a safe place where you can pull over. You should take your phone out and use it only after you’ve parked safely.

4. Never Drive if You Feel Sleepy

In a CDC survey, 1 in 25 adult drivers admitted to falling asleep while driving. Dozing off behind the wheel, even if only for a few seconds, can be enough to cause a road incident.

So if you feel sleepy, don’t even think about getting behind the wheel. But if you must drive, consider drinking coffee to help keep you awake and alert.

Do your best to get at least 7 hours of sleep before the following day’s drive. If you’re a teen driver, ensure you get at least 8 hours of ZZZs.

5. Commute if You Feel Tired

If you wake up tired, it may be better to commute than drive. Alternatively, you can have another household member drop you off and pick you up.

Fatigue increases your risk of getting into a crash because it can impair your reflexes. For instance, it may slow your reaction times. It can also make you more likely to fall asleep behind the wheel.

6. Don’t Drive if You’re Going to Drink

It’s illegal for anyone younger than 21 to drink alcohol in the United States. For the same reason, it’s unlawful for drivers under 21 to drink and operate a vehicle.

What if you’re a new driver who’s already at least 21? If so, you can drink, but if you do, don’t drive after. Even if you don’t cause an accident, you can still face severe punishment if you get caught.

For example, some states like California enforce harsh penalties for first-time DUI convictions. These include imprisonment, hefty fines, and loss of driving privileges. You’d have to hire an experienced DUI attorney to avoid such severe consequences.

Also, it’s not just your life on the line if you drink and drive; you’re also putting others’ safety at risk. That’s because even a single standard alcoholic drink can affect your driving. It can already impair your hand-eye coordination and slow your reaction times.

Thus, if you have plans to drink after work, don’t take your car and commute instead. If it’s an “unplanned” event, you can have another household member pick you up and drive you back home.

7. Practice Defensive Driving at All Times

Defensive driving is a set of skills that can help defend or protect you against collisions. You can think of it as always being on guard against inexperienced, drunk, or reckless drivers.

Defensive driving involves using and honing your observation skills. That enables you to react faster to potential road hazards.

For example, if you drive defensively, you don’t assume other drivers are doing the same thing. Instead, you’re already planning what to do if they suddenly cut you off.

In doing so, you can already take steps before they even do something, such as slowing down ahead of time. As a result, you can leave more than enough space between your car and theirs to avoid a collision.

Follow These Rules for New Drivers

Remember, a property damage-only crash can already have an economic cost of $4,700. That goes up to $101,000 for an incident resulting in a disabling injury.

So as someone new to driving, always abide by all safety rules for new drivers. Following them to a T can help safeguard your life and those of other road users.

Did you like this informative article? Then you’ll surely love our other guides, so check out more of our blog posts now!