There are a variety of different types of driver on our roads today: new drivers; those who passed their test decades ago; those who don’t enjoy it but must get from A to B; those who enjoy driving; and those who drive for a living. Everyone is trying to get to where they need to go, but we’re all going at a different pace according to our confidence and ability. However, no matter what your driving skills are like, there’s always room for improvement in becoming a better driver…
Know your car’s limits
In order to be a great driver you must know exactly how to handle the vehicle in a variety of situations. A good way to test the limits of your car is to take it to a big, empty car park and practice parking and turning. If it is raining or snowing then it’s a good idea to practice skidding whilst you’re in the relative safety of the car park. Get to know how your wheels, gears, and brakes operate in slippery conditions compared to dry conditions, so that you’ll be ready for anything on the road.
Adjust your mirrors correctly
When you get into the car one of the first things you should always do is to adjust your mirrors so that all of your blind spots are covered. Make sure that you can clearly see out of your rear windscreen and that your wing mirrors are positioned to allow you to see the traffic, pedestrians, and environment either side of your car easily.
Learn to read the road
One of the easiest ways to read the road is to assume that all other drivers don’t know what they’re doing. This way you can pre-empt their actions and prepare yourself for sudden stops etc. Even though all cars have indicators, not all drivers use them. Keep your distance, drive at a moderate speed, and always be ready to brake in case the car in front suddenly slows down and turns off the road without warning.
Be courteous to other road users
How many times have you been sat waiting to pull out and the stream of traffic never ends; then all of a sudden an angel appears from nowhere and lets you pull out in front of them. This one act of kindness on their part means that you make it to work on time, hallelujah! Be that angel. Do nice things for other drivers and you’ll have a calmer, happier commute. If we all endeavoured to be more courteous to our fellow road users then all of our journeys would be pleasant ones.
Ditch the distractions
We all know that using mobile phones behind the wheel is against the law, but there are plenty of other things that can distract drivers. Avoid fiddling with a map or sat nav whilst you’re on the move; plan your journey beforehand, program the sat nav before you set off, and pull over if you need to check the map. Keep the radio at a sensible level or turn it off completely; retuning it whilst you drive is a recipe for disaster! If you have a passenger who talks a lot while you’re trying to drive, try asking them to keep quiet or sit in the back so that you can concentrate.