For some people, driving is a pleasure, for others, it’s a necessity. No matter which category you fit into, you need good driving skills if you want to stay safe and enjoy smooth drives while you’re out on the road. When asked, most people consider themselves pretty decent drivers. They’ve passed the driving test and got their license after all, so that has to count for something, right? But getting a driver’s license is one thing, and becoming a good driver is another.
Having great driving skills is especially important when you live in a big city. We all know the challenges of navigating urban roads: busy streets, insane traffic, aggressive drivers, distracting sounds, poor road conditions etc. But not everyone knows what to do when they’re faced with these challenges and minimize risks when they get behind the wheel.
Fortunately, you can always improve your driving abilities and make your life as a driver in the concrete jungle easier. So here are some very useful driving tips from the pros that you should put into practice straight away.
Start with a checklist
You want to get from point A to point B. What do you do? If you say jump in the car and drive off, that’s the wrong answer. Preparation is key if you want to stay safe and avoid unpleasant surprises. You should always start your trip with a basic checklist. Before you start the engine, check to see if the car is in good shape, check your mirrors, tires and fuel level, pay attention to weather conditions and take a close look at your surroundings. Only after you’ve ticked all the boxes on your checklist you can put your seatbelt on and hit the road.
Play by the rules
Any driver anywhere must obey the traffic laws and regulations in their area and use their common sense when they get behind the wheel. However, that’s a bit more difficult in big cities, where road width, traffic rules and speed limits can change suddenly from one block to another. As a big city driver, you shouldn’t let your guard down and rely on the fact that you already know the rules. You should be extra careful, keep your eyes on traffic signs and avoid going into auto-pilot mode.
Plan your route
Large cities can confuse drivers, especially when they’re not familiar with their surroundings. But if you’re a cautious driver, instead of trying to find your way through the city maze or struggling to find a free parking spot, you can relax and focus on your driving. Planning your route beforehand and using a monthly parking service such as WhereiPark can help a lot in this respect. This will help you avoid getting lost on city streets and wasting precious time trying to park your car.
Keep your distance
Traffic jams have become synonymous with life in the big cities and chances are you’ll get stuck in traffic quite often if you drive a lot, so you’ll have to get used to being surrounded by angry and frustrated drivers. But that’s no reason to make yourself comfortable and get too close to your fellow drivers. Not keeping a safe distance from the car in front of you is one of the most common causes of car crashes worldwide. Most drivers assume they have enough time and space to react properly when a car stops suddenly, but that’s not usually the case. Do yourself a favor and keep a safe distance at all times.
Keep your eyes on the road
The road is not limited to the car in front of you. When your driving instructor told you to keep your eyes on the road, he meant paying attention to your surroundings, checking your rearview mirrors and your blind spots constantly. You might be a good driver, but remember you’re not the only road user out there. The drivers you share the road with might not be as skilled or as patient as you are, and you never know when someone will make an uninspired move. Play it safe, avoid distractions and stay focused when you’re out on the road.
It’s not easy to keep your cool when you’re stuck in traffic for hours, when you have to get somewhere fast or when you come across aggressive drivers. But the city will throw all these things at you on a daily basis. Needless to say, losing your temper when you’re driving can have many unpleasant consequences and put your safety at risk. Road rage is responsible for more traffic accidents than you can imagine. The best thing you can do is train yourself to remain calm in stressful situations so you can keep a cool head and act rationally in all circumstances.
Forget the 10 and 2 rule
Apparently the 10 and 2 rule is a thing of the past. Your driving instructor probably taught you to put your hands at 10 and 2 o’clock on the wheel, but experts now advise drivers to place their hands at 9 and 3 o’clock. Why the change, you might wonder. The explanation is simple: this way you have more freedom of movement and you can turn the wheel easier, without risking to get your hands tangled up in the process. As you can assume, driving with one hand is completely out of the question.
Don’t be a showoff
So, you’re a great driver with awesome driving skills that make you feel extra confident when you’re on the road. We’re sorry to say that don’t impress us much. You still have to obey the rules just like all other drivers and practice caution every time you hit the road. Even great drivers can make mistakes and one brief moment of distraction can lead to life-altering consequences. Remember, city streets are not a race track and you’re not a Formula 1 driver, no matter how skilled you are. So, don’t boast on your amazing driving abilities and stay on the safe side.