After passing your driver’s test and receiving your license, you’ll have the benefit of legally taking your car on the road. Although you may have practiced a ton, it’s a different experience being completely unsupervised while on the road. The first few months of driving will expose you to many uncontrollable variables such as road traffic, pedestrians, and unfamiliar driving terrain. How you approach these encounters will shape what kind of driver you’ll be.
How to Put Your Driver’s Ed into Practice
Driving in real life is not like driving school— not only are you on your own behind the wheel, but you also may be driving along routes that you haven’t taken before. Thankfully, you don’t have to go in completely blind as a newly licensed driver. Being cautious and practical on the road takes patience and adherence to road safety practices.
If you want to grow into a responsible driver, here are three things you should aim to keep in mind:
1) REMEMBER YOUR CLASSROOM LESSONS
While the freedom of having your own license is exciting and it may be tempting to let loose on some of the rules, there’s a reason that the study portion of driver education is standard practice. Some small details that are strongly emphasized during driver training can actually be the most important ones to remember when you’re driving every day. For example, adjusting your mirrors and checking your blind spots will ensure that you have all the information you need to be a safe and effective driver.
Once you’re already on the road, don’t forget to look both ways and watch out for pedestrians. As a courtesy to other drivers and pedestrians, remember to use your turn signals before switching lanes or making a turn. Similar to your exercises in driving school, pay attention to traffic and crosswalks when braking or stopping at a red light. All the lectures ingrained in you at school correspond to real-life situations that you will face every day.
2) FOCUS ON DEVELOPING YOUR CORE SKILLS
Just because you no longer have an instructor looking over your shoulder, it doesn’t mean you can suddenly multitask while driving. In fact, even the most experienced professional drivers avoid multitasking while behind the wheel. Using your phone, eating, and drinking while driving is three of the most common causes of avoidable collisions. When you’re distracted, you’re much more likely to get into a car accident.
Remember that driving is a skill that you develop through muscle memory. For that reason, it’s especially important to reduce any possibilities of distraction while you’re driving for the first year. Even before you get comfortable looking at a GPS app on your phone, it’s crucial to build your core driving skills. Building these core skills by driving without any digital assistance or other distractions will significantly improve your driving sense for years to come.
3) STICK TO FAMILIAR ROADS
Having a license doesn’t automatically prepare you for the real world right away. Remember that your weeks of studying and practice were in a controlled environment or under supervision. That time has allowed you to hone your skills without dealing with other real-life variables.
While you’re honing your driving skills without supervision, it’s a good idea to stick close to home on familiar routes whenever you can. Building your driving sense takes time, and it’s better to commit mistakes in places you know than on highways you’re unfamiliar with.
Getting your license isn’t an excuse to put less effort into your driving. Being a new driver already puts you at a higher risk of a car accident, so ignoring the lessons you learned in training will only increase the risk. Reckless driving leads to avoidable collisions that damage public properties and take innocent lives. For this reason, it’s necessary to begin with excellent driving education and then remember to continue actively learning throughout the first year of driving with your license.
At Fleet Safety International, our focus is training Canadian drivers to be safer on the road. We are known for teaching defensive driving techniques that students can learn through our convenient and accessible online courses. If you want to become a responsible driver by learning defensive driving in Alberta, contact us today!