You can get your learner’s permit and driver’s license at sixteen in the United States. However, at that point, you will probably have had minimal real-world driving experience because of your age.
You will grow into a more experienced driver over time. You’ll deal with different traffic and weather situations, such as learning how to drive in the snow or a rainstorm. You might also drive multiple vehicles if you borrow a parent’s car or one a friend owns.
Real-world experience will help you, but in the meantime, here are some tips to keep in mind as you start to log some miles behind the wheel.
Keep Your Hands at Ten and Two
A car accident is never pleasant, and you want to do everything you can to avoid one. You might have heard this tip before at driving school or from a parent, but if you neglect to keep your hands at ten and two, you are putting yourself at a disadvantage if you need to react suddenly.
The expression “ten and two” refers to the ten o’clock and two o’clock position on a clock face. Consider the steering wheel to be a clock, and keep your hands there, gripping not too firmly, and not too loosely.
If you only steer with one hand, or if you hold the wheel in another position besides that one, then your reaction time will not be as good.
That can make a huge difference when you are trying to steer the vehicle to avoid an accident. That split-second can mean the difference between pulling the car to safety and colliding with an object, vehicle, or even a pedestrian.
Learn How to Drive Both Stick and Automatic
Driving using a stick shift is somewhat of a lost art. If you learned to drive using an automatic, you might wonder why you would ever need to master a stick shift.
You may be in a position at some point during your life where you will have only one vehicle available to you, but it is a stick shift. Maybe you’re trying to rent a car, but the agency doesn’t have any more automatics. Perhaps you’re giving an intoxicated friend a lift home in their vehicle, and theirs is a stick.
Also, using a stick shift teaches you a great deal about how a car’s transmission functions. It’s a much more personal experience driving stick than with an automatic transmission. Doing so might encourage you to learn more about how cars work.
Familiarize Yourself with Some Basic Maintenance Chores
You’ll also become a more responsible car owner and driver if you take some time to pop the hood and learn how to do essential maintenance. For instance, you should know how to check your oil level. You should know how to check your wiper fluid level as well.
You ought to know how to check how much air is in your tires, and how to fill a tire at a gas station. If you don’t know how to do these things, then there are videos and tutorials that you can watch online.
Taking care of simple maintenance tasks makes it much less likely that your vehicle will run into trouble when you’re out on the road.
Learn to Avoid Distraction
Distracted driving causes many accidents. It can be a problem for young drivers in particular.
Don’t ever text as you’re driving, and if you’re going to talk on the phone, do so through Bluetooth connectivity. Better yet, don’t talk on the phone till you get to your destination. Whatever there is to say can wait, and it’s better not to put yourself and your passengers in danger.
Practice Driving in Intimidating Conditions
If you get nervous during highway driving or when you’re in heavy traffic, confronting your trepidation is the best way to get over it. You can go for a drive on the freeway during rush hour every day.
If heavy rainstorm driving intimidates you, then you can take your car out during thunderstorms. You can bring along a parent or another more experienced driver to encourage you if you like. You will become better at it the more you do it.
Better driving skills come with time and practice, just the same as anything else. Go out of your way to drive every day, in as many different conditions as possible. Soon, your confidence will grow, and you won’t be afraid to tackle any driving situation that arises.