New Driver Cheat Sheet: Helpful Tips for New Drivers
Hitting the road for the first time after officially getting your license can be stressful and intimidating, but it can also be extremely fun. It’s the best feeling when you’re free to drive wherever you want and go to all the places your heart desires. Here are some helpful tips for new and inexperienced drivers to consider while they’re still learning the ropes.
Safety is always number one, and that means making sure your vehicle is safe before you get on the road. It doesn’t hurt to do a quick walk around of your vehicle to make sure all your light bulbs are working properly, there are no loose or broken parts that could potentially fall off on the road, and also check your wipers and windshield. You’ll want to ensure the glass is clear and that nothing is in the way of the wipers if it starts to rain.
Next, you’ll want to be safe inside the vehicle. Check all of the vehicles’ mirrors, inside and out (side and rear-view mirrors). They should be adjusted to your field of vision to avoid any possible blind spots.
After you’re done checking the mirrors, it’s time to buckle up. It seems obvious to say, but always be sure that your seatbelt is on before you start driving. Make sure all your passengers have their belts on as well. And put your phone somewhere you won’t be tempted to reach for it, believe me, your followers can wait.
Functions and Settings
Once you and any passengers are buckled up, you’ll want to check any additional settings inside the vehicle. Your seat settings are an important step to be aware of before you take off. Make sure you’re the proper distance from the steering wheel: 10 inches. Sitting too close can be dangerous in case you happen to get into an accident and the airbag goes off, you won’t want it hitting you directly in the face at high speeds.
Check additional settings like the AC, set the radio or choose a playlist on your phone so you won’t be tempted to play with it while you’re on the road, and lastly any special settings like heated/cooling seats and turn your lights on if it’s nighttime – which you may want to avoid altogether. Driving at night is more difficult, and depending on the province you live in, it may be against the law for young or new drivers to drive past a certain time. If you’re not sure, check with your driving instructor or official license issuer.
On the Road
Once you start driving, the most important advice we can offer is to relax. It can be overwhelming and there’s a lot to take in within your busy surroundings. It’s tempting to check your speed frequently, but this can ultimately become distracting if you’re checking too often. Just stick to the legal speed limit (or 5 kms lower if you’re unsure or nervous) and glance at your speedometer every once in a while.
Some other helpful advice:
- Know where your vehicle is on the road. This helps you avoid potholes and other road hazards.
- Stay a safe distance behind vehicles ahead of you. The proper distance should be at least 2 seconds and should be doubled if driving conditions are bad, or a trailer is in front of you.
- If a vehicle is slowing down ahead of you or applying brakes, follow suit. There is most likely a reason why they’re slowing down and you may not be familiar with this route yet.
Relax and Have Fun!
These are just a few tips to make driving a little easier for new drivers on the road. You won’t be inexperienced for much longer and before you know it, driving will feel like second nature to you. When that happens, make sure you don’t get too comfortable and keep safety your first priority. Don’t get lazy! If you maintain a great driving record and stay safe on the roads, you’ll be well on your way through the Graduated Driver Licensing Program in Saskatchewan.