5 Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Embarking on your driving journey is an exciting milestone, but it’s also important to navigate the road responsibly. To help you kickstart your journey on the right foot, we’ve compiled a list of five common mistakes new drivers often make – along with tips on how to avoid them. Let’s dive in!

  1. Neglecting Proper Mirror Adjustment:

One common mistake new drivers make is failing to properly adjust their mirrors before hitting the road. Remember to adjust your rearview and side mirrors to minimize blind spots and maximize visibility (just like you’ve been taught in class and on BTW drives). A quick check before driving can help you stay aware of your surroundings and prevent accidents.

Actionable Tip: Take a few extra moments before each trip to ensure your mirrors are correctly positioned. Adjust them so you can see the rear window’s entirety in the rearview mirror and minimize any overlapping view in your side mirrors. Make this part of your “seatbelt routine”.

  1. Following Too Closely (Tailgating):

Tailgating – or following too closely behind the vehicle in front of you – is a common mistake that can lead to rear-end collisions. Maintain a safe following distance to allow for ample reaction time in case the vehicle in front of you stops suddenly. A general rule of thumb is to leave AT LEAST three seconds of distance between you and the car ahead.

Actionable Tip: Use the “three-second rule” to gauge your following distance. Choose a fixed object on the road ahead and count the seconds it takes for your vehicle to reach that point after the vehicle in front passes it. Adjust your speed accordingly to maintain a safe distance.

  1. Failing to Signal Properly:

Proper signaling is crucial for communicating your intentions to other drivers on the road. Whether you’re changing lanes, turning, or merging, always use your turn signals to indicate your next move. Failing to signal can confuse other drivers and increase the risk of accidents.

Actionable Tip: Make it a habit to signal well in advance of any maneuver – at least 100 feet before turning or changing lanes. Check your surroundings for other vehicles, pedestrians, or cyclists before signaling and proceed only when it’s safe to do so.

  1. Speeding:

Speeding is a common mistake among new drivers eager to test their newfound freedom on the road. However, exceeding the speed limit significantly increases the risk of accidents and reduces your ability to react to unexpected hazards.

Actionable Tip: Always obey posted speed limits and adjust your speed according to road and weather conditions. Remember, it’s better to arrive at your destination safely than to rush and risk a collision.

  1. Distracted Driving:

Lastly, distracted driving – whether it’s texting, talking on the phone, or adjusting the radio – is a major contributor to accidents among new drivers. Keep your focus on the road at all times and avoid distractions that take your attention away from driving.

Actionable Tip: Practice mindful driving by eliminating distractions before you start driving. Silence your phone, set your GPS or music playlist beforehand, and focus solely on the task of driving.

By avoiding these common mistakes and practicing safe driving habits, you’ll set yourself up for a lifetime of safe and enjoyable journeys on the road. Remember, safe driving starts with you!

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