Knowing the technical know-how is not enough to become a good driver. A better driver understands that you need to follow some rules.
Passing your driving test is a milestone that's worth celebrating. After all, it's quite the responsibility to have the privilege of being granted the license to operate a motor vehicle. However, as ready as you are with the technical aspects of driving, are you familiar with the etiquette and road manners necessary to be a good driver?
You could be the best at navigating and driving so you get to get your destination in time, but do you know that it's rude (not to mention, unsafe) to weave in and out of traffic? Understanding that you're not the only car on the road seems like a no-brainer, yet when some drivers step behind the wheel, they feel as if they have every right to drive as they please. Avoid this pitfall by keeping in mind the following tips.
Good Manners Keeps Everyone Safe
Kindness and compassion for others should not end as soon as you step into your vehicle. It would help if you doubled your kindness and compassion. Road rage often happens because some of us become selfish drivers once we get on the road. Be courteous, and don't forget these safety reminders.
- Always wear your seat belt. Statistics don't lie. Seat belts save the lives of more than 15,000 people every year. This simple act could spell the difference between life and death.
- Do away with distractions. Or, at the very least, keep it to a minimum. Driving requires your full, uninterrupted attention. Try not to use your cellphones. If you want to listen to music, set it up before you even start driving. When driving at night, be on the lookout for reflective road-marking paint to gauge your speed and distance from other vehicles.
- Use your turn signals. We cannot stress this enough. It's a simple gesture but could have dire consequences if not done correctly. Signaling your intent to turn directions or switch lanes gives other drivers ample time to react.
What Not to Do
Now that we've gone over what you need to remember when you're on the road, here are the things you need to avoid doing.
- Don't block any passing lanes or intersections. It's tempting to keep tailgating (another don't!) the car in front of you at intersections or as you exit a parking lot if traffic is particularly heavy. However, this could cause an unnecessary accident as you could either rear-end the vehicle in front of you or an oncoming car could hit you as you enter traffic.
- Don't speed up when someone is passing you. This is where you can practice empathy. Put yourself in the other driver's shoes. How would you feel if you were trying to overtake a vehicle and the car you're passing starts matching their speed to yours? It's frustrating and annoying. You could also cause an accident, especially if they're trying to pass you in a two-way street.
- Don't make right turns from the left lane, or vice versa. Additionally, don't back up when you miss your exit on the freeway. Any sudden, unplanned movements like these could cause accidents since most drivers adhere to road rules. Instead of skipping lanes or backing up, drive along until you either see a spot where you can make a legal U-turn or take the next exit and find your way back around.
Driving etiquette is often overlooked at driving schools because most instructors believe that this is something you learn as you start getting better at driving. That might be the case, but knowing the basics is enough of a foundation to become a better and more well-mannered driver.