Getting into good habits when you first start learning to drive is important. This helps ensure you keep those good habits later on. Of course there are many different opinions on what is “correct” when it comes to these driving techniques.
Below is a list of what is most commonly taught by professional driving instructors.
1. Before you start the car
- Adjusting your seat: making sure the head rest is at the right height for you, the back rest is at the right position for good posture, the seat is close enough for you to comfortably reach and manoeuvre the steering wheel and reach the pedals.
- Adjusting your mirrors: so that all 3 show you as much of the road and surroundings as possible. The side view mirrors should show half sky half road. The rear view mirror should show the entire back window.
- Positioning the seat belt correctly: making sure that it sits firmly but comfortably across your lower abdomen and along your chest and right shoulder. Also doing the same for your passengers.
2. Starting the car and driving
- Once it is on: Foot on the brake, put it in drive, handbrake down and indicator on to leave the kerb. Indicate for at least 5 seconds and check the mirrors before leaving the kerb. Once it is safe go for it.
- Before turning indicate for at least 3 seconds.
- Before changing lanes check your mirrors first then indicate for at least 2 seconds, check blind spots to make sure it is safe to merge.
- Indicate when turning at a round about and exiting a round about.
- Check your mirrors before indicating, slowing down or pulling over to a kerb.
3. Staying aware of your surroundings
- Scan your surroundings constantly
- Check your left and right at intersections even if it is your way
- Check all round about exits and entry points even if it is your way
- If you can’t see what is happening 5 cars in front of you, slow down and show caution.
- Be cautious when changing lanes, look over your shoulder to make sure your blind spot is clear and keep an eye out for other vehicles that may also be merging.
4. Pushing boundaries
- Do not roll through a stop sign, it’s not a give way. Stop and look left to right for three whole seconds. When it is safe you can go.
- Stick to the speed limit or less. Going over the speed limit will endanger your life, as well as your passengers and other road users. Getting to your destination that 1 minute earlier is not worth it.
- Do not queue across the intersection. Even if the light is green but traffic in front of you is not moving don’t pile up behind them and block the other exits.
- If it turns orange slow down and stop. The only time you should leave at an orange light is if it is unsafe for you to stop.
5. Calm, careful and mature
- Keep a distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you. At least 3 seconds travel time apart.
- When stopping behind other vehicles leave a good space. Enough for you to be able to drive around them should you need to.
- Try to keep changing lanes to a minimum. The less lanes you change the less risk you take.
- When approaching lights slow down even if they are green, take a second to scan the other sides of the intersection, you never know when someone is going to run a red light.