In 2019 there were around 38.4 million licenced cars in the UK, and each driver behind the wheel of a car has a responsibility to drive carefully and responsibly. While everyone has learned to drive properly to pass their practical driving test, it’s not uncommon for people’s skills and knowledge of the road to have slipped a little since.
If you want to improve your skills as a driver to make sure you’re as safe as possible on the road, there are plenty of exercises and practices you can do to get yourself back to your prime. Try out some of the tips we share in this post to become better at driving.
There are many traits of a good driver. Drivers should be tolerant of other road users: vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians. They should be calm and confident in their abilities, stick to the speed limit and obey traffic laws. They should know the Highway Code and understand road signs, and they should never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Speed limits are a maximum, not a target, so make sure you stick to them when you are driving – especially around school zones or parks. Speed limits are there to protect you as well as other drivers and pedestrians.
Don’t accelerate or brake jerkily, instead try to be as smooth as possible in all of your driving actions. This will also help you to increase your fuel economy so that you can maximise your mileage on a tank, as well as helping to keep your car in good condition.
Keep on top of car maintenance by doing routine checks such as checking and correcting tyre pressure and tyre depth, and monitoring oil levels. Always keep the car clean and make sure your registration plates are visible.
Keep a safe distance from other cars on the road to give yourself time to anticipate changes in their driving. If you need to concentrate, turn off the radio to minimise your distractions.
You should always have your eyes on the road in-front of you unless you’re checking your mirrors or speed. That means you should minimise visual distractions wherever possible by putting your phone somewhere you can’t access it and avoiding turning to talk to passengers.
When driving on motorways, stay in the inside lane unless you’re overtaking and don’t hog the middle or outside lanes. Always make sure to look in the rear view and wing mirrors before indicating and moving across lanes, as well as staying in the lane as you turn corners.
Familiarise yourself with road signs and what different pedestrian crossings mean. Know the road markings in your local area to make sure that you know who has right of way. Keep up to date with updates to the Highway Code, to make sure you’re never working with outdated information.
Whilst driving, always stay alert. To stay safe, look for hazards like pedestrians, cyclists, obstructions on the road and make sure you’re utilising your mirrors wherever they’re needed.
Your car is a piece of heavy machinery and it has the power to hurt you or those around you. Treat it and the roads that you drive on with respect and don’t take the responsibility of driving lightly!
Using your indicators to indicate your next movements, whether that’s changing lane, taking a turn, or pulling up on the side of the road, is the best way of keeping other drivers on the road safe. It should never be unclear to other drivers what your next move is going to be.
Using car controls such as windscreen wipers, headlights, and the heating system should be second nature to you once passing your test. This ensures using these controls on the road won’t be a distraction to you, allowing you to stay 100% focussed on driving.
As with anything, confidence often takes time, and practice makes perfect. Start off with small journeys and build up on roads that increase in speed limits or traffic density until you have tried everything.
When you set off on a journey, know the route that you will take. Use a GPS system or look up the route in advance so that you can avoid busier roads or narrow roads, for example. If you’re nervous, you may want to force yourself to drive new routes early in the morning when the roads are less busy.
Display P plates if you would like – they show other drivers that you have just passed your test and need extra time and space on the road.