Easy Ways to Help Improve Your Driving
Too many of us make the critical mistake of thinking that passing the standard driving test makes us a “good driver.” The truth is that passing your DVSA test is merely the step you take to be legally declared “good enough” to drive on public roads in the UK.
To become a truly “good” driver, you will need to do a bit more. The most effective way is to drive carefully for years across a variety of conditions and environments. This will naturally raise your level to very great heights. The downside is that it can take years. In today’s blog, we are looking at simple steps that you can take to raise your driving level in both the short and long term.
Help Improve Your Driving – 8 Simple Ways
In our list, we’ve included methods that are both time-efficient and cost-effective. None of these methods will require you to spend years practicing nor to break the bank.
1. Take the Pass Plus or Other Advanced Driving Course
After passing the standard DVSA test, things like the Pass Plus are a great way for new and younger drivers to further expand their experience while having an experienced instructor on hand just in case. There’s no official exam to take for these courses, and they will instruct learners on how to drive on motorways, in bad weather and at night, among other things.
These courses can also instruct even more experienced drivers on how to handle dangerous situations such as regaining control of the car when you are aquaplaning or skidding. Such skills aren’t just good for boosting your overall driving level, but they can actually be life-saving.
2. Check Your Blind Spot
When you were learning to drive, it’s a sure thing that your instructor always reminded you to do this, but it never ceases to amaze experts just how many people lose this habit over time. It’s a global problem, too. Back in 2013, the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that some 840,000 accidents on American roads were caused by blind-spot related problems.
So, to be a better driver, regaining and strengthening this habit is a great way to become a much safer driver. Newer cars are often built with blind-spot assist features that will warn you when there’s something in your blind spot. As car manufacturers will remind you, however, these systems are not a substitute for an alert and vigilant driver.
3. Get an Eye Test
Many people’s driving suffers simply because they are too proud or too lazy to go and get an eye test. If you find yourself experiencing even a tiny bit more difficulty than usual in reading road signs or recognizing other happenings in the road in advance, then get an eye test and check to make sure you don’t need glasses. This is doubly important if you’ve never worn glasses before. It happens to the best of us. Get over your vanity and get your eyes checked.
4. Keep Your Eyes Moving
Another eye-related thing you can do to improve your driving is to not allow them to settle on any one thing in particular. What can happen is a phenomenon called “target fixation” where you stare at one thing almost in a daze and actually lose all focus and proper concentration. This can happen on the road when your eyes become transfixed on the car in front. At first you might be watching and thinking that you’re being vigilant and attentive. If you get target fixation, however, you might not realize in time that you’re actually rocketing towards the rear of that car after they came to a stop.
5. Increase Following Distance
Maintaining a proper and safe following distance is always a good habit to have. Some people get used to following closely as they are frequently putting themselves into “overtake mode.” If you can exercise patience, hang back from the car in front and keep that distance continuously, your driving will be safer for yourself and for other cars. Creating that space also gives the overtaking junkies a safe haven to duck into when they find themselves in need.
6. Familiarize Yourself with All Car Functions
A lot of people drive their car for years without even knowing what half the buttons do, or what their car is even capable of doing. New cars come with a raft of amazing features that you might not have had on your older one. You should take time to learn about what your car can do, where the controls are and how to access them. Think of it as getting better acquainted with the physical geography of your dashboard, as well as the digital geography of your car’s systems.
7. Headlights On
Do you only ever turn your headlights on at night? You might think that the headlights are primarily there to help you see where you’re going in the dark. In many ways, you’re right, that is a big part of their function. They are also, however, a big part of helping other people see you in the road. There are many drivers on the road in the early morning or in the bad light of autumn and winter afternoons who should turn their lights on but don’t.
Learning when it’s the right time to turn on your lights is a great way to make yourself and others safer on the road. You’d be amazed at how hard it is to spot a car coming in bad light when their lights are not on.
8. Stick to Speed Limits
Finally, driving at or just below the given speed limits is another way to be a better driver. Don’t listen to those who spin the common rumours that “it’s okay to drive 10 percent over the limit.” This is entirely untrue. Being even 5mph over the speed limit has a huge impact on your braking and stopping distances.
Speed limits are designed with everyone’s safety in mind. Sticking to them gives you better control, minimizes the risk of accidents, and as a nice bonus will also stop you falling foul of a speed camera or a traffic policeman parked in a lay-by.
Drive Safe, Drive Well
At the end of the day, the real key to improving your driving is to increase the ways in which you drive safely. It is that safety which is the foundation of your status as a “good driver.” Stay safe on the road and never be afraid to take the initiative and seek assistance from professional instructors if you want to work more on improving your driving skills.