Getting your driver’s licence means obtaining a higher level of freedom. Now, you can go wherever you want without being bogged down by transportation woes.
However, being behind the wheel as a new driver can be very intimidating. That’s only normal, roads can be dangerous. Here are some tips for any and all new Australian drivers to ensure that your drive is as safe as it can be.
Roads can look very different when you are in the driver’s seat compared to being a passenger. That said, you should take some time to learn where you are going and how to get there.
Make sure that your car has sufficient petrol to get you to your destination. Maybe have some extra fuel in a jerry can, especially if you are planning a long trip and are not sure where all the fuel stops are.
Always have a road-ready car by keeping up with car maintenance. Check oil levels, screenwash and tyre pressure regularly.
Make sure that if you are carrying an infant to have them properly secured and fitted in a baby car seat that meets your states legislative requirements. On that note, also ensure that all passengers wear their seatbelts.
As a new driver, it is best to avoid external distractions when behind the wheel. This is not to say that it is less important if you are an experienced driver.
Either way, having a clear head is critical when driving. This means that mobile phones should not be used while you drive and music should be at lower volumes.
Meanwhile, if you have passengers in your car, advise them to keep the noise down. If you are driving with your child or baby and they require attention, pull over in a safe spot and deal with the issue.
Do not try to deal with fussing little ones while you drive. It is hazardous for you and other road users.
Defensive Driving/Exercise Caution
Defensive driving is an important acquired skill and learning from a qualified professional might be an option you should consider.
Otherwise, keep some of these tips in mind. Obey traffic speed limits. Maintain a safe distance from the car in front of you and be aware of other road users.
Be sure to check your blind spot when merging or changing lanes. Safe gaps are essential; learn to ignore impatient drivers behind you who might be blaring their horns at you. When in doubt, give others the right of way before moving on yourself.
If possible, gain experience driving in different landscapes and weather conditions.
Knowledge Is Key
When you are alone in the car, it is especially vital that you have an emergency protocol. That way, you have all the necessary information and contacts available to you should something go awry.
If your car breaks down, you will be prepared and know what to do. Preferably, you would have a few specific garages to go to for your car maintenance and fixation. Alternatively, you could have break down cover should such events occur.
If you only keep to several different routes, it is helpful to note where the closest petrol stations, hospitals and police stations are. When travelling out of your usual area, especially for longer drives, you might want to look up petrol stations and such on the way too.
Should You Be Driving?
When driving, you should always be sharp and aware of potential hazards. So if you are tired or have had a bit too much to drink, someone else should get behind the wheel. Remember: It is illegal to drive when drunk or on drugs.
Fatigue can impair your perception and ability to make decisions and react fast. In such instances, you might want to stop somewhere before for a quick cat nap before continuing on your way. Never underestimate how tired you are. Your own judgement might not be accurate in this case.
Use the many the rest stops that are provided along most routes. Get out, stretch your legs and get some fresh air before continuing so you arrive at your destination safely.
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