Eight crucial ways to be a safer (and more confident) driver

Want to be a safer and more confident driver on the roads? Here are eight tips to help you.

It’s important to be a safe and confident driver, especially at night. After sunset, it is harder to see pedestrians and other vehicles on the road. As well as this, there are fewer cars on the road after dark. This makes night driving more dangerous than daytime driving.

To help you become a safer driver at night, we’ve put together some tips that will help you to drive confidently in any situation. From basic safety features in your vehicle to the best ways to dress for night-time driving, these eight tips will have you feeling ready behind the wheel anytime!

1) Understand the most common causes of vehicle collisions

While the number varies depending on the studies, it’s estimated that there are around 30,000 road fatalities annually. Some of the causes are incredibly common, and could have been easily avoided, while others really are just freak accidents – a good reason to always wear your seatbelt, because anything can happen.

Here are the most common causes of vehicle collisions:

  • Not paying attention to your surroundings.
  • Driving under the influence.
  • Speeding, running red lights and stop signs.
  • Aggressive or reckless maneuvers.
  • Driving while fatigued.
  • Poor weather and road conditions.
  • Vehicle malfunctions.

2) Drive regularly

Make it a habit to get in your car and drive for 10-15 minutes every day, even if you don’t have any place to go. Adding ring roads and parking places along the way may aid in the establishment of confidence in your driving abilities. Teaching a teen to drive, for example, often starts with letting them drive around an empty parking lot, and then gradually moving onto other scenarios.

You should also go out and observe how the undulating roads change during the day; this may be a sunrise drive one day, a lunch route the next, and a twilight drive the next. Driving in a variety of weather and lighting circumstances can benefit this as well.

3) Make sure you are familiar with your vehicle

To feel comfortable and secure in your car, you must know it inside and out and master all of the settings. Learn how to use all of the buttons and switches and what they do. Know where your lights are, when they should be utilized, and how they should be used. Where are the horn, air conditioning, radio, boot-opener, cap, and fuel flap?

You should also walk around your vehicle and get a feel for its dimensions and size. This aids in the accurate measurement of distances and parking places.

Once you’ve identified your vehicle, you’ll feel more at ease in it and have more faith in it.

4) Practice in different weather conditions

One of the most important skills a driver can have is the ability to understand the driving environment. There are only two types of driving settings: ideal and inconvenient.

As someone seeking to improve their driving confidence, you must be prepared for all weather situations, including less-than-ideal ones. Remember to double-check your space, traction, and visibility (S-T-V). Learn as much as you can about as many different environments as possible.

5) Don’t put your trust in other drivers

Be cautious around others, but keep an eye out. Allowing another driver to merge or taking them off the road is not a good idea. Assume that motorists are approaching red lights or stop signs and are prepared to react. Make preparations for the worst-case situation.

6) Observe the 3-4 second rule

Because you have the greatest risk of colliding, using the 3- to 4-second rule can help you create and maintain a safe follow-up distance while also giving you enough time to stop if necessary.

This guideline, however, only works in ideal weather conditions with moderate traffic. Increase your following distance by one second in bad weather, fog, night driving, or when driving a large car or motorcycle.

7) Always be aware of your surroundings

It is all too frequently common for drivers to say “that other car came out of nowhere!”. But unless the other driver did actually magically teleport into existence, it’s very unlikely they “came out of nowhere”.

This is why it’s critical to keep an eye on your mirrors and scan the intersections ahead of time. Defensive driving entails becoming accustomed to scanning crosswalks quickly in order to avoid being T-boned by an ugly driver who fails to see a red signal. The ultimate goal is to anticipate car locations so that you can respond quickly a few seconds later.

8) Never give into road rage

Road rage is the polar opposite of defensive driving. Allowing other drivers’ aggressive driving habits to rub off on you is not a good idea. Road rage typically starts with a single person’s wrath and spreads to nearby vehicles.

You’d be surprised how quickly things can flare up on the road just by cutting someone off and then moving out of the way to “go back” to the other car. However, there are a number of tactics that can be used to avoid rage on the road.

The key thing though is not to allow yourself to be drawn into anger or retaliation. If you encounter an aggressive driver, resist the temptation to respond or react, and let them pass you by calmly.

Photo by Liam Pozz