Top 10 Mistakes New Drivers Make and How to Avoid Them

Top 10 Mistakes New Drivers Make and How to Avoid Them

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Earning your license and hitting the road solo for the first time is exhilarating. But with independence comes new responsibilities. Many dangerous habits can creep into new drivers’ skills without proper guidance.

As professional driving instructors, we’ve seen students of all ages fall victim to common mistakes. Let’s walk through the top 10 errors to be aware of as a new driver. We’ll also provide tips to help you avoid these pitfalls as you build your experience.

1. Forgetting to Check Blind Spots

Focused on what’s directly ahead, it’s easy to neglect scanning side and rear blind spots before changing lanes or turning. However, failing to thoroughly assess adjacent areas can lead to collisions.

How to Avoid: Make checking your mirrors and blind spots over both shoulders a habitual part of every maneuver. Take an extra second to turn your head – it’s worth avoiding a sideswipe!

2. Distracted Driving

Eyes drifting from the road to glance at a phone screen or program the stereo can have deadly consequences. Even brief distractions compromise your reaction time.

How to Avoid: Keep your eyes on the road at all times. Let calls go to voicemail and save non-essential adjustments until safely parked. It can wait.

3. Following Too Closely

Maintaining inadequate distance between yourself and the vehicle ahead is a common rookie error. Tailgating hampers visibility and reaction time.

How to Avoid: Use the “two-second rule” – pick a marker like a sign as the car ahead passes it. You should reach the marker at least two seconds later.

4. Running Red Lights

Drivers trying to “beat the yellow” often run red lights unintentionally. Attempting to speed through as the light changes can cause T-bone crashes in intersections.

How to Avoid: Proceed with caution as a light turns yellow rather than slamming the gas. Prepare to stop and allow yourself extra time to brake.

5. Rolling Stops

Many new drivers develop a bad habit of barely slowing at stop signs rather than coming to a complete stop. This dangerous maneuver risks collision with cross traffic.

How to Avoid: Train yourself to make full and complete stops at every stop sign, even if you don’t see other vehicles present.

6. Neglecting Turn Signals

Forgetting to use turn signals prevents other drivers from anticipating your moves. Be in the habit of signalling every turn and lane change.

How to Avoid: Get in the rhythm of engaging your signal before every maneuver – it should become automatic.

7. Misjudging Speed

Novices may underestimate their speed when joining highways or accelerating for passes. Going faster than the flow of traffic risks collisions.

How to Avoid: Make a point to monitor your speedometer more frequently until you learn to better gauge your speed without looking.

8. Improper Parking

Sloppy parking just inside lines or well away from curbs can lead to collisions with nearby vehicles when exiting. Precision takes practice.

How to Avoid: Take a little extra time to neatly park within designated spaces and approach curbs at the correct angle.

9. Hesitating

New drivers can be overly tentative, pausing too long when entering traffic or waiting for exaggerated gaps between cars. This disrupts traffic flow.

How to Avoid: Learn to identify safe but assertive opportunities to merge and turn. Confidence will come with time behind the wheel.

10. Aggressive Driving

Conversely, some newbies drive too aggressively, speeding, weaving, and trying to “prove themselves.” Patience prevents accidents.

How to Avoid: Follow posted speed limits, allow passing lanes to overtake, and realize there is no reward for rushing. Just relax and enjoy the ride!

With awareness and practice, driving mishaps can be avoided. Our qualified instructors emphasize building the right reflexes and habits from the start. Contact Parallel Driving School to enroll in driving lessons tailored to new drivers. Let us put you on the road to safe, smart driving!

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