After passing your test, and that sense of having your instructor watch your every move has dissipated, it can be easy to let standards slip and forget to do the basic things you were taught during your lessons. This is where bad habits can set in and put you, and other drivers, at risk.
Check, check and check again
First of all, throughout our driving lessons we are constantly reminded to check all areas around the car before moving off – back left, left mirror, rear view mirror, right mirror and back right. Once you get more comfortable with your surroundings it can become all to easy to neglect to run through these checks. Forgetting to check your blind spot can result in serious accidents occurring. When coming on to a motorway, changing lanes or pulling out of a parking space, your blind spot should always be checked for vehicles, cyclists and even pedestrians to avoid major accidents.
The next habit drivers can get into is forgetting about that little stick behind your steering wheel – your indicator. This causes irritation to drivers around you and can also be the cause of accidents. If you don’t tell other cars where you are going, how are they supposed to know? When changing lanes at a junction, or pulling out from a parked position, you should always use your indicator and make people
aware of your intentions.
Keep your distance
Driving instructors teach us allow at least a two-second gap between you and the vehicle in front. On wet roads this should be atleast doubled and increased further on icy roads. Not long after passing our tests this is likely to be forgotten about, but tailgating is not only frustrating for both drivers involved, but it can also be dangerous. If the driver in front decides to slam on their brakes, then not only do you go into the back of them, but this is legally your fault. Keeping a safe distance is important when driving.
Top up your fuel
Driving can be expensive, with outgoings including insurance, maintenance, the car and above all, the fuel. There is a lot of choice out there and many new drivers may want to get the most out of every tank, however it can be extremely damaging to your car to be driving on empty. The sediment (dirt) from your fuel settles at the bottom of the tank so when you drive on an almost empty tank, you force this dirt to run through your car. This can cause problems with your engine. It may seem like you are making the most of your money but in reality this could end up costing you more.
These are many more bad habits that new drivers could pick up as they begin driving independently. It is important to remember what you have been taught and why, as safety should be your priority at all times when driving.