Professional driving instruction is great but out on the road as a new driver, difficult situations can arise that you might not have covered while trying to pass your test.
Here are 5 survival tips newly minted drivers need to know.
The first time you drive a long distance trip you’re going to have to learn about how to pace yourself after several hours behind the wheel.
Driving when tired is very dangerous and no amount of coffee, energy drinks, winding down the windows, or turning music up loud will stop you dozing off.
Micro-sleeps can happen in seconds, and if you’ve never done a long trip before, you may not recognize the signs that warn you need to stop.
Every two hours, find somewhere safe to pull over and take a break.
Keep your tyre pressure right
Having the correct tyre pressure is one of the most important economic and safety issues for your car.
Your tyres will last longer and you’ll save money and fuel because your car will handle more efficiently, and this may even prevent accidents.
Check the vehicle’s manual or the manufacturer’s sticker on the inside edge of the driver’s door for correct pressure settings.
Most service stations have air compressors. If you’re not sure how to use them, take an experienced driver with you to show you how to check and fill your tyre.
Know what to do if your car breaks down
As a newbie driver breaking down can be scary, especially if it’s at night, in heavy traffic or in an isolated place. If you can, look for a safe place to pull off the road.
Use your hazard warning lights to warn other traffic especially if your car is causing an obstruction.
If it’s not safe to stay in the car, get yourself and all passengers out of the car safely making sure that you stay away from the road, and that children and pets are kept under control.
If it’s possible, retreat up the bank or find a barrier for safety and comfort, making sure your car is locked first. Once the car is off the road and/or all passengers are safe, call for help.
Drive safely in serious weather
Australian weather can throw some massive storms at us and you need to prepare for all kinds of driving conditions.
There are lots of things you can do to make driving in bad conditions less stressful. Be clear about your route and check road and weather reports so you’re up-to-date with changing conditions.
If bad weather is forecast, especially situations that might involve flash flooding, consider whether you need to drive at all.
If you do get caught in bad weather, slow down and stay very alert to changing road conditions.
Use lights in low visibility, and if you feel you don’t have the skills to negotiate the conditions, get safely off the road until it passes.
It may sound obvious but driving while juggling hot drinks or food can be dangerous and can cause burns to the driver or even worse, an accident.
If you’re a new driver, try to keep your entire focus on driving and let passengers help you with snacks.
Keep these tips in mind to ensure that you, your passengers and other road users and pedestrians stay safe!