So you finally got your brand new driver’s licence. Congratulations! You’re now ready to conquer the streets.
However, remember that earning your licence doesn’t mean the end of your driving lessons. Indeed, every time you drive a car is another opportunity to learn. Moreover, there are many road tips that your driving instructor will not be able to teach you. Their years of experience simply can’t be compressed into a few sessions’ worth of lessons.
Below is a list of just a few useful tips to keep in mind that can make you a better car owner and driver.
Find a Reliable Source of Car Parts
Don’t wait until you get into an accident or your car breaks down before finding a source of car parts. As soon as you get a vehicle, look for a reliable auto parts supplier. This way, you’re not scrambling to find the components you need. It’s especially important for you to find a supplier if the car model you have is already discontinued or can be classified as rare in any way.
How to Change or Deal With a Flat
Changing a flat tyre is one of the quintessential skills that any driver should learn. There are plenty of tutorials you can find online, but be mindful of some unique quirks that your own car might have. Should you get a flat while on the road, make sure to pull off the road completely and call for assistance. Only change the tyre if it’s safe. Make sure that you also have the right equipment for changing a flat tyre, including a jack, a reflective vest, and warning triangles.
You Can Dry Your Brakes on Wet Roads
When driving in the rain or stormy weather, the key thing to remember is to keep a bigger space between you and the car in front. This is because the stopping distance increases when the roads are wet. Another thing to keep in mind is that you can dry your brakes while driving. Do this by gently pressing the brake pedal after you’ve driven over a puddle. The action can air out your brakes, preventing them from getting flooded.
Don’t Be Afraid to Brake Hard
Some new drivers may be reluctant to hit the brakes hard. Obviously, you shouldn’t slam on the brakes “just because.” However, if there’s a definite need to stop and stop immediately, don’t hesitate to step on the brakes. They are there to stop your vehicle safely. It’s better to give your brake pads and rotors a bit of an exercise rather than get into a serious accident.
Always Use the Hand Brake
Here’s another thing about your vehicle’s brakes, specifically the hand brake: make sure to engage it every time you park. This will keep the mechanism in good shape and also take the burden off your car’s parking pawl. This is a pin-like component that prevents your wheels from rotating. By engaging the hand brake (also called the parking brake), your car’s weight will be distributed more evenly. The only occasion that you shouldn’t engage the hand brake is extremely cold weather so the brake pads won’t freeze.
Your Rearview Mirror Has a Night Mode
Even long-time drivers forget that their rearview mirror has a night mode. You can activate this by pulling the lever or knob under or behind it, thus changing the angle of the mirror. This way, you won’t get blinded by the car behind you (whose driver may not be polite enough to lower their beams).
Other Drivers May Not Be as Conscientious
Always assume that other drivers are not as careful on the road as you. Keeping this mindset will help make you more alert and observant. In turn, this will help keep you and your passengers safe.
Slow Down When a Car in the Other Lane Does
Usually, a driver won’t slow down without a good reason. Thus, if you see a car in the other lane slow down, make sure to follow suit. They may be avoiding a road hazard or perhaps letting a pedestrian walk past.
Forget the “10 and 2”
Drivers all over the world were taught to keep their hands at the “10 and 2” position, mimicking the positions of these numbers on a clock. However, this conventional wisdom came from a time when power steering wasn’t the norm. Nowadays, it’s best to keep your hand at “9 and 3.” This won’t put as much force on the steering wheel. More importantly, this position will keep your hands out of the way of the airbag.
Use Your Signals
As a form of general road courtesy, make sure to use your vehicle’s turn signals to let other drivers know where you’re going. You might be surprised, but there are a lot of drivers who forget to signal when they’re making turns.
Last but not the least, don’t use your phone when you’re driving. It’s practically common sense, but there are still plenty of drivers who think they can sneak in a text message without risking their safety. If you really must use your phone, pull over. There are also accessories that allow you to answer calls hands-free.