New Year Driving Resolutions

When it comes to driving, no matter how long you have been driving for, there is always room for improvement. As careful driving can improve your safety and help to prolong the life of your vehicle, why not make your New Year resolution to improve your driving skills.

Unsure where to start? Take a look at our top ten tips we have compiled to help you to become a better driver.

1. Practice

As with everything, practice will improve your performance. If you are used to driving short distances each day, test yourself by going for a long drive. Similarly, if you rarely encounter motorway driving or driving in urban areas, choose a time where the roads may be quiet and practice. This may come in helpful if you ever find yourself in a situation where you are forced to drive through a city at rush hour, and if you already know where you’re going and what to expect, this will become a lot less daunting!

2. Adjust your mirrors

Amazingly, many motorists do not have their mirrors in the correct position to help them whilst driving. Your wing mirrors should reflect what is next to your car, rather than what is behind it, as this is what the rear view mirror should be used for. Many people do not realise this and instead leave blind spots for themselves by focusing on positioning their wing mirrors to give a rear view.

When you are sitting in your usual driving position, you should be able to clearly see behind you from your rear view mirror and through the wing mirrors you should see to the side of your vehicle. Contrary to popular belief, you should only be able to see a very small amount of your vehicle from your wing mirror. Take a look at this image below for further guidance, envisioning your vehicle as the yellow one.

Adjust your mirrors

3. Practice parking manoeuvres

How confident are you when it comes to parallel parking? If even the thought of it fills you with dread, now is a perfect time to practice. Find somewhere quiet with plenty of space and practice any of the parking skills you struggle with. This will give you more confidence when you need to undertake parking manoeuvres in more difficult situations.

If you aren’t sure where to start, take a look online for step by step guides to parking or consider booking a driving lesson with an instructor to refresh your skills.

4. Learn how to handle tough weather conditions

Some drivers may choose to avoid driving during tough weather conditions like snow, ice or heavy rain. Whilst you should always make a sensible choice when it comes to getting on the road in these conditions, it is also beneficial to have an idea of how you should cope.

Head to an empty car park or other large space with an experienced driver in difficult conditions and test your reactions and your vehicles capabilities in a safe and controlled environment. This will help you feel more confident and understand what precautions you will need to take when you face such challenges on the road.

5. Refresh your knowledge of road signs

Car insurance company Zuto found that a huge 90% of drivers find road signs confusing and a third are unable to identify the national speed limit sign*. If it has been a while since your driving test or if you don’t always recognise the signs, it might be time to refresh your memory. After all, road signs are crucial to your safety on the road so it is important that you can read what they are telling you.

6. Tyre Checks

When it comes to safe and efficient driving, a few simple tyre checks can make all the difference. Ensuring that your tyres have sufficient and legal tread, are inflated to the correct pressure and have no signs of damage is a short, simple task but one which could drastically improve the safety of your car. Take a look at how to check your tyres here.

7. Keep your distance

Tailgating, or driving too close to the vehicle in front, is a common bad habit amongst motorists. Remember to keep a good gap between yourself and the vehicle in front when driving so that you have plenty of time to come to a stop if required.

If you find yourself being tailgated, do not be tempted to speed up and drive too close to the vehicle in front, as you will leave yourself sandwiched in a vulnerable position. Instead, maintain your safe distance and if possible slow down to let the car behind overtake.

8. Cut out distractions

If you are someone who changes the radio, eats or texts whilst at the wheel you need to remember that these distractions are dangerous and in some cases illegal. Taking your attention away from the road, even momentarily, could result in an accident.

If you find yourself distracted easily, turn your radio off whilst driving to avoid the temptation of adjusting it and turn your mobile phone off so that you are not tempted to check it.

9. Check your vehicle regularly

As well as checking your tyres, you should also regularly inspect the rest of your vehicle. This includes ensuring that all your engine fluids are topped up to sufficient levels and that your battery is working to its full potential. These checks take a very small amount of time but could significantly reduce your risk of breaking down.

10. Clean your car

Cleaning your vehicle won’t only improve your vehicle’s appearance, it can also help to improve your car safety. Windows and mirrors that are dirty can impair your vision and surprisingly, clutter inside your car can also impact road safety. The car insurance company More Than claimed that 20% of drivers surveyed admitted that they have had an accident or near-accident due to discarded items such as coffee cups rolling underneath pedals*.


Posted on: 01/02/2016

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