Everyone knows someone that’s a terrible driver. Usually, they’re the butt of the jokes when everyone’s around the dinner table or in the pub. If you can’t think of a friend or family member that’s a bad driver, then it’s probably you! Do people give you stick for your bad driving habits? Are your friends reluctant to get in a car with you? If so, you need to change this right away.
What makes someone a bad driver? To be honest, it depends on your driving habits. Some people are bad drivers because they’re too reckless and do stupid things. Others are the opposite; they’re too cautious and it makes them an awful driver. Then, you have drivers who rage a lot, can’t park their cars, or have a terrible sense of direction. Any and all of these issues can create a situation where you’re a bad driver. As such, this post will aim to address as many of these flaws as possible. Here are some top tips to help you improve your driving skills in no time at all:
You passed driver’s education, you have a few hours behind the wheel, and now you have your license. That covers only a few hours of actual education on how to drive and then the rest is up to real world experience. To help boost your skills, consider taking a course or 3 from your local driving school or racetrack. Most racetracks will offer some kind of training to help increase your skills both on and off the track. These skills are specific to your vehicle where you will learn how your car moves in certain situations.
Check out Sears Point Racing in Sonoma, California if you’re in the area.
Use parking sensors/a rear-view camera
The first tip is perfect for anyone that struggles to part their car. You may suck at reverse parking, or you struggle with parallel parking. Either way, you spend ages trying to park in certain situations. Typically, this is more of a technical issue with your driving skills. Perhaps you never learned how to park properly and got lucky on your test? Or, you stopped driving for ages and have never managed to get back into the swing of parking. Whatever the reason, you suck at parking and it’s embarrassing.
Consequently, you should use parking sensors or a rear-view camera to help you out. If you have a new car, it will likely come with this technology already. They’re both very popular pieces of kit that make driving easier. Don’t worry if your car doesn’t come equipped with either, you can buy them online and install them in your car. Effectively, these devices help you park by making you more aware of your surroundings. The sensors beep faster when you’re close to cars, and the camera can show you what’s behind your vehicle. In advanced systems, the camera actually maps out the angle for you to reverse in, guiding your progress.
As a result, you should park with more confidence. The great thing about this tip is that it teaches you how to park better. Think of these technologies as training wheels that slowly get you used to the right angles, etc. If parking is your biggest problem, give this tip a go.
Stop slamming your foot down
Reckless drivers will often try to replicate NASCAR racers by slamming their foot down on the accelerator pedal. You want to go as fast as possible, and you also want to hear your engine rev. While it may sound and look cool, this is an awful thing to do. It goes against everything in the driving technique manual, so stop doing it right away.
Why? Because slamming your foot down uses more revs, demanding more from your engine. In essence, you burn through more fuel without really going any further. It’s awful for fuel economy, as well as engine health. Instead, you should accelerate lightly and gradually, not all in one go. The best approach is to change gears as soon as possible. The higher gear you’re in, the less effort your engine pumps out. This saves fuel and also saves your car.
A great rule of thumb is to be in the highest gear that the speed limit allows. You’ll actually find it much easier to drive like this – your car feels more responsive and smooth. The best comparison is to imagine riding a bike up a hill in a low gear. Think about how much effort your legs are putting in to push you up that hill. If you go up into higher gears, your legs don’t get tired and it’s easier to ride.
Test your eyesight
This is an interesting one as it relates to both reckless and cautious drivers. Reckless drivers sometimes get into accidents (or near-misses) because they’re not aware of other cars or people. Sometimes, this is down to stupidity – other times, it’s because your eyesight sucks. Similarly, cautious drivers will crawl along at a snail’s pace because you’re squinting to see all the signs and you don’t feel comfortable.
In either case, you can solve the problem by testing your eyesight. If you need glasses, pick some up and wear them while you drive. As you can see here, there are loads of different styles and designs for men and women to choose from. If you’re worried about looking a bit geeky, just know that glasses are pretty cool nowadays. Of course, you could always wear contact lenses – the point is that you fix your bad vision.
Now, you should get in fewer accidents and be less reckless as you actually see what’s happening on the roads. For cautious drivers, it can give you more confidence to up your speed and not be so worried while you drive.
Drive an automatic car
Some of you are bad drivers because you struggle to multitask and change gears. Again, you may have got lucky during your test, but it’s always been something you struggled with. As mentioned previously, lots of people don’t know how to change gears efficiently. So, it makes sense to completely eliminate this worry if you want to be a better driver!
Driving an automatic car is so much easier than driving one with manual gears. You literally only have to worry about accelerating and braking – nothing else! Honestly, if you swap from a manual car to an automatic one, you’ll kick yourself for driving manually all your life. Every journey is more convenient as you have less to worry about. There’s no need to listen out for revs, you’ll never change into the wrong gear, and stalling will be a thing of the past!
Naturally, automatic cars do come with some disadvantages. Mainly, they tend to be more expensive than manual ones. You could also argue that manual ones outperform automatics because you can change gears to accelerate faster. However, this isn’t an issue in normal life at all. When do you ever need to drive fast? If anything, this is a benefit as it stops you from being too reckless.
Consider using sat-nav
A satellite navigation system can be your best friend. It’s ideal for drivers that struggle with directions. While you could argue that your sense of direction is bad, not your driving, it’s still an issue. Nobody wants to get in the car with someone that always gets lost or is late!
With sat-nav, you can map out the ideal route to your destination. Again, modern cars come with this, but you can get it on your phone too. Make sure you turn the hands-free settings on, so you don’t have to keep looking at or touching your phone. A voice will guide you to your destination, eliminating your poor sense of direction.
So you have Waze and your mobile phone maps app…they do not rely on satellites but instead on cell phone towers. Guess what? If there are no towers, it does not know where you are.
Get back to basics
The penultimate piece of advice is to get back to basics. Here, we’re talking about learning the primary rules of the road. Reckless drivers are reckless because they ignore road signs and rules. You may do this on purpose, or you might do it because you don’t actually know what the signs mean. By paying attention to signs and warnings, you will become a much better driver.
For instance, if there’s a sign on the road that tells you not to overtake someone, you won’t take the risk. Or, if you have to give way to another driver, you’ll know when to do it. These things can prevent so many accidents when a driver just doesn’t know what they’re doing. Of course, you also have the obvious rule of the speed limit. Be aware of what it is, then stick to it as closely as possible.
While this mainly targets reckless drivers, you can include cautious drivers here as well. If you’re driving well below the speed limit, you actually become a danger to others. Up your speed to a safe level and you’ll be a better driver.
Practice makes perfect
Finally, you need to drive as much as possible. Most people are bad drivers because they don’t like driving. Therefore, you avoid doing it, which only makes you worse. Like anything in life, driving gets easier the more you do it. Keep going out and driving to work, practice parking, and you will improve your skills. Soon, it will come naturally and feel like second nature to you.
On that note, you’ve seen the main advice to improve your driving skills. Hopefully, there’ something in this post for all sorts of drivers. Whether you’re reckless, cautious, or bad with navigation, you can sort out your problems. Soon, you’ll be the best driver you know!