One of the big issues for teens taking driver's ed is building confidence when getting behind the steering wheel. In most cases they have spent many hours as a passenger so the concept of driving is very familiar. However, it becomes a different story when actually moving to the "big seat" and taking charge of a 4,000 pound vehicle.
A few simple items can dramatically increase the confidence of new drivers, which in turn can increase their safety as well.
- Get good training. This includes an online driver's ed course, behind the wheel lessons, and supplemental car control skills training if available.
- Adjust mirrors correctly as alleviating blind spots can help put the driver at ease. It builds confidence to be able to visually see everything that is happening around the vehicle at all times.
- Visualize a bubble of space around the car which provides room to maneuver. This bubble allows a safety cushion providing the driver with both time and space in which to avoid dangerous situations.
- Know the rules of the road including traffic signs, right-of-way, roundabouts, etc.
- Proper brake use is critical to safe driving. Practice braking to get a feel for how long it takes to slow down at varying speeds and road conditions.
- Get rid of distractions and do not drive while texting. Minimizing all forms of distractions allows the driver to focus on building good habits in the early stages of learning to drive.
- Use high aim vision. Drivers should target their vision on what's occurring far ahead and not become fixated on the immediate car ahead of them.
Follow the above simple rules and novice drivers can have a much safer time behind the wheel.