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Average to Awesome: Driving Etiquette for Beginners

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Just because you passed your driving test, it doesn’t automatically make you an expert driver. In fact, and I hate to break it to you, but you’re probably not very good at all compared to other road users.

Why? Because you lack some of the driving etiquette that comes with time behind the wheel.

Don’t worry though, there are several simple changes that you can make to transform from being a just-passed driver to being a dab hand. Here are some pearls of wisdom to help you be the best you can be:

Let people in/ out/ merge

 Don’t be a plonker. If you can see that someone is trying to merge with traffic, cross the road or wants to join your queue then let them. Ok, it may be annoying that they didn’t do it way back when it was clear to do so, but what do you lose from letting them out? Nothing.

Letting people in doesn’t add any noticeable time onto your journey but it can make it much easier for fellow drivers who have to deal with merging into difficult traffic on a daily basis. Place yourself in their shoes, if you would want to be let out then do the same for them.

Manage your speed

You’ve just passed your test, so it’s natural to want to put the pedal to the metal a little bit. There is a time and place where this is acceptable, but on normal, every-day roads it isn’t. Similarly, plodding along at 28mph isn’t an option either as you’re going to annoy absolutely everyone that’s stuck behind you.

Learn what roads you can go quickly on and where you need to slow down. Always stick to the speed limit, but remember that it is a maximum limit not an exact figure that you should be driving at. Some country lanes are marked as unrestricted but the windy turns and off camber bends mean that driving at 60mph becomes very dangerous.

Leave your phone alone

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Did you know that the reaction time when you’re on a mobile phone is actually longer than if you were drunk driving? Hundreds of people every year are killed due to an accident that is the result of being distracted by a phone.

Pay attention to the road the whole time you are driving. Being stopped at traffic lights doesn’t mean you have free reign to check Facebook, reply to texts or browse Instagram. Leave your phone alone!

Use Your Signals

It’s one of the first things that starts to go out the window when you pass your test, but indicating is vital to letting other drivers know your intentions. When turning left or right always put your signal on in plenty of time – typically 200m – to allow other drivers to adjust their speed accordingly. Don’t forget to flick the indicator on when overtaking as well, especially on the motorway.

Park Properly

You have undoubtedly practiced parking over and over again in preparation for your test, so put that practice to good use by parking like a legend and not a loser. Parked crooked or taking up more than one space? Try again. Parked a mile away from the curb? Try again. Not given the car behind you enough room to get out? Try again.

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Take pride in your parking and don’t leave your car looking like it’s been abandoned. Take care to park properly and other drivers will thank you for it.

Don’t drive under influence

This isn’t so much etiquette but it is important mentioning nonetheless. If you’ve had a drink or taken any drugs or other substances, do not get behind the wheel. Drink/ drugs driving is extremely dangerous to both yourself and other road users and being caught will result in a ban – you don’t want to lose your license before you’ve really started driving do you?

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