Are you a first time driver? Feeling a little nervous about heading out on the road on your own? Not to worry, you just need a little primer to get started. Everyone is a beginner at some point, and this is simply your moment! We’ve compiled the best tips for new drivers so that you know exactly what to do and what not to do when operating a vehicle. Here’s what you need to know when driving for the first time.

It’s important to be aware of your driving as well as others’ in order to remain safe on the road. So to make sure you’re hitting the road with the best driving tips in mind, we have outlined the most important things to know as a first time driver. As long as you remember these driving tips when behind the wheel, your first time driving will be much less stressful than it would be if you were uninformed. Ready to get going? Rev up that engine…

 

The Best Safety Tips for a First Time Driver

Make a mental note or create a checklist to go over before you turn on the car. Having these driving tips fresh in your mind will make them more natural to you as you put the car in drive.

 

Get familiar.

Not all cars are created equally, and it’s important to get comfortable with the car you’ll be driving. Adjust the seat, the rearview mirror, and the side mirrors to give yourself the best visibility possible while in the driving position. While doing this, you will also want to make note of the vehicle’s blind spots. Blind spots are exactly what they sound like—they are areas around your vehicle that make it difficult to see what’s next to you. Find your vehicle’s blind spots so you know where to pay extra attention when looking left or right to change lanes or make a turn. While you’re getting familiar with the car, also find all the levers and basic controls so you don’t have to fumble around for them while in motion.

Your most important features to find and practice with are the blinker signals, headlights (if not automatic), windshield wipers, gear shifter, and backup camera if you have one (learn more about important backup camera terms here). Comfort features on the console such as AC/heat, radio, and a GPS will also be of interest and importance, but you will have time to get more comfortable with those as you become a better driver.

 

Calm your nerves.

This is a bigger deal than you might realize. Remaining calm and collected while behind the wheel plays a big part in how well you drive. Driving requires a bit of multitasking, but do not burden yourself with trying to remember all the rules at once. Soon, knowing the right thing to do on the road will come naturally to you. All you need to do is practice. So when you drive for the first time or first few times, just try to remain calm, go the speed limit, and address street signs accordingly when you come to them. Just stay focused, and you will be alright.

 

Eliminate distractions.

To help you focus during your first time driving, it’s very important that you don’t have any outside distractions taking your eyes off the road. Unfortunately, distractions are still a large reason for car accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that, in 2015, ten percent of fatal crashes, 15 percent of injury crashes, and 14 percent of all police-reported motor vehicle traffic crashes were reported as distraction-affected crashes. You can help change that statistic by leaving the radio alone, zipping your phone into a bag out-of-sight, and keeping your eyes on the road at all times. If a friend may be a distraction to you, leave him or her at home—you cannot afford passenger distractions while you’re still in the learning stage. Here are a few things you may also want know as a teenager driving for the first time.

 

Get educated.

One of the best ways to make sure your first time driving goes as smoothly as possible is to learn as much as you can about driving and traffic rules. We try to provide as much knowledge and information as we can on our website… Just look under the Driving Tips tab to learn more about specific maneuvers. There are plenty of resources on everything from finding the best place to practice your driving to how to parallel park, which some states’ driving tests require. Don’t be afraid to ask your driving mentor questions if you aren’t sure about anything—no one gets hurt from a question. It’s the questions that don’t get asked that end up hurting someone after it’s too late.

 

Limit highway and nighttime driving.

As a first time driver, there is no need to make grand plans to cruise across the state. You will have plenty of time in your driving life to embark on road trips. When you are in these first learning stages, it’s important to get comfortable with driving before jumping on an interstate or highway, which can be quite nerve-racking for first-timers. Those high speeds are unforgiving. To get more confident in your driving skills, stick to non-highway streets and driving during daytime. Driving at night greatly decreases your visibility, making it more dangerous for an inexperienced driver to be on the roads. Ultimately, remember that, when you are driving, you are not the only one at risk if you make a mistake. There are other drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists whose lives can be affected by your poor driving choices. Make good choices when you get behind the wheel.

 

Hopefully these tips will help you get ready for your first time driving. Keep these things in mind when hitting the road, and you will become a much better and safer driver in no time. Relax. You can do this.