There’s only so much driving school can teach you. At most schools, you will learn everything you need to know to get your driver’s license. While that sounds great, and your new skills are certainly necessary to stay safe on the road, there are a lot of practical things you can do to stay safe and avoid car accidents that you can’t learn in driving school.
The truth is, once you’re on the road, you’ll soon discover that there are many nuances to the road. For instance, what do you do if you arrive at a stop sign at the same time as another car? There are some things that only experience can teach you.
That said, driving in the real world is very different from driving in school. As such, we’ve put together some practical road safety tips to help you avoid getting into a car accident.
1. How to Drive in Bad Weather Conditions
Although you were likely told to put more space between you and the car in front of you when the weather is bad, that’s generally the extent of the advice you get in driving school. The first time you drive when the roads are covered in snow can be a little scary and feel a lot like the first time you got behind the wheel and realized you didn’t know what you were doing.
The first and most crucial thing you should do when caught driving in bad weather is to calm your nerves. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that people have been driving in inclement conditions since the automobile’s invention. You can do it, but you’ll need to take some precautions.
First, turn your headlights on so that the other cars can see you. Then, adjust the ventilation inside your car to be outside air blowing up onto the windshield to prevent it from fogging. If you’re in snow and need to clear the windshield fast, use the AC as the cold air will match the environment. Next, turn on the windshield wipers.
If you can, it’s a good idea to pull over for a minute to set these things up. Even if you have to stop for a minute and the car behind you is honking, that’s okay. Safety should be your number one priority.
2. Learn the Purpose of All the Buttons in Your Car
You never know when you might need something, and most driving schools don’t cover the various functions found in different cars. It helps to sit down in your car while parked and play with the buttons until you know what they all do.
If you have someone who can show what everything does, that’s great. However, if you’re on your own, you should be able to discover what’s what through trial and error. In addition to knowing how to work the radio, ventilation, and AC, you may also need to understand how to use the emergency lights, heated windows, and high beams.
3. Use Proper Horn Etiquette
It’s critical to know how to use the horn. For instance, it should only be used in short bursts to create awareness for other drivers. Never use the horn in anger as it may annoy other drivers and encourage road rage.
Also, never hold the horn down or use it unnecessary as doing so is a safety issue. In some countries, loud, prolonged honks are illegal and could get you in trouble.
4. Don’t Depend on Lights and Signs Alone
Driving schools teach that green means go and red means stop, but there are other things to be aware of to avoid getting in a car accident. The truth is, there are all types of drivers on the road, and they’re not always safe and may break the rules of the road.
For example, some motorists might try to jump a red light, and if you don’t see them coming, you could end up in a car accident. To maintain safety on the road, it’s crucial always to be aware of other drivers and what they might do. Watch to make sure the intersection is clear rather than assuming everything is okay because the light is green.
5. Always Be Courteous to Other Drivers
Being courteous to other drivers is a big part of safe driving. As we mentioned earlier, what happens if you come to a four-way stop simultaneously as someone else? Be courteous and wave them through before going yourself. Of course, if they wave for you to go first, then go ahead and go. Don’t keep others waiting if you don’t have to.
Some Additional Road Safety Tips
A driving school will teach you the basics of driving, but it doesn’t teach you how to be a good driver. For that, you’ll need experience and some practical know-how. We’ll leave you here with some additional tips to stay safe and avoid car accidents on the road:
- Get gas before the gauge drops below the E.
- Turn your high beams off when another car is approaching to keep from blinding them.
- Most rearview mirrors have a button that enables you to switch between day and night mode.
- Learn to pay attention to the position of the wheels to make parking easier and avoid things on the road.
- Always check your blind spots.
- Let huge trucks have the right of way.
- And last but not least, remember that driving, in general, is not a race!
Angela Hughes is a communications writer at Anapol Weiss.