Essential Car Driving Tips for Beginners

It’s a well-known fact that mastering any new skill is quite difficult. Learning a new skill, whether it’s an instrument or a sport, can be intimidating at first. Driving is the same way. At first, you can have a tough time. Formula One greats like Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton all started out as novice drivers. In this piece, we’ll run over a few basic guidelines that will prove useful even in your first few months behind the wheel. Now then, let’s get started with our rundown of the most important first-time driving guidelines.

Top 15 Essential Car Driving Tips for Beginners

1. Get Familiar With Your Car

When learning how to drive a car, familiarising oneself with the vehicle is the first and most significant step. It’s a good idea to study the manual before stepping inside and fiddling with the controls. Get familiar with your car’s controls so you’ll know what to do in an emergency. Next, learn how to use the gas, brake, and clutch pedals.

One of the simplest ways to learn how to drive a new car is to just remember that the letters A, B, and C stand for the Accelerator, Brake, and Clutch. Last but not least, learn where each gear is located on the shifter. Practice gear changes when the car is turned off, but don’t do it too often or you risk wearing out the transmission. Learn the gear positions so well that you won’t need to look at the shift knob at any time whilst shifting.

2. Check and Make Adjustments Before Driving

Among all the beginning driving advice presented here, this is the most important factor to consider. Many people routinely overlook its significance. The majority of novice drivers have no idea that every vehicle comes with a way to alter the position of the seats, mirrors, and even the steering wheel. The mechanisms allow you to fine-tune the aforementioned parts to your driving style. You need to adjust the seats so that you have easy access to the pedals, the steering wheel, and the gear shifter.

As a matter of fact, you can get the perfect driving posture by adjusting the rake and reach of the steering wheel in various vehicles. Make sure the mirrors, seat, and steering are all set up so that you don’t have to strain any muscles while driving.

3. Adjust the Mirrors

Using your mirrors properly is a crucial part of driving safely. Before you go behind the wheel, you should also readjust the mirrors. The first thing to do is readjust the mirror on the driver’s side. Never let the reflection of your car take up more than 10% of the mirror’s viewing area. To get the best view of the road behind you, adjust the driver’s and passenger’s side mirrors and then lean back in your seat.

Keep in mind that you should only turn the mirror so that a very little portion of the car’s side is visible. Also, once you’ve settled in behind the wheel, make sure the rearview mirror is set up so that you have a clear view of the road. Never get behind the wheel without first making sure everything is just right.

4. Understand the Basic Dashboard Controls/symbols

One of the most important pieces of advice for new drivers is to become acquainted with the dashboard controls and symbols. The air conditioner, windscreen wipers, and high/low beams are just a few of the functions that may be accessed with the use of these buttons and controls. Furthermore, the instrument cluster of any vehicle displays a plethora of symbols, most of which correspond to lights that illuminate when there is a problem with the vehicle’s functioning. Some symbols, however, serve only to alert you to the fact that a function like the cruise control or the high beams has been activated. Most other symbols, though, serve as genuine warnings. Such warnings could pertain to anything from low oil to low tyre pressure.

What colour these lights are also makes a difference. Blue and green lights indicate that a function is active. However, warning lights in orange, red, or yellow indicate that the car should be checked over.

5. Wear the Seat Belt

While seatbelts may seem like a nuisance, they are actually the single most crucial safety item in the event of an accident. You’d be flung from your seat whenever the brakes were applied or the vehicle was damaged. Injury is likely, as you would likely strike the dashboard or steering wheel. A seatbelt, however, can prevent such an accident from happening. If you strike something, the motion will be interrupted and you won’t be able to continue moving.

Simply said, seatbelts keep passengers from being pushed forward and striking the dashboard, windscreen, or steering wheel in the event of an accident. The force imparted by an impact or braking is counteracted by the seatbelt’s ability to distribute the opposite force. The skull and spinal cord are two of the most vital sections of the body, and they are mostly protected by seat belts.

6. Hold the Steering Wheel Correctly

When you’re finally buckled in and ready to go, you’ll need to master the proper grip on the wheel. You should be aware that the steering wheel is the only input you have for determining the vehicle’s direction. To get behind the wheel safely, you should practise your grip first.

You probably know that the proper method to handle a steering wheel is “10 and 2.” A clock can be inferred from these digits. The correct position for your hands on the wheel is with your right hand where the number 2 appears on a clock and your left hand where the number 10 appears. Contrary to popular belief, however, research has shown that keeping the wheel at “9 and 3” is optimal. Many authorities have advocated for this shift because the “10 and 2” hand position is risky in vehicles with smaller steering wheels and airbags.

7. Maintain Moderate Speed

Understand the basics of walking before trying to run, as the old adage goes. The same guiding principle can be applied to driving an automobile. It’s undeniable that the urge to stomp on the gas pedal is strong.

You should practise driving slowly extensively before you start pursuing speed. You can hone your powers of observation and reaction in this way. Being able to react quickly and precisely is essential when driving at high speeds. It’s a recipe for catastrophe to drive fast without practising reflexes. If you want to drive faster, you should do it only after extensive practise at lower speeds. A rookie driver’s manual should always include this advice, which is as elementary as it is crucial.

8. Use Signal Indicators

When on the road, there are only two ways to get in touch with other motorists: verbally and visually. They are your turn signals and your horn, respectively. So, make extensive and astute use of both of them as needed.

Indicators should always be used to let other drivers know of a directional change. Many drivers routinely change lanes without first signalling their intentions. Many drivers, meanwhile, do signal, but they often do so too late or even too early. Both options would cause confusion among the following vehicles. It’s best practise to activate the indicator a few seconds before you actually make the course correction. Even if you are changing lanes, this rule still applies.

9. Learn How to Switch Lanes

It’s smart to think ahead before making a lane change. The first rule of the road is to always give a clear indication of your next move to drivers behind you. The lane change operation should begin a few seconds after the indication has been activated.

Next, check the rear-view mirrors to make sure there is sufficient space between your vehicle and the ones following you. Making sure no one is coming up behind you when you switch lanes is equally crucial. As soon as you’ve determined that it’s safe to switch lanes, go ahead and make the transition. Disengage the signal once you’re in the next lane. Keep in mind that the most crucial component of this is to prepare ahead of time.

10. Follow Traffic Rules

It goes without saying that drivers should adhere to all applicable regulations. This will keep you from being fined and will guarantee a safe trip. Observing traffic regulations is crucial for a variety of reasons.

First, they help keep people safer and less likely to get hurt. The creation of traffic regulations is primarily motivated by the desire to lower the likelihood of collisions.

Second, because everyone follows the same set of regulations, traffic moves more efficiently. Since everyone is operating under the same guidelines, accidents are far less likely to occur.

11. Do Not Tailgate

It’s common practise for drivers in other nations to keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of them. In India, alas, things couldn’t be more backwards. Cars on American roadways are packed in there like hydrogen atoms in a molecule. Most drivers, however, completely disregard this idea and instead do whatever they want on the road.

However, you should always keep at least two vehicles’ length between your vehicle and the one in front of you. You will have plenty of room to avoid a collision if the automobile in front of you has to swerve or make an emergency manoeuvre owing to an obstruction in the road. Inculcating this practise at the outset will serve you well.

12. Avoid Distractions

Driving an automobile requires one’s undivided attention, which must be concentrated entirely on the road. When you’re in a foul mood or feeling stressed out, driving becomes much more difficult.

You’ll need to put a lot of consideration into your driving movements as a beginning. As a result, it’s easy to make a mistake when driving if your mind is elsewhere. In a similar vein, before getting behind the wheel, make sure you’ve had enough sleep and are fully alert.

13. Be Confident and Calm

It’s important to keep in mind that there is no such thing as a “perfect” driver. Everyone, from those who have just learned to drive to those who have been doing it their whole lives, needs to remember the need of exercising extreme caution while in control of a motor vehicle.

Having said that, one must also maintain composure and self-assurance. It’s vital to be cautious, but it’s equally crucial to feel at ease while driving. Our recommendation is to take your time and acquire self-assurance as a driver gradually.

14. Carry All the Documents

It is important to always carry four documents in your car. Remember, a traffic policeman can ask you to produce any of these.

The essential documents you should always carry include your

  1. Vehicle’s Registration Certificate (RC)
  2. Certificate of insurance of your vehicle
  3. Driving licence
  4. Pollution Under Check Certificate (PUC).

Note: The PUC is mandatory for all vehicles that are over 1 year old.

15. Practice Makes Perfect

The more you train, the more you can push yourself. Loss of control and a potentially dangerous scenario are both possible outcomes of sudden manipulations of the steering wheel or accelerator. In a similar vein, novice drivers who disregard any of the aforementioned safety guidelines put themselves and others in danger.

So, it’s preferable to gradually increase your level of exertion. You can easily determine the optimal degree of input that will settle into your sub-conscience with experience and a bit of trial and error.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. What are the 3 skills needed to drive?

The three skills needed to drive are:
1. The ability to adapt to varying conditions
2. Controlling your emotions and decision-making capabilities
3. Spatial awareness and vehicle knowledge

2. What is the best age to learn to drive?

While the simple answer to this is ‘when the person is ready for it’, biologically speaking, the optimum time to learn to drive is at around 25 years of age. This age is scientifically proven to be fully developed to learn to drive as the body and mind are young and supple enough to be able to respond to new challenges with sharp reflexes. Even the confidence levels are high at this time.

3. Do you indicate when changing lanes?

Yes, it is always important to signal your intention of changing lanes to the road users behind you. So, switch on the indicator a few seconds before you initiate the lane change procedure.

4. Which side should I overtake?

Always overtake from the right of the vehicles you wish to pass. However, in case it’s unavoidable to overtake while the vehicle in front is indicating a right turn, you may carefully pass the vehicle from the left.

5. Which car is easy for beginners?

It’s not a good idea to single out the ‘best’ car for driving. Actually, it all depends from one driver to another. Many might find compact cars like Maruti Alto and Maruti Swift easy to drive while others might prefer an SUV like a Mahindra XUV500 or Toyota Fortuner for the commanding driving position they offer. Hence, it would be a bad idea to single out just one type of car here.

6. What is the safest car for a beginner driver?

While there is no straight answer to it, any car that offers good visibility of the road, is not too powerful or underpowered, and has light controls can prove to be a good choice for beginners.

John Martin

I am professionally a Mechanical Engineer and i love blogging and for that purpose i have created the website for automotive contents.