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New driver successfully passes driver's test.<p>Learn about skills and abilities to stay safe license test.

Is driving after you get your license really that much different?

Are the skills, abilities and things you learned when practicing to get your license completely useless?

The answer is NO.

Listen to the podcast to find out why.

New Driver Defensive Driving

Focus on and continue to implement the fundamentals driving skills you learned when you were practicing for your driver’s test.

Maintain a 3-4 second following distance in front of your vehicle.

When stopped in traffic, stop back so that you can see the tires of the vehicle in front making clear contact with the pavement.

Signal every time you change direction of the vehicle; shoulder check every time you change direction of the vehicle.

Apply the parking brake every time you park the vehicle.

Practice these skills so that these become habits.

That way, when you get distracted…that way when you make mistakes, this “minimum safe distance” will compensate for your errors in driving.

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Social Driving

Most of the time we get along with other traffic on the roadway.

Yet, drivers follow too close to vehicles in front, fail to signal, and charge yellow lights.

Consequently, they give up control of their vehicle.

Most of the time, nothing happens.

Most of the time, they are hoping on a “wing & a prayer” that they’ll be able to react in time to get the vehicle stopped if the vehicle in front slows down or brakes suddenly.

• Driving above the posted speed limit;

• Not stopping at STOP signs;

• Not signaling;

• Drifting when turning on multi-lane roads;

• Following too close;

• Charging yellow lights;

• And many, many more not so safe maneuvers. 

Signals are to tell other road users that you wish to move over, NOT that you are moving over!

It’s a victimless crime.

Nobody got hurt. Consequently, most drivers feel there’s nothing wrong with what they're doing or nothing wrong with the way they're driving.

How many times have you heard drivers say: “I’ve been driving for 20 years and never had a crash.”

The actions of drivers are often retaliatory.

Someone tailgates us, for example, and we slow down 10mph just to get back at the other driver; or we tailgate someone because they’re going too slow.

Left-Hand Turns & New Drivers

Left-hand turns are the highest risk areas for new drivers.

Often new drivers misjudge the gap and get “T” boned in the intersection.

“T” bone crashes are often fatal to vehicle occupants because there’s very little in the vehicle to protect them.

The configuration of the crash causes all its energy to be concentrated in one area.

And that area is right at the rib-cage of the occupant where the vital organs are located.

When waiting to make your left turn, wait with the front steer tires on the front crosswalk line.

That way, you’re committed to the turn, “but you’re not in the intersection.”

If something goes wrong in the intersection, you’re not going to be involved because you’re not there.

And when the gap presents itself on the other side, drive straight forward in the intersection to “meet the gap.”

Finally, if you’re not comfortable with the gap, DON’T GO!

Don’t get pressured by others.

If you succumb to the social pressure of driving, that’s often when mistakes happen.

Finally, if you get caught out on the yellow light, double and triple check that oncoming traffic is in fact coming to a stop.

DON’T panic if the light turns red and you’re still in the intersection.

Remember: you own the intersection and do NOT proceed on the turn until you are 120% sure that oncoming traffic is STOPPED.

Space Management...Focus on What You’re Doing

If you’re not near anything, it’s less likely that you’re going to hit something.

In the arena of social driving, most follow too close to other road users.

But, how do you know?

If you're touching the brake pedal for anything other than:

1) coming to a stop;

2) slowing to turn;

3) controlling speed on a downhill;

4) or unexpected events,

you're most likely too close.

You can always manage the space in front of your vehicle.

Yes, every now and again other vehicles are going to move into that space.

The vehicle will be travelling faster than you, so they won’t be there long.

After they move into your forward space, you can reclaim your buffer of space by simply adjusting your speed.

If you’re able, you can create more space around your vehicle by not driving beside other vehicles for more than a few moments.

If other vehicles tailgate you, increase your following distance even more.

With more space in front you can avoid aggressive braking.

This technique guards against the tailgater rear-ending you.

If you’re in the left lane, move to the right.

And if there’s a safe place to pull over, pull over and let the driver behind pass.

Practice the Fundamentals

Slow-speed maneuvers are 1/8 of the driver’s test, but it’s this small part of the test that give drivers the most grief.

Improve your backing into a parking space, your parallel parking and your 3-point turns, and you will improve your overall driving.

It’s the biggest return of investment when learning to drive.

It’s 20% in and 80% out.

If you can do slow-speed maneuvers well, you will be a better driver overall.

You can use a backup camera to reverse…but use your other observation tools too: 360° scan around the vehicle, mirrors, and looking out the back window.

Positioning the vehicle correctly for right and left turns.

You must have correct speed and space management when changing lanes or moving the vehicle sideways.

And of course, shoulder checking and signaling every time you change direction of the vehicle.

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