Driving Rules and Tips for Beginners

    Getting a driver’s license is an enormous step in a person’s life. This is true regardless of whether the new driver is 18 or older, or if he or she is younger. Once earned, the ability to drive is often seen as a sign of adulthood by many young drivers. A car and the ability to travel without the help of others also symbolizes freedom for many, regardless of their age. A driver’s license is also a serious responsibility and should not be taken lightly. To earn and maintain an excellent driving record, there are many factors that a driver must understand, both before and after obtaining a license.

    Rules of the Road

    Before a driver gets his or her license, they must learn the rules of the road. These are basic rules that help maintain safety for everyone on the road. When these rules are recognized, followed, and understood, a driver will know how to drive properly while on surface streets and roads, highways and freeways, and at intersections and special crossings. They will also know what to do during traffic hazards. Rules of the road involve knowing and obeying the speed limits, which may change according to road or weather conditions. They may also change in the presence of pedestrians, people riding bicycles and in school zones. Drivers must also understand traffic and pedestrian signals, traffic signs, and pavement markings. Pavement markings are the lines on the road that indicate traffic lanes and will indicate whether a driver may cross into another lane or if he or she must stay within a specific one. Hand signals that indicate whether a car is going to turn or stop are also rules that drivers must understand.

    Getting Licensed

    The rules for getting ones driver’s license differs from one state to another. Most often, getting a license involves a written test and/or a driving test. In addition, certain types of paperwork are required to prove one’s identity. Eligibility requirements, such as age, also vary. A teen, for example, may begin as early as age 14 in some states and 16 in others. For people under the age of 18, all of the 50 states have some form of graduated licensing system in place. This system will require them to go through a period with a limited license, often called a probationary or intermediate license, before they can obtain their regular license. These licenses will typically restrict how and when the teen can drive and how many passengers they may have in the car, if any. This type of system is designed to allow the driver to gain the skills and experience needed to safely operate a vehicle.

    Driving Safety

    When driving a car, the new driver must make safety a priority at all times. This will lower his or her risk of causing or otherwise being involved in an accident. Because a driver can only control how he or she drives, they must drive defensively. This is a method of driving in which the driver anticipates and avoids accidents caused by the actions of other drivers. A part of defensive driving is being alert and attentive to what is going on with nearby cars. The best way to master this type of driving skill is to take a course in defensive driving. Obeying the speed limits and adjusting speed according to weather conditions, such as fog, rain and snow, will reduce the risk of an accident. Even proper usage of car signals when changing lanes may also prevent accidents from occurring.

    Maintaining Your Vehicle

    How a person drives is crucial in terms of safety, but equally important is the way that he or she maintains their vehicle. Good car maintenance practices will reduce the chances of getting into a car accident. In addition, it is also good for the environment and can save the driver money when it comes to fueling the vehicle and avoiding costly repairs. Routine car maintenance has a great impact on all of these issues. For example, drivers should check all four tires on their vehicle to ensure that they are inflated properly. To check the air pressure, use a tire gauge. If the tires are not properly filled, the driver runs the risk of getting a flat while on the road. In addition, tires that are not correctly inflated wear out faster and will require early replacing. They can also cause a vehicle to consume more gas. Changing the motor oil and air filters are also a part of good car maintenance. The manufacturer of the vehicle will name the best type of oil to use. Drivers will also want to routinely check brake fluid, transmission and power steering coolant, as well. Cleaning the car in terms of cleaning the windows, mirrors and lights, is also important and improves the safety of the vehicle. If the driver is unable to perform maintenance on his or her vehicle, a car mechanic may be hired. A qualified mechanic is also needed when spark plugs, brakes and the timing belt need replacing.

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