Improving one’s driving skills should be the lifelong goal of every driver.
As we practice and sharpen our skills (and senses) behind the wheel, we can become safer motorists. Here are five tips that can be turned into habits.
IMPROVE DRIVING SKILLS TIP #1: CHECK YOUR MIRRORS OFTEN!
One way to enhance your situational awareness is by checking your mirrors regularly.
Often, drivers who end up not giving way to ambulances or in near-misses with other vehicles (especially motorcycles) have not been paying attention to the road.
Do not just keep your focus on what’s ahead. Other road users are all around you. The more you monitor their road behaviour, the better you’ll become at anticipating their moves.
IMPROVE DRIVING SKILLS TIP #2: PLAN YOUR TRIPS
How does planning your journey improve your driving skills?
Well, it makes the entire trip more efficient. You can plot routes and avoid areas with heavy traffic.
While you map out where you need to go, give yourself an extra 10-15 minutes per destination. This is to accommodate the time you’ll need to park, unload and walk into the building.
Even if you’re just dropping someone off at a shopping mall, you might end up waiting in a long line. These places get very busy after all.
Well-planned journeys mean less stress for everyone because you’re not rushed for time.
IMPROVE DRIVING SKILLS TIP #3: STAY COOL
Losing your cool is often caused by failing to plan your trip. When you’re running late, you get frustrated much quicker.
However, driving in Singapore can be very trying even if you’re not in a hurry. Dealing with inconsiderate and/or reckless drivers makes your blood boil.
Before you end up on everyone’s social media page as “Mr Road Rage Monster”, take a deep breath. Count to 10, or even 20, if needed.
The calmer you are, the smoother your drive is going to be. Which leads us to…
IMPROVE DRIVING SKILLS TIP #4: SMOOTH INPUTS ONLY
What does this mean? Well, inputs refer to whatever you do behind the wheel. Anything from steering to braking to accelerating.
If you think you need to drive like actors do in movies, your passengers have my sympathies.
Unless you’re being chased by heavily armed kidnappers, do not keep moving the steering wheel from left to right.
If you must brake, do so progressively, not suddenly. Lifting off just as you come to a stop improves smoothness as well.
The same goes for accelerating. Do it progressively and you’ll even save a bit of fuel. Do not stomp on the throttle pedal (unless it’s an emergency).
IMPROVE DRIVING SKILLS TIP#5: KNOW YOUR LIMITS
There is a famous saying that we should all adhere to.
“Never confuse your intentions with your abilities.”
Many times, accidents are caused by overly aggressive (and overconfident) motorists who think they are better than everyone else.
They cut in and out of queues, weave between lanes and tailgate other vehicles. They treat public roads like racetracks.
Avoid these drivers and avoid becoming like them. No matter what car you drive, the vehicle is only as good as its driver.
A false sense of confidence and “awesomeness” only leads to trouble. At worst, it could result in irreparable harm, or even death.