For most newbie drivers, earning their licence is a milestone. The next one, of course, is to chalk up a year’s driving experience. This lets you legally remove the P plate from your car.
However, it is easy for the newbie driver to become complacent. Especially when there’s no longer a driving instructor to remind, nag or scold you.
You are also likely to pick up the wrong habits from other drivers. If these habits become ingrained, you will go from becoming a newbie driver to road hazard.
With that said, here are five dangerous driving habits that newbie drivers shouldn’t pick up.
1) NOT CHECKING BLIND SPOTS.
Perhaps you think checking your blind spot is an unnecessary practice forced on newbie drivers by instructors.
Out on the roads, not checking your blind spot can be fatal. Blind spots are areas that you cannot see in your field of vision. Not even with the use of rear view and side view mirrors.
You need to actually tilt your head a bit further out to the side to clear these blind spots.
Fail to do so and will fail to notice that car or motorcycle prior to changing lanes. This is how many accidents occur.
2) NOT SLOWING DOWN AT GIVE-WAY LINES AND PEDESTRIAN CROSSINGS.
Pedestrian crossings and give-way lines are something that motorists (even newbie drivers) encounter daily. Slowing down when approaching them should be compulsory and not just a suggestion.
Even newbie drivers may be tempted to simply give a quick glance while driving through without slowing down.
However, this is a dangerous practice that can result in disastrous accidents if you misjudge the situation.
Without slowing down, you cannot stop in time if needed. Always slow down. This will give you more time to react if there is unexpected traffic or pedestrians.
3) NOT USING TURN SIGNALS.
This is the biggest pet peeve among Singapore drivers, according to a 2014 online poll conducted by the The Straits Times.
Turn signals are used to indicate your intention to turn or change lanes. You only need to nudge to the indicator stalk conveniently located behind your steering wheel.
Even newbie drivers might think that it’s fine to change lanes without signalling. Especially when there aren’t any vehicles behind you.
Put this habit of not signalling together with not checking your blind spot, and the result is a fatal accident waiting to happen.
Changing lanes without warning can often cause a shock to other road users. Accidents are caused when they have to avoid your surprising manoeuvre.
A driver using her handphone while driving along Selegie Road.
4) DISTRACTED DRIVING.
With our hectic lifestyles, many motorists insist on using their phones while driving. And legally, you can use your smartphone while driving when it’s mounted on the dashboard.
Here’s the problem: Very few people can multi-task flawlessly.
If you’re a newbie driver, you should know that even taking your eyes off the road for a split-second can be deadly.
Focussing on replying to that message means your concentration is no longer on the road. But in the meantime, your car continues hurtling forwards.
Typing away while driving along our packed streets will almost certainly get you into accidents.
5) SPEEDING UP TO PREVENT DRIVERS FROM FILTERING IN.
This habit was the second most irritating one, according to that aforementioned ST poll. If you’re a newbie driver, do not get into this habit!
Turn signals are supposed to warn other motorists of your intentions. But in Singapore, many road users treat it as a signal to “close the gap”.
We all know that means moving forward to block the other driver from filtering in. Many drivers seem to dislike the notion of another car merging in front of them.
This inconsiderate, selfish and dangerous act can cause other road users to miss their exit. Or worse, you’ll force them to slow down abruptly and to make a lane change, possibly resulting in an accident.
Such actions also encourage other road users to forgo using their turn signals. After all, you just proved that there’s a higher chance of merging if they do not signal.
If you do this, you are cultivating the very habit/culture that we all hate.
10 driving tips for young drivers
Using a phone mount doesn’t make it safe to use while driving
5 dangers newbie drivers should watch out for
3 things newbie drivers may be doing wrong
3 tips for newbie drivers who are running-in their car