Driving tips: become a safer driver

NRMA driving instructor teaching someone to drive

Learning to drive is an important milestone in your life, it isn’t as straightforward as you may think as there are many things to learn and remember. Unfortunately young drivers are involved in serious crashes at three times the rate of more experience drivers. These statistics are unacceptable which is why the NRMA is committed to reducing the level of young fatalities on our roads.

Take the advice from the experts with these 10 driving tips from the NRMA's driver training instructors to help get the most out of your driving lessons and become a safe driver in all road conditions.

Attentiveness

Remaining alert at all times to what's going on around you is important for drivers of all experience levels, not just those who are learning how to drive. Your split second reactions could mean the difference between being in a crash, or avoiding one.

Scanning the road

Many crashes happen because people only watch the car in front of them. Always scan ahead and around the car, in order to anticipate crashes before they happen. 

Buffer zones

 It can take up to 13 metres to stop a regular car doing just 48 km/h; even more if your tyres are under inflated, it's wet or the road is slippery. Keep ample space between you and the car in front and increase that space at higher speeds. 

Driving to conditions

Rain, wind, glare, gravel and night driving all pose their own unexpected threats. Slow down, always drive within your comfort zone and observe advisory signs on the road; they're there for a purpose. 

Blind spots

To avoid blind spots when changing lanes, always check over your shoulder first. You can also help to reduce blind spots by ensuring your side mirrors are turned out far enough to see the entire width of the lanes beside you. 

Driving tired, intoxicated, drugged or distracted

A standard drink, some prescription drugs, doziness or having your mind elsewhere can reduce attentiveness and make reflexes slow. It's that split second reaction that counts. 

Plan your route

If you're confused about where you're going there's more scope for making mistakes in traffic. Slowing right down will help you absorb an unfamiliar environment and drive with more confidence. 

Night driving

Lack of visibility makes night driving hazardous. Slow down if you're having trouble seeing and in rain. Also, try shifting your gaze slightly away from oncoming headlights and adjust your rear vision mirror to reduce glare from behind. 

Country roads

Country roads can be narrow, winding, rough and full of surprises - such as kangaroos, large trucks and holes. Adhere to advisory signs, don't be tempted to speed, avoid the edges of roads (but be ready to slow down and move over for passing vehicles), and always remain alert, even if the road looks quiet.

Seat belts

Seat belts will limit your contact with the car's interior on impact and spread the forces over more of your body to protect against neck injury. Without a seatbelt and airbag, you can be killed in a head on collision at just 29km/h.

Some things can't be learnt just through reading, they require tuition and practice. Your NRMA driving instructors will teach you the necessary skills to take you through your whole driving lifetime, not just to pass your P's driving test.

Want to become a safer driver?

NRMA driver training can help