How to become a better driver?

  • Author: GILES KIRKLAND

For many people, driving is a skill that can always be improved. If you want to become a better driver, there is always something new to learn.

Being a better drive can give you more confidence keep you safe and ensure you always know what to do. So, what are you waiting for? We spoke to Robert Morgan from Advanced Driving and Drivers Domain UK to learn more. Here are 5 ways to start improving your driving skills.

What are the benefits of advanced driving?

The fact is anyone can take the time to improve their motoring skills but, as Robert points out, people with a stronger relationship with driving will often lean towards doing so:

“The fact is, most drivers will not take the time to improve their driving. Some think they are good enough while others simply don't have the time. For those that do, usually have a distinct interest in driving, others have been asked to as part of their job, some have been advised by their solicitor to do a course, before a speeding change. Others need to go on one following a road traffic collision and need a confidence boost.”

Yet learning how to be a better driving can help save lives and improve your safety, regardless of how often you drive or why you use a vehicle.

  1. Increase Your awareness

Having constant awareness means you are always aware of visual dangers. By being more aware, you can react to things you might not otherwise notice, or even react to dangers earlier than normal.

driver-in-a-car

Always be aware of the road and your surroundings.

As Robert states: “By looking further up the road, and seeing, and not just looking will greatly increase your driving ability. Many people are involved in traffic collisions as they are not taking the time to see what’s going on.”

  1. Commentary

Nobody likes a backseat driver, but sometimes some audible observations can make a big difference. It’s not something most people would consider but, as Advanced Driving points out, there are some unique advantages:
 
“Many advanced drivers add a commentary to their driving. This can help increase your awareness and planning ability. This also helps when you are becoming tired when you are driving. By talking out aloud what you can see, can really help you plan and be more aware.”

  1. Maintain Your car

We’ve written about car maintenance a lot, so it should come as no surprise to learn that advanced drivers take better care of their car. A little extra maintenance doesn’t take long and, as Robert argues, “This will help reduce the chances of breakdowns and any possible safety related incidents like tyre blowouts.”

Of course, tyre safety is something we understand. We encourage drivers to ensure even tread wear, correct tyre pressure and a tread depth above the legal minimum (1.6 mm in the UK).

  1. Be speed aware

How fast you drive greatly influences numerous factors, such as your ability to turn, make a sudden maneuver or even your braking distance. Sometimes, going as fast as possible isn’t always the best idea.

mini-car-on-road

You don’t always need to drive at the speed limit.

“Do you just find yourself drifting over the speed limit? Not only will this potentially land you in trouble with the Police, it increases the chances of a collision, and uses more fuel. Take the time to be more speed aware, and build this into your overall driving pla to become more aware.”

As Robert states, driving at a higher speed can often use more fuel, decreasing your mpg. Of course, you should also slow down in tougher conditions, such as when there is rain or snow on the road.

  1. Anticipate other road users

When you’re on the road, you share the space with other drivers and vehicles. This can pose a problem, as you can’t always tell what another driver is going to do. Knowing how to identify the behaviour of other drivers gives you a better chance to react to it.

“Do you ever find another driver doing something daft, with their decisions suddenly impacting on your driving - and probably annoying you? Learning how to anticipate other road users can help reduce you getting caught up in a driver's indecision, inattention or
carelessness.

Pay attention to other motorists, spot erratic behaviour, odd road positioning, hesitation and build this into your driving plan. Have they seen you? Are they about the pull out in front of you? How about the chances of them trying to suddenly swap lanes?”

traffic-on-uk-road

Always be aware of other drivers on the road with you and try to anticipate them.

This is a skill that will take time to develop but it comes from learning to be more aware. By being alert to other motorists and their movements, you can start to avoid difficult or dangerous situations.

Read

While practical skills are always useful, it also helps to read up on advanced driving practice and theory. Of course, if you’re reading this article, you are already making the right steps. Robert recommends picking up a copy of Roadcraft, as well as looking at the advice available on Advanced Driving and Drivers Domain UK.

Ultimately, being a better drive will be beneficial to yourself, those around you and, of course, your car. There are many ways you can start improving your driving, so why not start today?

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