So, you’re a new driver? Enjoy your newfound freedom, but always keep safety in mind.
Congratulations on passing your driving test. Now slow down, Double-O Seven — that’s a licence to drive, not a licence to kill!
While the sense of excitement is palpable as you affix the P-plate to your car, do remember that, from now on, you’ll be dealing with real-world road users and traffic conditions.
Breathe. Don’t panic. Here are some things to keep in mind before you next drive off.
Be familiar with your car
Before you even drive off, get to know your car better. This will be different from the car you used for your lessons and tests. Check on the essential bits, such as lights, mirrors, seating and steering wheel position; get to know where everything is and how each item functions.
You should also familiarise yourself with how to inflate your tyres and how to use the tyre kit in the event you suffer a flat tyre. Stick a handy emergency contact near you or save it on your smart phone, just in case. Getting a good feel of your car will let you focus more on your driving and be aware of road and traffic conditions.
If you are new to the car type, it would be advisable that you take to less-crowded roads first before you head towards the main roads. Do your own ‘test drive’ to better understand how your car behaves. For example, you can test to see how much space you need to make turns, and the ease with which you can reverse the car into a parking lot. You can also get a feel for how the steering responds and check on the blind spots the car presents. When you have a better feel and control of the car, then you are ready to venture further.
As a newbie on the roads, stay observant to traffic lights, signs and your surroundings, especially in a newer environment. In a different or unfamiliar area, drive with due diligence, stay alert and use GPS to assist in navigation. Stay within the speed limit, keep a safe following distance and, in built-up areas where there are schools or residential buildings, be on the lookout for vulnerable road users, such as cyclists and pedestrians.
Getting stuck in traffic can be annoying, and you may be tempted to switch lanes to get ahead. If you are new to driving, sticking to your lane will be a better bet, since drivers tend to be less forgiving when traffic is bad. It could also be your first time dealing with motorcyclists, who tend to zip between lanes. To avoid getting into an unpleasant situation, stay in your lane and follow the flow. It really is impossible to know which lane will move fastest, so just stay patient. If you are driving on the expressway, avoid driving in the fastest lane; this will help you get used to, and be comfortable with, the higher speeds yet be safe enough for you to make an exit from the expressway when you need to.Be responsible
Using your phone — smart or otherwise — when driving is a big no-no. Texting while driving is dangerous; it is also illegal. You are already dealing with a new environment, and your focus should be on driving. No message or call is that important that you should put your life and the lives of others in danger. Put your phone in silent mode or drive to a safe spot to take that call or message.
With the new-found freedom, enjoying your nights out has also gotten easier. But if you are driving, be responsible and stay off alcohol. If you want to drink, then appoint your non-drinking friend as the designated driver. Or leave the car at home and just Grab or cab it.
As a new driver, take the opportunity to cultivate good driving habits. A better community of drivers will make our roads safer for yourself and a good environment for future new drivers.
Consider these AA Products
As a new driver, you may wish to boost your confidence while on the roads with these:
Cover yourself with our Car Insurance for Young or Inexperienced Drivers from AAS Insurance Agency. This insurance policy, for young drivers below 24 or inexperienced drivers with less than two years’ driving experience, offers lower premium loading and policy excess. Also, you’ll be able to track your daily journeys using the DriveWellTM telematics app, and safe drivers will receive petrol vouchers as incentives! For more information, visit https://aas-insurance.com.sg/quote-request/newdriver/.
AAS Academy regularly holds the Young and New Drivers’ Safe Driving Workshop. Each four-hour session, conducted by trainers who are trained and certified by IRU or RoSPA, are designed to:
- help drivers to understand the key areas of driving risks
- impart essential skills to mitigate these risks
- develop skills to handle potential road hazards