How New Drivers Get Good at Driving

If you want to get good at anything, it takes practice. But driving is a different animal because it involves people’s safety. Heel and toe, shoulder check, and giving the 3-4 seconds of space for the car ahead are ways.

Highways, parking, and passing are three major areas you can focus on as a new driver who wants to get good at driving.


GET GOOD AT HIGHWAYS

highway at night with streaming vehicle lights and downtown in horizon
 

To make sure you’re not scared of highways, here are some pointers to get on and off them without a hitch.

  • Merging: When you’re merging, accelerate quick enough to match the speed and flow of traffic and you’ll be fine.
  • Others Merging: Watch for other drivers coming onto the highway and adjust your speed to let them in.
  • Blind spots: These are bad at highway speeds and need to be checked as you pass or are being passed.
  • Passing: The right lane is for entering and exiting traffic and the left lane is for passing (if you or another driver wants to pass, it can be annoying if someone is loafing it in the left lane).
  • Lane changes: Don’t change lanes if you don’t need to and use your signal lights!
  • Mirror Traffic: Try your best to keep up with traffic speeds without going over the limit. Otherwise, take another route if you’re uncomfortable with higher speeds.
  • Stopped vehicles: Pedestrians, police, emergency vehicles or anyone stopped on the side of the road need space, so slow down and try moving to the other lane. If the emergency vehicle is trying to pass, give them room by pulling closer to the shoulder.
  • Backing up: This is illegal on the highway. If you miss an exit, do not worry! You can just take the next one.
  • Emergencies! Emergencies happen (e.g. childbirth, someone threw up, or you’re falling asleep at the wheel). If so, pull over on the shoulder and turn on your flashers to let everyone know it’s an emergency.

Here is a video that shows exactly how to handle highway driving:


 

GET GOOD AT PARKING

Calgary Chinook Mall Parking lot


Parking can cause some drivers migraines because they find themselves in heavy downtown traffic that is waiting for them to pull into a tight spot. To avoid feeling the pressure in those situations, here’s what to do:

  1. Make sure all the cars nearby or on either side are not too close or running over their own parking space lines.
  2. When you’re parking at night, find a spot with a light nearby for safety (thievery happens!).
  3. Ever been in a retail or grocery store parking lot? Park away from abandoned carts or cart collectors that might damage your car.
  4. Yes, convenience means you don’t have to walk a thousand miles, but finding a midway point in the parking aisle means you get less traffic and are able to enter/exit super easy.
     

How to Park Between Cars:

  1. Find a space
  2. Stop when your bumper is halfway past the centre
  3. Start turning your wheel to direct your car into the space
  4. Pull all the way into the middle of the parking aisle
  5. Turn off the ignition and you’re done!
  6. When you’re leaving the space, turn your vehicle to the side with the closest vehicle so your front end can swing out with enough room.

 

How to Parallel Park:

This is the mother of all parking fears for most drivers, new and old. Here’s how to tackle it in 3 easy steps:

  1. Approach slowly: pull up parallel/next to the vehicle ahead of the space you’re about to pull in and carefully drive in reverse into the space - You can begin turning the wheel fully toward the curb.
  2. 45 degree: When you’re at a 45 degree angle to the front and back car, you can start turning your wheel away from the curb
  3. Straighten out: Finish the parallel park by turning your steering wheel back to it’s happy (normal) position. Voila!!!


GET GOOD AT PASSING

car passing another car while driving on Alberta highway towards the Rocky Mountains

Passing is one of those things that gets the average new driver sweating. A bad shoulder check or crooked mirror can be the cause of an accident. So we’ve gathered some advice from the pros!

What the Pros Suggest

Here’s what the pros who have been driving for over 10+ years say:

  • Don’t cut corners, always signal, and get back to the basics
  • Your mirrors should show the side of your vehicle
  • Avoid getting blinded by high beams
  • Use the S-Maneuver when turning in left-hand lanes (turn your wheels straight so you don’t get pushed into dreaded oncoming traffic)
  • Leave enough space to lay on the brakes

cartoon with two cars and 4 seconds in between

 

  • Scan the road - Have you ever stared at someone for too long? That happens on the road and it’s called target fixation, and we can forget we’re getting too close to the car in front of us.
  • Just like taking a course at school, taking Driver’s Ed or a refresher course will sharpen your skills and avoid those costly accidents.
  • Get a vision test (you may not need this, but it’s always a good idea)
  • Nifty safety features - There are a lot of cool features in your car that are meant to keep you alive, including new tech like Toyota’s Safety Sense

Become an overall better driver with these WikiHow tips.
https://www.idrivesafely.ca/articles/alberta-safe-driving-tips.html


WARNING!

red traffic danger warning triangle sign

These are not a ‘one and done’ list of ways to take your driving to the next level. Like anything, this can take you 10,000 hours to truly master like a Sensei. By then, we may have self-driving cars, but for now, we all need any help we can get.

 

SUMMING UP

Whenever you get on the road, it’s like a bird leaving the nest: you need to get your wings under you before you can fly. This means you’ll need to workout your wings when your merging onto a highway, parking in crowded spaces, passing and more! Even experienced drivers make mistakes, so getting good at driving requires regular practice.

Have you ever wanted to be more confident, drive smarter and safer? Carrot’s tech is proven to improve your driving and reduce collisions by tracking cornering, acceleration, braking and more with a digital Scorecard that also rewards you for it. You can Get Started here.

If you still need to prepare for your road test, here’s exactly what you’ll need for your Class 5 (Basic and Advanced): Alberta Transport - Preparing For Your Road Test

 

HOW DO I GET CARROT?
Carrot is as easy to use as ABC:

  1. Enroll with InsureMy (plus get a 10% discount)
  2. Connect your vehicle to the Drive With Carrot App
  3. Buckle up and start getting cash rewards for driving smart!

Want to Get Started? Click ahead!

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