You do not become a skilled driver the moment you finish driving school. Great drivers are not born overnight. If you want to be better at handling your car, read the rest of this post and learn about the 10 awesome techniques to become a skilled driver. These recommendations are from experts, so you can be sure that they will indeed make you better.
If you are in a hurry to learn these techniques, watch the short video below:
1. Take a Defensive Driving Course
If you think that this applies only to beginners, you are wrong. Even if you have been driving for years, there is nothing wrong with taking a defensive driving course. This will refresh your memory about the things that you have been taught before. No one is too old or too smart for this, especially because it will let you know how to drive safer.
A lot of you may think that this is a waste of money and that this can be costly. Truth is, it is an affordable course. If you go online, you will be able to find courses that are available at affordable prices. There is no need to spend a fortune to become a defensive driver.
2. Use your Left Foot for Braking
When you took your driving lessons, you most probably have been taught not to use your left foot when you are braking. Nonetheless, this is one thing that is practiced by auto racers, and you have a good reason to do it as well, even if you are not into racing. It is often done by racers to keep the balance of the car as power is applied.
Left-foot braking is a driving practice that is backed by science. It can significantly improve safety. As you drive, the left foot should cover the left pedal and the right foot should cover the right pedal. When it is time to hit the brake, all that you have to do is to apply pressure on the left foot. This is going to reduce the likelihood of committing an error.
3. Follow the Speed of the Other Vehicles
This is a basic thing that is taught in driving school, but a lot of people fail to follow it when they are on the road. Many of you would want to be the first in everything that they do, but this should not be the case when you are driving. Even if you are in a hurry, it would be best to follow the pace of the vehicles around you, so drive at the same speed as them.
Following the speed of the other vehicles is especially important when you are on a road with high vehicle density. This is going to keep you safe. Do not try to beat other drivers. After all, this is not a race track and you are definitely not a racer.
4. Position your Hands Properly in the Steering Wheel
Most of the people driving for a long time were taught that the left and right hand should be at 10 and 2 o’clock position respectively. Newer drivers, on the other hand, will place their hand lower, probably at 9 and 3 o’clock or 8 and 4 o’clock.
It does not matter which position you choose, as long as you are comfortable with it. At the end of the day, this is something that is a personal decision. Experiment with different hand positions and see which one will work best for your driving. Keep your hands relaxed and be focused on the road.
5. Control Understeering and Oversteering
If you understeer, the front tire will lose its traction on the surface of the road. This can be blamed on the speed of the acceleration. On the other hand, in the case of oversteering, the rear tires will be the one losing the traction.
Especially when you are driving on wet roads or icy surfaces, you should avoid understeering and oversteering. Go at a moderate speed and have control of your steering, which will keep you safe on the road.
In cases of understeering and oversteering, take note that you should not release the brake or gas pedal too quickly.
6. Park Precisely
Admit it, parallel parking is one of the most difficult things that you have been taught in driving school. Sadly, for many people, even after years of driving, they still suck at parking, especially when they are confronted with tight spaces.
To parallel park perfectly, all that you have to do is to make sure that the left mirror is aligned with the right headlight at the car on your back. Once you have mastered this technique, you will no longer have to feel nervous when you are in a crowded parking lot.
It will also be best if you invest in parking sensors. Parking will be a lot easier for you!
7. Do the Handbrake Turn
If you have seen Hollywood movies, you have most probably seen handbrake turn as a common skill amongst drivers. You do not need to be in the movies to do it. It is a skill that you can learn but you need to practice to get it perfectly. It can be a handy thing to know in an emergency or if you need to perform a sharp turn.
To do the handbrake turn, all that you have to do is to lock the rear wheels, slow down the car, and point it in the right direction. This can be a lifesaver, but can also cause premature wear of the tire, especially if you do it on dry asphalt roads.
8. Use Heel-Toe Downshifting
It might seem like you are dancing hip-hop, but this is actually a useful driving skill that you need to learn. Downshifting is a skill that you need to practice when you are accelerating the car as fast as possible when you are about to exit a corner. This will make the shifts smoother while also keeping you safe.
To do heel-toe downshifting, all that you have to do is hit the gas pedal with the use of your heel and the brake with the use of your toe. This will help to reduce the time that is required for you to shift gears.
9. Be Attentive to Cars in the Distance
Regardless of how experienced of a driver you are, this is one thing that is often missed by many people. Most are focused only on the car in their front, back, and side. Nonetheless, it will be better if you look farther and think of the other cars. The more focused you are, the smoother will be the driving and the safer you will be.
10. Adjust Mirrors to Get Rid of Blind Spots
This is another important tip that will keep you safe on the road. Look at the side mirrors. If most of what you can see are the flanks of your car, this means that you are using it wrong. As expert drivers would suggest, the side mirror should only reflect a quarter of your car. The rear-view mirror, on the other hand, should show only the rear window at the center.
From the 10 awesome techniques to become a skilled driver that have been mentioned above, we hope that you were able to learn a thing or two. The next time you grab the steering wheel, keep these things in mind to have a safer and comfortable trip.