Anyone can learn to drive and most people – with practice and instruction – can pass both the practical and the theory driving test. Yet not everyone on the roads is a good driver. Why not? Because there are 5 key qualities every good driver needs. How many do you have?
1. A Good Driver is Forward Thinking
It’s often said that a good driver needs to be observant, but that’s only half the story. It’s not good noticing that kid on a scooter if you don’t think ahead to what might happen. Good drivers not only notice what’s going on around them, they automatically anticipate the actions of other road users, and react before they need to react.
Any other road user – adult or child, in a car, in a lorry, on a bike or motorbike, on a horse, on foot – could at any time become a hazard that you need to deal with, either through carelessness or through sheer bad luck. A good driver needs to be able to anticipate the worst.
2. A Good Driver is Skilled
Sure, you’ve passed your test, but that doesn’t mean your skill level will remain static. A good driver is aware of the need to practice uncommon manoeuvres. Take time out once in a while on a deserted road to practice emergency stops. If you know that you’re not great at parking, make a conscious effort to practice it. Skill levels matter when it comes to split second decisions or actions which can cause or avoid an accident. Think about taking advanced driving lessons which will help to hone your skills past the basic necessary standard.
3. A Good Driver Underestimates their Ability
Good drivers are never over-confident. They don’t pull out with a second to spare and good drivers never show off, race away from lights or get impatient behind the wheel. Over-estimating your driving skills is one of the biggest causes of accidents. If you’re not sure you can overtake that tractor safely in the gap available – wait!
4. A Good Driver is Decisive
Having said that, a good driver does need to be able to take a decision quickly and act on it. Dithering about whether to pull out or not, or when to join a roundabout, can be almost as dangerous as driving recklessly. Other road users will assume that you’re going to move at that point, and if you don’t they could end up hitting you. Always follow the basic rules about mirror-signal-manoeuvre, but once you’ve ascertained that a movement is safe, get on with it!
5. A Good Driver Remains Calm
Panicking behind the wheel will help nobody. In the event of an emergency, a good driver knows what action to take and can take that action smoothly, decisively and without fuss. If you’re caught up in an incident you might shake like a leaf once you’re out of the vehicle, but for a good driver adrenaline and instinct will take over during the moment you’re actually driving.
Many of these qualities come from practice and experience, so the golden rule here is that once you’ve passed your driving tests – keep driving! The more you drive, the better a driver you’ll become. Occasional drivers are far less safe than regular drivers, so even if you don’t have to drive – drive!
Tags: driving tips