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As a new driver, you’re likely relishing the freedom of being able to go just about anywhere whenever you like. However, as an inexperienced driver, it’s easy to begin developing habits that can potentially be dangerous for you and your future passengers. In this article, we discuss some common risky behaviors that new drivers might unknowingly practice. 

Multitasking Behind the Wheel

Anytime you’re operating a motor vehicle, whether you’re in a residential neighborhood or on the freeway, you need to fully focus on driving. Distractions, no matter how seemingly minor, can significantly compromise your ability to drive safely. One of the most common causes of distracted driving is cell phone use. Texting, talking, or even using navigation apps on your phone takes your focus off the road, making it more difficult to react to sudden hazards. Even hands-free calls can be distracting for new drivers, as conversations can take your attention from what’s going on around your car.

New drivers may also be distracted by their passengers. Engaging in a spirited discussion, adjusting the car’s music, or reaching for something to hand to a passenger removes your focus from the road. As a new driver, it’s crucial to establish boundaries with your passengers. Gently explain that you need to focus on the road and will address their needs when it is safe to do so. If a distracted driver ends up causing you to crash, a car accident lawyer in Atlanta may be able to help with your case. 

Speeding Can Cause Dangerous Accidents

It can be tempting to push the limits of your vehicle on the open road, but speeding is a major contributing factor to serious crashes. Driving above the speed limit or too fast for the road conditions reduces your reaction time and increases the severity of collisions. You will need more time and space to come to a stop and what would have been a minor collision may now be much more serious. 

At the same time, it’s vital to avoid aggressive behavior such as tailgating, making erratic lane changes, and failing to yield to oncoming traffic. You should always obey the rules of the road and do your best to drive in a predictable, safe manner. Failure to do so can cause road rage situations or an increased risk of crashes. These actions can lead to road rage incidents and increase the risk of collisions. Do your best to practice patience and defensive driving.

A Lack of Awareness Can Have Consequences 

Traffic signs and signals are a vital communication system on the road. They provide instructions, warnings, and information that all motorists are obligated to obey. By ignoring stop signs, failing to yield at traffic lights, or disregarding lane markings, a driver significantly increases their chances of hurting themself or someone else in a crash. As a new driver, you should take some time to learn the meaning of common traffic signs and signals. 

Another area where new drivers might lack awareness is in the location of their vehicle’s blind spots. These are areas along the sides and rear of a car that are not clearly visible to a driver. It’s crucial to check these blind spots before making a lane change or turn, as failing to do so can result in a collision. It’s particularly easy for motorcycles and bicycles to inadvertently hover in a car’s blind spot, as they have a much smaller profile than another similarly-sized vehicle.  

Inexperience Can Be Problematic

New drivers often lack the experience to fully grasp the challenges and complexities of operating a motor vehicle. This can lead to overconfidence, where a driver believes that their skills are more advanced than they actually are. This overconfidence can result in risky driving behavior, such as speeding on unfamiliar roads or attempting to recklessly pass another car. 

As a new driver, you may consider taking a defensive driving course in your home state. Defensive driving gives you the skills and mindset needed to proactively identify and avoid hazards on the road. You’ll be able to spot erratic drivers, pedestrians, road debris, and other potential issues more easily and appropriately respond to the danger. 

Staying Safe on the Road

​​As a new driver, it’s understandable that you’re excited to get out on the road! However, it’s crucial to recognize and avoid common driving mistakes that can put you and your loved ones at risk. Consistent practice, investing in defensive driving, and focusing on safety at all times will minimize your chances of experiencing a collision. We hope this article helps you stay safe behind the wheel!

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