Safe driving tips for new drivers
including ways to proactively avoid accidents
This article aims to provide
safe driving tips for new drivers including proactive ways to avoid accidents
in countries that follow right
hand side traffic with special focus
on Middle East (UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Saudi Arabia etc).
In one of our random
surveys, It was found that beginners who are safe
drivers tend to cause nil or much less accidents compared to decades
experienced careless drivers. Hence through
this article, it is also intended to highlight the general mistakes and
their root causes, hence
driver could also use it as a safety checklist.
1. Do not break the rules
Try to make the habit of not breaking the rules even if no one else is
affected or even if there is no risk of accidents as you
think. Examples are
ignoring red signal, no entry boards
2. Avoiding blind spot
Blind spot is related to viewing the vehicles behind in the rear view mirror.
It is an area around the vehicle which is not visible to the driver directly
or through the rearview mirror. Experienced drivers are aware of blind spot,
and leave space for another vehicle even though
they do not see it. Blind
spots become crucial when changing lane or when entering a new road (through acceleration lane). Instead of entering the
new lane abruptly, an experienced driver enters the new lane over a
This avoids the probability of being hit by a vehicle not visible
through the rear view mirror, but is in the
close range. Beginners tend to make the mistake of not expecting a vehicle at
a very close range and moving close to the unseen vehicle in the blind spot
abruptly. Similarly you should avoid driving in the blind
spot area of other drivers since they might make a mistake anytime.
Tip: Have you ever experienced a vehicle unexpectedly speeding past by your
side overtaking you? It is probably because you have ignored a
Images of Blind spot
3. Analyse the root cause of mistakes
Whenever a mistake is committed on the road (for example occasions of applying
sudden break, occasions when you nearly escaped from an accident
etc.), analyse the root cause and try not to repeat
it. The rule of near misses in
Safety states that approximately one out of 300
mistakes will lead you to an accident/ uncontrolled situation.
Hence try to avoid future accidents by analysing each of your small mistakes
on the road.
4. Avoid tailgating
(driving very close to the vehicle in front)
Tailgating is a very bad and dangerous habit of many drivers. While some do
it because of impatience, road rage etc., others do it out of ignorance.
Usually this dangerous practice is followed by otherwise safe drivers who do
it out of negligence and ignorance. That means, they
would not have done it if they knew the danger. They are
simply doing it because they see others doing it often. Therefore, make it a practice
to keep safe distance between yourself and the vehicle in front.
5. Do not over speed
Over speed is dangerous for everyone especially the
beginners. Beginners get excited by the over speed
because they are unaware of the consequences. Drivers get to know about the
dangers of the road over a long period of driving. Beginners should strictly avoid over speeding for other's and
their own safety.
6. Do not hurry on the road.
should drive at a safe speed
depending on the maximum speed set for the road, traffic and climate
conditions. Also make sure not to disturb other road commuters by driving
appropriate turn signals and indicators
Make it a habit to use turn indicators whether or not another vehicle or a
pedestrian is in the vicinity. So many people have the bad habit of turning on
the indicator only if someone is out there in the vicinity. By turning on the
indicator every time, it becomes a reflex action (automatic response by the
body) which does not require much effort. On the other hand if you develop the
habit of turning on the indicator only in the presence of another vehicle,
pedestrians or something else, most of the time you will end up in forgetting
to turn on the indicator.
8. Avoid Other Over speeding Vehicles
A large number of regular road users are unaware of the dangers of over speeding. About 10% of the vehicles can be expected
to be in the over speed range in our roads. They are
endangering their own and other's safety on the road.
You can save yourself from accidents by looking around for over speeding vehicles and avoiding them. The following
cases will help to understand ways to avoid accidents due to over speeding vehicles.
a. If you are being tailgated
(someone behind drives very close to your vehicle) by an
vehicle, then it is better to give way for him as early as possible to ensure your
you are approaching a
hump on the road. If you happen to see an over speeding
vehicle behind your's, turn on the hazard light
to draw his attention even if he is very far away
and is at a safe distance.
c. Suppose you are driving on the
fast lane. If you happen to see an over speeding
vehicle behind yours, immediately move to the slow lane and give way for
him to overtake you.
Why people over speed?
9. Avoid Road Rage
If you happen to
agitate another driver, whether
or not the fault is yours, you
should not react or retaliate to him on the
road. If you try to retaliate, then things will become
worse. Convince yourself that
it is bad to react in such
situations, calm down and get away at the earliest.
10. Take your own time to make decisions on the road
When you are new on the road, you will find it difficult to make quick decisions† (eg: entering a busy roundabout, crossing a non-signalized junction etc). You
need to make an assessment of the speed of vehicles on the crossing road
before going forward. If you are a beginner, take your own time in such
situations. It will take at least an year on the
road to make right decisions quickly. There is no need to hurry and make a
mistake. Do not mind it even if someone from behind honks at you for taking
11. Check for the following before starting the journey
a. Check the condition of tyres (for puncture etc.)
b. Check any system warning lights (engine light etc.)
c. Check coolant and oil
d. Wear seat belt yourself and ask others to wear it as well
e. Adjust the rear view mirrors if required.
12. Use of Hazard warning lights
Turn the hazard light on while suddenly slowing down, suddenly stopping or
reversing on the road, in order to avoid being hit by the vehicle on the
back. For example if the vehicle in front of you apply
sudden break or when your car suddenly gets breakdown etc.
13. Emergency repair on the highway
In case you need to stop the car for an emergency repair on the highway, try
your best to take it to a place far from the highway. Try not to park the
vehicle on the shoulder of the road for repair if any other option exists.
Very importantly make sure to turn on the hazard light and keep the reflective
sign boards safely on the road (reflective sign boards
should be there in every car. Please check inside the dickey).
14. Take these cautions
while applying sudden break
Mostly you can avoid using sudden breaks by driving safely on the road,
unless someone else force you to do so by his mistake or if something
unexpectedly happens on the road, for example a stray
dog jumps in front of the
vehicle. If at all you are forced to apply sudden break, you should avoid
slamming the brakes because it might cause skidding the vehicle. If your
vehicle has ABS, it will protect skidding to an extent. If it skids, you
should steer the car in the direction of the skid while gradually applying
brakes to avoid accident.
15. Avoiding risk of accident due to someone else's fault
There are situations when even when you obey the rules, you have got the risk
of getting an accident due to someone else's fault. One of such example is
when you are waiting to turn left in a junction. Assume that there is an
additional lane (entrance ramp or deceleration lane) for the exiting vehicles
in your opposite direction. As per rule you have the first priority to enter
the cross road, but sometimes drivers in opposite direction (deceleration lane)
will make the mistake of not waiting for you to cross first. Hence it is
advisable to wait for the opposite vehicle which is still in the additional
deceleration lane to pass by or let him give you indication to cross the
road. Needless to say, you need not have to wait if the opposite vehicle is
at a safe distance. Otherwise there are chances that you will end up in an
accident even though not your mistake.
The same is applicable in signalized junctions and
roundabouts. In a signal there are chances that vehicles might overcome a red
signal and try to enter the traffic in the perpendicular lane. It is always advisable to give an eye to the left to watch for people
knowingly or unknowingly breaking the rule.
16. Precaution in bad
weather -Go slow
There is more risk during precipitation (rain, snow etc.) if the speed is
high. The maximum speed set for the road is considering ideal conditions and
not for the slippery road and rainy condition. It is required to apply breaks
early and gradually to avoid accidents. If the rain is so heavy that you
cannot see the car going in front of you, it is recommended to stop by the
road side and wait for the rain to stop.
17. Precaution in bad weather - Never tailgate especially in slippery road
It is dangerous to drive close to the vehicle in front especially during rain
since more breaking distance is required in the slippery road. It is required
to maintain about 3 times the normal breaking distance in slippery road
during heavy rain. Moreover the mud sprayed from tyres
of vehicles in front also blurs the forward vision.
18. Precaution in bad
weather - Ensure you are visible
Turn on the park lights or the headlights (depending on the darkness around)
in order to make your vehicle visible to other drivers.
19. Learn about road infrastructure
If you belong to a rural area, even if you have got a
chances are that you may not be familiar with different types of road
infrastructure, for example junctions, traffic signals, roundabouts (2 and 3
lane roundabouts), road diversions etc. So if you belong to rural area or if
you are not familiar with these type of
infrastructure, it is recommended to go with an experienced person first
before venturing into the unknown area.
20. Large vehicle on backside at acceleration lane
blocking rear view
Sometimes a large vehicle on the backside might
block your rear view,
for example in acceleration lane, when you about to enter a new road from
free right. Donít get panicky and jump to the road before looking through the
rear view mirror. Instead move a little ahead through the shoulder (if space
available) and give way for the big vehicle to overtake and go. Now look back
through the rearview mirror, be safe and then move
21. Mistakes that Beginners tend to make in a roundabout
a. Consider a beginner who enters the roundabout into the outer lane (in a
2-lane roundabout) with the intension to take the second exit. He might make
the mistake of moving to the second exit without caring for the vehicles
going to take the first exit (those who are already inside the roundabout
before he enters). This is wrong and he will be responsible
in case of an accident. He
should either not enter the roundabout or give way for the exiting vehicle.
b. While exiting from the inner lane (in a 2-lane roundabout),
a beginner might blindly
exit without checking the vehicles in the outside lane. (if there are other vehicles, then he should take another
round inside the roundabout before exiting).
22. Junctions with stop board
A stop board is provided when there is no additional lane (acceleration
lane). Halt the vehicle, watch and slowly enter the crossing road when you see a
23. Making U-Turns in a signalised junction
It is allowed to make U-turn only from the inner most lane
(first lane) and not from the
other lanes (second or third lane). Drivers usually make the mistake of making U-turns from the
other lanes which is very dangerous. Also U-turn should not be
where sign boards prohibits doing so.
When you are turning left at a junction, our
suggestion is to avoid going to the innermost lane as much as possible, since others in the
outer lane might make the mistake of trying to make a U-turn.
24. Do not drink and
Alcohol affects the
decision making power of the driver. For example a person driving under
influence of alcohol might cross a red signal or would fail to apply breaks
in a pedestrian crossing. Alcohol also causes blurred or double vision which
also impairs the ability of the driver to respond to challenges on the road.
25. Avoid using mobile
phone calling and texting while driving
Use of cell phone also
affects the decision making and response power of the driver.
It should be made a practice to avoid the use of cell
phones while driving.