Safe driving tips and information on ways to avoid accidents for new drivers


This article aims to provide safe driving tips for new drivers in countries which follow right hand side traffic with special focus on Middle East (UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Saudi Arabia etc). Usually beginners who are safe drivers cause fewer accidents compared to heavily experienced careless drivers. Through this article, it is also intended to highlight the general  mistakes and their root causes, so that an experienced driver can make use of it as a safety checklist. The following are the tips for safe driving.

1. Do not break the rules
Avoid the habit of intentionally breaking the rules for momentary benefits. For example, ignoring a red signal, no entry boards etc.

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 considerable distance. This avoids the probability of being hit by a vehicle which is not visible in the rear view mirror, but is in a close range. Beginners tend to make the mistake of not expecting vehicles at very close range and moving near 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 blind spot.
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 often a very bad and dangerous habit of drivers. While some do it because of impatience, road rage etc., majority 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 do it only because often they see others doing it. 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 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 in the road.

Everyone 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 very slowly.

7. Give 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. Often 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, often 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 over speeding vehicle, then it is better to give way for him as early as possible to ensure your own safety.

        b. Suppose 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 far away and is at a safe distance.

        c. Suppose you are driving in 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 more time.

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 license, 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 ahead.

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 stop board.

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 done 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 drive

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.