Almost every kid yearns for the day when they can be old enough to learn how to drive. Getting that driver’s license is a rite of passage that carries so much meaning. For most young drivers, learning how to drive symbolizes freedom and responsibility. It’s a giant leap away from childhood and a small step toward adulthood. Once you learn how to drive, you can go places without your parents, run errands for your parents, get a job that’s beyond walking or bicycling distance, and go on real dates. It’s an amazing time in life that happens only once.
How you learn to drive depends on where you live and what your situation is. If you go to a school where they offer Drivers Ed, you might learn how to drive with a bunch of your friends sitting in the back seat, which is simultaneously a blast and intimidating. If driving school is affordable, you might learn about defensive driving from a stranger. Your last – and sometimes preferable option – is to learn how to drive from your parents or a family friend. However, you officially learn about defensive driving, there’s probably a bunch of stuff you didn’t learn. But don’t worry. We’re here to fill in the gaps. Here’s the guide on how to drive that you’ll never hear from anyone else.
Watch Other Drivers’ Faces
When you watch driving videos, they always tell you to “look out for other cars.” But defensive driving requires more than that. You can get a whole lot of information about what a car is going to do by watching the driver’s face. Say you’re coming up on an intersection. The driver of the car at the stop sign is laughing and talking to his buddy. Every now and then his car creeps forward. He can’t wait to zip out. Does he see you coming? Keep an eye on that driver to make sure he looks at you. If he doesn’t, there’s a good chance he might pull out right in front of you. To be on the safe side, slow down or move to the next inside lane.
Don’t Double Pedal
Your right foot is for driving, and your left foot is for the clutch if you have a manual transmission. Don’t double pedal with your left foot hovering over the brake and your right foot hovering over the accelerator. This is a bad habit that can lead to a) overuse of brakes, b) an accident. Just don’t do it.
Don’t Eat in the Car
Yes, your mom’s car is full of Burger King wrappers. You grew up at the drive-thru. That’s what drive-thrus are for, right? We’ve heard it all before. But eating in the car is a bad, bad idea. First, you could choke, and trying to maneuver your car out of traffic and danger is a lot harder when you’re also trying to not choke to death. Second, if you’re eating, you’re not holding the wheel with both hands. Third, eating in the car is messy business. You’ll end up trashing your car, getting stains on your clothes and not paying attention to the task at hand, which is, ahem, driving. Eating in the car puts your life at risk. Burger King won’t tell you that, but we will.
So now that you know the real secrets to knowing how to drive, we feel confident you’re ready for adulthood. Learning how to drive is something that almost everyone hopes to accomplish one day. But do you want to know the best part of learning how to drive? It’s learning how to drive safely.