Getting back into your driving rhythm as a learner driver
A driver’s licence is very important because not only does it allow you to legally operate a motor vehicle on a public road, but it also helps get your foot in the door when job hunting. The job market is very saturated right now because there are so many young people with tertiary qualifications that the job market is just unable to accommodate them all. This has resulted in employers now listing a driver’s licence as a requirement to narrow down the number of candidates. This means that in today’s way of living, obtaining a driver’s licence gives you a one-up against the many unemployed people in the country.
While it may be a good idea to continue driving after passing your driving test to polish your driving skills and gain more confidence on the road, the reality of our economic disparities in South Africa makes this difficult for most who aren’t privileged enough to have cars in their homes that they can use to perfect their driving skills. This lack of access often places these learner drivers at a disadvantage as they find themselves forgetting how to drive because they don’t get to do it often.
If this is you, and you are now ready to buy your own wheels and get back on the driving wagon, use the following tips to safely get back into your driving rhythm.
1. Take driving lessons
Start with taking a few lessons with a qualified driving instructor. These lessons will help refresh your memory, especially if the time frame between you obtaining your driver’s licence and buying your first car is more than a year. The instructor will monitor your driving skills and give out pointers for where you can improve should you make any dangerous driving mistakes.
2. Revisit the rules of the road
It is important to remind yourself of the rules of the road before getting behind the wheel. During this period where you are trying to reacquaint yourself with being on the road, the K53 handbook should be your friend. Go through the signs and their meanings, not only for your safety but for the safety of other motorists sharing the road with you.
3. Plan your route ahead
Once you have completed your refresher course and reacquainted yourself with the rules of the road, you will gain a bit of confidence to drive without supervision. To do this safely, learner drivers should plan their trips ahead. Planning your trip will save you from potential speeding tickets and unnecessary scares caused by motorists who get a kick out of harassing new drivers.
4. Avoid Distractions
This one is probably the most important tip of all, especially for the millennials who live to document every single aspect of their lives. While it may be tempting to film yourself listening to the latest popular song in your brand-new car – because pressures imposed by social media say “if it wasn’t posted, it didn’t happen” – it’s important to note the risk posed by these actions. If your mind and body are still getting used to driving as a new driver, avoid distractions! Cell phones are the biggest distractors and one of the many causes of car accidents. That phone call, text, and recording that snap can wait, trust us!
Additional tips that go without saying include wearing a seat belt, adjusting your mirrors, keeping to the speed limit, keeping a safe following distance, and watching out for other motorists.
Getting back onto the road after taking a long hiatus can be scary and intimidating, make sure that you do so safely.