Safer Driver Tips

The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Becoming a Better Driver

While there are probably few people on the roads today who consider themselves to be poor drivers, many of us are acutely aware of the bad driving of others. However, if your car is sliding around corners, your petrol bill suggests there’s a hole in your fuel tank and your vehicle is covered in dents and re-sprays, reality might be disagreeing with you.

Even if your car and fuel bill are in good shape, you can probably still improve your driving skills and reap the many benefits of this. However, once it becomes apparent that your driving needs improvement, it’s not always easy to figure out how you can improve. So here are four ways you can become a better driver.

Get fairer car insurance. Based on how you drive

Advanced driving courses

The easiest way to learn a new skill is to take a course, and advanced driving courses are specifically designed to take your driving to a new level. They’re also great for allowing you to get some daredevil manoeuvres out of your system, as you’ll learn how to handle your car in a variety of challenging situations and conditions.

There are a number of advanced driving academies in Australia that offer defensive driving courses. These equip you with the knowledge and practical driving experience required to skilfully navigate hazardous situations.

Relax

Aggression and urgency while driving cause a wide range of problems on the road, from road rage incidents through to accidents. This is completely unnecessary if you take into account that the majority of delays caused by other drivers will only add a minute or two onto a trip, while fast, aggressive driving will frequently only take a few minutes off a trip.

You can avoid a variety of bad driving behaviours by just relaxing on the road. Stick to the speed limit, make away for faster cars or aggressive drivers, and stay patient when you encounter slower cars or other obstacles. Your tyres, engine and braking system will suffer less wear and tear, your fuel consumptions will improve, you’ll reduce your risk of being in an accident and you’ll arrive at your destination in a better frame of mind.

Stay focused

Being relaxed doesn’t mean being completely unconcerned about what’s happening on the road. The majority of car accidents are caused by overlaps between momentary lapses in attention and other bad driving habits like tailgating and speeding. Cell phones are pinned as a major source of driver distraction, but they’re by no means the worst offender when it comes to causing distraction-related accidents.

Passenger distraction is a common cause of accidents, as is attempting to eat or change the music while driving. So keeping your eyes on the road will automatically make you a more aware and responsive driver. It goes without saying that anything that results in reduced alertness should be avoided if you’re getting behind the wheel. And that goes beyond alcohol to include simple exhaustion and any medication that can cause drowsiness.

Get feedback

Feedback on driving has traditionally come from your parents, irate drivers of other cars and annoying backseat drivers, which may explain why many people don’t actively seek it.

However, creating feedback loops has been proven to have a positive impact on behaviour modification. People who receive accurate feedback in real time find it much easier to modify their behaviour, generating improvements that enter the feedback loop and create an incentive to continue improving.

With the advance of telematics technology you can now get objective, accurate feedback on how you are driving using a telematics app on your smartphone. These applications will turn your phone into a cutting-edge telematics device that is capable of accurately measuring and scoring key elements of your driving style, including braking, acceleration, cornering, speeding and phone distraction. It will then score your driving at the end of each trip and provide you with feedback that can be used to improve your driving.

Download UbiCar from your app store now to start tracking and scoring your driving. You won’t just become a better driver – you’ll qualify to win prizes, and become eligible for usage-based insurance premiums that reward good driving.

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