Most people find it relatively easy to get a driver’s license. You usually practice driving with a family member in empty parking lots or on back roads. At the same time, you’ll study for the written test from online courses or information you get at the DMV.
Then comes your learner’s permit, and then the practical test portion where you show off your newfound skills. Now you have your license, assuming you didn’t mess up anywhere along the way. If you did, don’t worry: many individuals don’t pass on their first attempt.
Once you have that license, you might feel like the king or queen of the road. Over time, you’ll gain experience that should help you in many different driving situations. In the meantime, there are four tips that will make you a more considerate and safer driver.
Conduct Yourself Properly When You Approach an Intersection
When you pull up to an intersection, you might have cars on either side of you and across from you. If you remember best driving practices, you should be fine. You must:
- Pay attention to the light so you’ll know when to go, and you won’t irritate vehicles behind you
- Avoid driving through yellow lights if there’s time for you to stop
You should also count to three before entering an intersection on a green light. You might not always learn this in driving school, but it’s a safe thing to do.
Just because you know not to try and make it through a yellow light as it turns to red, that doesn’t mean another driver might not attempt it. Waiting for that three-count before going forward when the light turns green can prevent a collision.
Let People Cross at the Crosswalk
Perhaps you pull up to an intersection, and there’s a stop sign on your right. There’s also a crosswalk, and there’s an older woman approaching it who hasn’t quite gotten there yet. Your options are to:
- Wait until she gets the intersection and walks across
- Gun the motor and zoom through the intersection, since she has not arrived at the crosswalk yet
Technically, it would not be wrong for you to go through the intersection at this point, since the woman has not reached the crosswalk yet. You have the right of way.
However, it’s a nice thing to do to stop and gesture for her to walk across rather than driving through the intersection as she’s getting near to it. You might be in a hurry, but unless it’s a life or death emergency, it’s best to have courtesy for pedestrians. It’s what you’d want someone to do for you.
Let the Other Car Go First
There is a similar scenario when you approach a four-way intersection, and you’re going to turn left, but another car comes from the other side, and they’re driving straight through. You got there simultaneously, so it’s not clear which one of you has the right of way.
You should be thoughtful and defer to the other person. Make eye contact with them and gesture for them to drive ahead. If they shake their head or indicate that you should go, you can do that.
Where the right of way isn’t one hundred percent clear, defensive driving says defer to the other person. It is a nice thing to do, and it’s a lot better than trying to make that left-hand turn because you feel like you got to the intersection a fraction of a second before the other car.
Don’t Let Courtesy Create a Dangerous Situation
At the same time, you can’t let courtesy cause an accident. Maybe you’re in the far right-hand lane of a four-lane street, and someone is pulling out of a driveway to your right, trying to turn left. It seems like it’s a nice thing to do to stop and let them make that turn ahead of you.
However, if they make that turn, they can’t necessarily see past your car into the other lane to your left. If they attempt to make that left hand turn blind because you let them in, they could hit another car going past you on the left that they didn’t see coming.
This is a situation where it’s safer to continue past that driveway, so the car pulling out can make that left-hand turn when they have an unobstructed road view. As you get a little more driving experience, you’ll learn to recognize how to conduct yourself in these situations.