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Essential Driving Tips for Any New Student Driver

If you're a new student driver, it's perfectly normal to be nervous. There are things you can do, however, to ensure that you'll be comfortable behind the wheel by the time you're ready to apply for your license. Student drivers should follow these steps.

Hit the Books

Before you get in the driver's seat, it's helpful to do some studying. Reading your state's driver manual is a good place to start as a student driver. Be sure to familiarize yourself with your state's traffic laws and highway signs. Not only will you need to know them for your permit test, but it'll also help you feel more at ease the first time you get behind the wheel.

The driver manual is also likely to contain information on what you'll need to know for your driving test, so that you'll have a good idea of the skills you should be practicing, as well as useful tips on things like how far to follow behind the car ahead of you and what to do if you encounter inclement weather.

Start Slow

Don't rush to get on the road when a quiet parking lot may be the ideal place for your first few practice sessions. This environment will allow you to practice the basics without feeling like you're in anyone's way. Practice starting the car, accelerating and breaking, turning, reversing and parking until you feel like you're ready to try driving in traffic.

As a student driver, it's also important that you familiarize yourself with your car. Make sure you know how the lights, horn, windshield wipers and blinkers work. You'll feel much more confident on the road if you're prepared for unexpected situations.

Go at Your Own Pace

Once you're ready to hit the open road, remember that you're in control of your own journey. Just because other drivers fly past you doesn't mean that you need to drive over the speed limit. Drive at a pace you feel comfortable with and don't worry about what other drivers think. Changes are you're actually the one driving more safely.

With that being said, always stay alert and pay attention to the drivers around you. If another driver is making you feel uncomfortable by following you too closely, pull over somewhere safe and let them pass.

The More Practice the Better

Many states require that student drivers log a certain number of practice hours before they can get their license. The more you practice, the better driver you'll become! While practicing, be sure to remember the defensive driving techniques listed in your state's driver handbook.

Always follow traffic laws — use your blinker, come to a complete stop at stop signs, etc. — so that it'll come second-nature when you take your driving test.

Work on What Scares You

Many drivers have scenarios they'd prefer to avoid, whether it's driving in the rain, on a crowded highway or at night. Make sure to spend some time practicing driving in these common situations so that you're comfortable when you have to do it on your own. And just remember, every driver was a student driver once!

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