Do you remember taking your drivers education course? Whether it was weeks ago, years ago, or even decades ago, some of the things you learned can gather dust. Those are probably the skills you don’t use every day, like how to drive on icy roads if you live in the south.
On the other hand, you learned tons of things in your drivers education course that you should use every single time you drive. As you’ve probably noticed when you’re out on the road though, sometimes people forget these skills too!
So, let’s take a quick refresher on those important drivers ed topics.
Choosing the Correct Speed
Whether you’re on a winding country road or the highway, in drivers ed you learned to adjust your driving speed to your environment. You learned how to brake before going around curves and to always drive slower on wet roads or when going down a hill. These all seem like basic things to remember, but as we’ve written previously, failure to control speed is one of the factors that most frequently contribute to crashes!
We often focus on the hazards of going too fast, but going too slow – especially on the highway – can be dangerous as well. If you don’t feel comfortable going the speed limit or at most five miles per hour below the speed limit, use the access road instead.
While we’re talking about the dangers of driving too slowly, drivers ed taught you that the far left lane is for passing on the highway or freeway. When folks forget that the far left lane is for faster traffic and that slower traffic keeps right, it can lead to unnecessary frustration, road rage, and dangerous driving. So don’t forget to choose the correct lane based on your speed. AAA also recommends that you move right to let faster traffic pass you when it’s possible.
Drivers ed also taught you how to change lanes, an essential skill for anyone who literally won’t stay in their lane! The key is to take your time and go only when it is clear. Always use your mirrors and look around you, and change lanes smoothly. You don’t want to surprise other drivers by swerving into your new lane.
Blind Spot Management
One of the essential skills to changing lanes safely involves managing blind spots – those sneaky areas that you can’t see in your mirrors. To help with blind spots, always check your mirrors before you leave and adjust them to see as much of the road next to your vehicle as possible. It’s scary not to see something while driving, so we’ve got more tips for reducing blind spots.
Plus, your blind spots aren’t the only ones you have to worry about – you’ve got to think about the other vehicles on the road. You never want to drive in another person’s blind spot. If you can, adjust your lane position so that you’re not right next to other cars.
Finally, you learned about the importance of communicating with other drivers by using those turn signals. This is definitely a lesson that drivers forget, as I’m sure you see cars all the time that change lanes and make turns without signaling. It’s easy to think that a simple turn signal won’t make a difference, but the National Safety Council has written about the importance of using them.
After all, you’re sharing the road, and wouldn’t everyone be safer if we clearly communicated where we’re going instead of surprising other drivers? Surprises are fun on birthdays, but not on the road!
Did reading this make you realize how many things you’ve forgotten from your drivers ed days? Maybe it’s time to refresh those skills by signing up for a defensive driving course!