Congratulations! You just got your driver's license. Now you can enjoy the roads ahead with your friends, family, and loved ones, along with the freedom (more or less) that comes with it. To say that it's easy to get excited behind the wheel is an understatement.
But there are a few things freshly licensed drivers could learn to make them even better once they're on the road. Here's five.
Learn how to drive stick
Sure, automatics are more common now than they ever were, but it's always good to go back to basics. See, driving stick is a bit of a rarity these days, especially for city slickers. But just because many cars are automatic these days, it doesn't mean you should totally forget this skill.
Why, you might ask? There could come a time where you will have to drive a vehicle equipped with a manual, and you wouldn't want to be left scratching your head when you encounter a clutch pedal and a gear stick. Plus, learning how to drive manual will increase your skill set, particularly with automatics with a manual mode, which is always good.
Changing a tire
Imagine this: You're driving along when, all of a sudden, you feel something weird going on in your car. You get down and check to see you have a flat tire. You're at the side of the road with no one to ask for help from. You can't just sit helplessly, calling, waiting, and hoping for help to arrive.
That is why you also have to learn how to change a tire. Not only can you get back on the road faster, it could be potentially safer as you don't have to ask random strangers to help you out if you don't know how. How does one change a tire? Check out our story here.
Not all parking spaces are the same. Some are diagonal, some are parallel. Some would moan at the prospect of the latter and would rather look for a different spot than have to deal with it. But what if the only parking spaces in the place you're going to are parallel only?
And that folks, is why you have to learn how to parallel park. If it sounds too difficult to do, here are a few tips to make it a bit easier.
1. Be parallel with the vehicle you will park behind and make sure the front is even with the car beside you
2. Back up slowly and turn the wheel all the way
3. Once your back bumper is in line with the vehicle behind's furthest bumper corner, stop for a bit, then crank the wheel the opposite way.
4. Keep backing up slowly and stop when safe
5. Move the car forward to straighten
6. Adjust if necessary.
With some cars now equipped with reverse sensors and cameras, it's actually a lot easier now. But if you car doesn't, those simple tips will help.
Our roads aren't always the widest, and somehow, we find ways to turn a one lane street into two or three, or even turn them into parking lots. With that in mind, that means you have to be a little more creative when traversing these sort of roads.
First of all, you have to have a good eye for spotting gaps to place your car. Also, you have to have a sort of “sixth sense” for judging spaces around you (tanchameter, as I'd like to call it). Of course, it helps that some cars have proximity sensors, which will help your cause. But if your car doesn't have it, make good use of your mirrors.
Snaking around tight roads isn't just a skill, it's a must here, especially if you trust Waze 200 percent. It can bring you to roads you never thought you'd drive through.
Discipline...lots of it
It's not a skill per se, but a virtue. Still, jams and gridlocks are primarily caused by undisciplined motorists who just want to be a few inches ahead in our already congested streets. With that, we'll have to change our mentality: We'll all get there eventually.
Read and follow the signs. Keep distance. Follow the passing lane rules. Practice the right of way. Give way when needed. Don't block the yellow box. These are just some of the things the rest of us can do just to keep traffic flowing smoother.
As more and more young drivers take on the road, it's always important to expand their skill set and be more competent behind the wheel. Sure, these may not sound like much to the veteran drivers, but honing these five simple things can make the next generation of motorists even better than the current crop. If you're a newly-licensed driver reading this, the future of motoring is counting on you. Maybe you can even make driving here a whole lot bearable in the years to come.