10 ways to become a better driver

In driving, you can always become better by progressing from beginner to proficient to experienced to expert driver. We have listed a few thing you can do to become better at the art of driving

1. Best driving position

For decades, driving instructors taught students to keep their hands on the steering wheel at the 10 and 2 positions on the clock. In the last few years, those guidelines have changed so you’re now supposed to keep your hands lower, at either 9 and 3 or 8 and 4. Also, your elbows should be at an angle of 90 degrees so that your arms don’t get tired.

This gives you more control and stability when driving, and is also the most ergonomic position to hold your hands for long periods of time. Muscles are more relaxed and you have more control over your vehicle. Instantly, you’re a better driver.

2. Use your mirrors well

Mirrors are very important. Check the mirrors when moving off, check the mirrors before changing lanes, check the mirror before coming to a stop, check the mirrors before turning left or right, Use the mirrors for parking, Always check the mirrors. Especially in India, when you have motorcycles coming from all sides, you have to be on your toes.

There are two ways to position your mirrors. One way is to adjust the mirrors so that the two sides of your car can be seen which is important when reversing. The other is to adjust the side mirrors so far outward, so they’re just overlapping your rear-view mirror. The problem with this technique is that it is not easy to park with this technique, so my advice is to choose the technique that you are comfortable with. Provided by the car magazine ‘Car and Driver’, Here’s an illustration for both the techniques.

3. Be aware on the road

Looking ahead and knowing what’s coming can help you avoid traffic and increase safe driving. The challenge is to stay conscious. Here are a few tips to become a very alert driver:

Aim high in steering: Look as far down the road as possible to uncover important traffic information to make appropriate decisions.

Get The Big Picture: Maintain the proper following distance so you can comfortably determine the true hazards around your vehicle. Don’t tailgate others.

Keep Your Eyes Moving: Scan — but don’t stare. Constantly shift your eyes while driving. Active eyes keep up with changing traffic conditions.

Maneuvering: When you have to make a maneuver, always look where you want the car to be instead of the obstacle.

Always keep an eye out for other drivers: Never assume other drivers know what they’re doing. Always expect the worst. In blunt terms, assume that all other drivers are idiots. You will drive more defensively and, therefore, become a better driver if you think that way.

Put your phone in the glove box: Distracted driving is a killer, but it’s hard to know how to stop. Every message seems so short and you could read just this one at the stoplight. Simply leave the phone in the glove compartment so you don’t have to look at it.

4. Be nice to others

Communicate in traffic with your horn, lights and signals to establish eye contact with motorists and pedestrians. Be reasonably sure of people’s intentions. Notify other drivers of your intent to turn or to change lanes early enough that they are able to take appropriate action. Sitting at a red light is NOT the right time to turn on your blinker; if you had done so earlier, the person behind you would have been able to change lanes and avoid sitting behind you when the light turns green. Keep in mind that it is courteous to allow a vehicle to turn into traffic if the driver is waiting for a break. Maintaining a decent, comfortable distance between you and the driver ahead of you is an excellent rule of thumb. You should keep at least 2 to 4 seconds distance between you and the person in front of you

5. Driving smooth

If you wish to maintain the smoothness of your car and eventually its resale value in the used car market, I suggest that you stop ‘riding the clutch’ and start ‘rev matching’. Many people like to rest their left foot on the clutch, but this will cause clutch wear and you will have to change the clutch too soon. Instead, whenever possible, remove your foot from the clutch. If you are stuck in traffic, shift to neutral and leave the clutch.

Notice that when you suddenly shift from 4thto 3rd, there is a big jerk, causing your passengers to stare at you? You can avoid that by Rev Matching about which and some other expert driving tips I will explain in a different article.

6. Tackling Indian highways and hills

Unfortunately, most of the Indian highways do not consist of six lane roads so there is a lot to learn about tackling Indian highways and hills, so I will write an expansive article on this topic soon. Here are a few tips for the time being:

Always make sure you leave early enough so that you don’t have to drive too fast. Once you hit the highway, you should try to take it to a higher speed and maintain it. If you plan to drive slower than 70 km/h, stick to the left lane and let the faster cars go by. Lower the speed at least 50% when you are crossing junctions and always scan the road ahead and calculate for potential obstacles. Another very important thing is to never break suddenly on highways.

7. Expert Parking

Parking in India is a pain so we have a few simple guidelines for when to turn and what to use for reference points when parking may be all you need to perfect your parking abilities. This infographic illustrates exactly how to parallel park and pull in quickly (backward or forwards) into a parking lot spot.

See the full infographic here: http://blog.gozoomo.com/post/113860631488/how-to-expertly-park-your-car

8. Night driving

Night driving in India is very difficult and it gets even worse when the bad drivers drive on high beam. The first thing to do is make sure you had enough rest before driving. An old trick is to keep the white line on the side of the road in your sight so that you can see the road better. Always dim your light for the oncoming traffic so that they can see properly too.

9. Keep track of your mileage

Use your fuel consumption display or keep a small notebook in the glove box and record your fill-ups and miles.

Challenge yourself — Maximizing fuel economy can be made into a game. It’s like sharpening any skill. There’s a feeling of accomplishment when you constantly improve your fuel mileage.

10. Practice

The best way to become a better driver is to practice all the above tips. Every time you drive, try to practice these tips and keep driving. After you drive at least 5000–10000 km, you will become a better driver.

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Originally published at blog.gozoomo.com.