Five habits all good drivers have

Most of us will probably claim to be good drivers, some of us may even go as far to say they are excellent. But in reality, it is a much smaller percentage of people who really know what it takes to stay safe on roads, and put that knowledge to use.

The people who really know how to stay safe understand that it is about more than just obeying the rules of the road. The challenge is for the rest of us to learn from this behaviour and improve our own driving.

So before you use our app to get a used car valuation, take a look at five habits that you should be following from good drivers to help improve your own:

They concentrate fully on the road

In a world of instant communication, the ping of a text, the ring of a phone call or the buzz of an email is something we respond to almost instantaneously. Even though the temptation to respond will be great, you should never, ever check whilst behind the wheel.

The advice from road safety experts is very straightforward. If you must take a call whilst driving, only do so when connected to a hands-free device, but never type a message or email whilst driving.

Of course, it isn’t just phones that cause distraction, as satnavs and stereos can cause distractions, or even daydreaming. The best drivers remain firmly focused on the road, and they’re much safer for it.

They take regular breaks

One of the ways a driver can remain focused on the road for prolonged periods of time is by taking regular breaks. Since driver fatigue is a major factor in road accidents – causing as many as 3,000 a year in the UK alone – the best drivers stop regularly to stay alert and recharge their batteries.

Yet recent AA research found that 63% of British motorists do not take effective breaks when travelling long distances. 28% admitted they keep driving, even when tired, to press on to their destination, while one in 20 admit to never stopping at all.

Such actions as these are extremely dangerous, and as many as one in 10 drivers have fallen asleep whilst behind the wheel. Professor Jim Horne, a sleep neuroscientist has outlined the dangers of this happening, stating: “Sleep-related crashes are twice as likely to result in death or serious injury because of the high-impact speed and lack of avoiding action.”

The best drivers plan their long journeys in advance, factoring in breaks and allow extra time to reach their destination. Meanwhile, if you are feeling tired, you should stop and drink an energy drink or strong cup of coffee and take a 20-minute nap to allow the caffeine to kick in. You should then find it easier to concentrate for the remainder of the journey.

They know the speed limit

A pretty obvious point here, but a good driver will always know what speed they should be driving at. This might not always be as straightforward as you think, and many motorists are unsure of basic rules, such as you should always stick to 30mph when there are streetlights alongside the road, unless signage says otherwise.

There are, of course, drivers who do know the speed limit but choose to ignore it anyway. This creates a number of dangers, such as reduced time to react if something happens in front of you, and much less control of your car. This point is simple – stick to the speed limits!

They are not overconfident

Good drives will have belief in their driving ability, but they will not be overconfident. Driver error is a factor in almost three-quarters of all crashes in the UK, as many drivers get complacent on the roads.

Drivers who feel that they have everything sorted behind the wheel are much more likely to make mistakes than those who are always aware. There’s a fine line between being too nervous at the wheel and being constantly aware of what is going on, and good drivers manage the latter very effectively.

They stay completely sober

As we mentioned above, driving whilst tired is a dangerous habit for people to get into. But there is one that is even more dangerous, and that is getting behind the wheel whilst drunk.

The best habit to get into is to not touch any alcohol at all when you are driving. However, if you do, make sure you stick to the government’s legal limits. It is also worth noting that the rules are much stricter if you are driving in Scotland, so what passes for legal in the rest of the UK won’t in the Highlands.