New Drivers: Their Top Mistakes

Learning to drive can be terrifying. Not only do you have to know exactly how your car handles, but there are hundreds of written and unwritten rules of the road most drivers need to know to survive. New drivers also tend to make similar mistakes that driving veterans have learned to avoid. Here are the most common errors that fledgling drivers make.

Using Your Phone

While new drivers might know that using a phone while driving is dangerous, it’s possible no one ever explained why. Well, distracted driving is the leading cause of auto accidents in the United States. More than 8 people a day are killed by distracted driving, and another 1,161 people are injured each day in similar types of accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that in 2015, 3,477 people were killed and about 391,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. Cell phones can be particularly distracting, but why? Eating and drinking while driving can also be distractions. What makes cell phones so much worse?

Cell phones are designed to catch and keep your attention. There are so many functions and flashy apps on phones, smartphones in particular, that get people to click on their apps or use their shopping features. Cell phone text tones and ringtones are also designed to get people’s attention because it means someone is trying to get in touch. They’re mobile entertainment centers, which is why they are so much more tempting to interact with than a bottle of lemonade or a burger. Using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37%. If your brain activity decreases, you are less likely to be quick enough to see a danger and respond to it in time, especially if you’re looking down at your phone instead of keeping your eyes on the road.


New drivers often find it difficult to measure how fast they’re going and how much time they will need to come to a complete stop. Until you know exactly how to judge your car speed, it’s wise to continue to observe the speed limit signs. If you find yourself going slower than the flow of traffic, use the far right lane. Faster drivers might have years more experience behind the wheel than you do, and they could be the ones that wind up crashing somewhere down the road. Also, the faster you go, the less control you will have over your vehicle in the event that you need to avoid a sudden lane merge or a stopped car. Keeping control of your vehicle is an excellent way to avoid most obstacles on the road.

Road Awareness

Driving by yourself can be particularly nerve-wracking, which is why many new drivers can focus intensely on the patch of road ahead of them. However, experienced drivers will know exactly how to briefly direct their attention to each of their mirrors and to a wider piece of road in order to get a clearer view of the driving environment around them. Checking for potential hazards will allow you to avoid them altogether.

Not Maintaining Your Vehicle

If your car isn’t in peak condition through regular checkups, it won’t last very long and could very well die in the middle of a trip. If you treat your car like a person, who gets regular doctor visits in preventative care, you can nip any potential problems in the bud. For example, if you don’t change your oil often enough, the lubricant can accumulate iron, which means steel parts might be wearing down from abrasive particulates in the oil. This wear and tear will significantly affect your engine function, which might one day stop working while you’re driving. If you’re on the freeway, this can also be extremely dangerous.


There might be nothing as dangerous as tailgating. People often overestimate their ability to stop their cars in time, which is why new drivers often tailgate the individuals in front of them. On a crowded freeway, this tendency to get too close to the car in front of you can lead to a multiple-vehicle pileup in an accident, which is one of the most dangerous types of collisions.

Not Using Seat Belts or Turn Signals

Seatbelts were mandated in vehicles for a reason. Before their implementation, thousands of people died simply by braking too hard and hitting their head or face on the wheel, dashboard, or windshield in an accident. Seat belt use reduces the risk of death in a collision by 45% and cuts the risk of serious injury by 50%.

Many drivers, new and old alike, often think turn signals are optional. However, wherever you are, you are required by law to use your turn signals. A good rule of thumb is to use your turn signal at any time you’re turning, even in a parking lot. This frequent use will ensure you integrate the impulse to use your turn signals, rather than only remembering whenever you feel you need to do so.

If you were injured in a car accident, talk to one of our experienced and skilled Orlando personal injury attorneys. The Trial Professionals P.A. serves people across Florida, and we treat every client as an individual, not a case number. Let us treat you with the respect, care, and attention you deserve as we work to get you fair compensation for your injury. Contact us at (855) 375-9959 or fill out our online form to schedule your free case consultation today.


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