There's nothing like the freedom of the open road, especially if you are a new driver. Australia is a vast country and has plenty to explore, but you've got to think about your fundamentals when you are starting out on a new motoring adventure. Certainly, it's great to be able to get behind the wheel of a car for the first time, but remember that it comes with a great deal of responsibility. As the proud holder of a new licence, what are some of the most critical habits that you need to foster in order to keep you safe out there?
Firstly, take time to understand exactly how a car works and how it should perform in normal circumstances. You don't have to become a fully qualified mechanic by any means, but with a general understanding you will know what should and should not happen when you activate the various controls. This will give you a lot of confidence going forward.
It can be quite a challenge driving in bad weather amongst a lot of other vehicles, so you will need a fair amount of self-confidence without being overly assertive.
You may fancy yourself as a future racing driver, but don't try to hone your skill on the public road. Speed limits are there for a reason, and you should always stick to them and be aware of the various restrictions in urban or "built up" areas as well, for the safety of others.
The ever-present smartphone is a definite liability in the cockpit of a modern-day car. It's best if you put it on "air plane mode" whenever you get behind the wheel, or certainly switch the speaker off so that you don't hear any incoming text messages. Many young people are glued to the screen of their device in normal circumstances, but attempting to reply to a text when your driving has been shown to be deadly.
If you are setting out on a particularly long drive across country, don't underestimate how hard this is on your body. Many of the roads between the bigger cities are straight and relatively mundane but cover long distances. This can lead to monotony and you can easily become overtired. Get used to taking a break to recharge your batteries, even though you may be in a hurry to get to your destination.
Finally, whenever you drink, never drive, as the latest sobriety campaign dictates. This will even extend to any big parties that you may enjoy the night before you intend to drive. If you do get caught doing something that you shouldn't, you may lose your privilege before you've even started to enjoy it properly.
Topping Up Your Lessons
If you're not the most confident driver, then you may find it advantageous to take some additional lessons at a driving school while you get used to this new experience.