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A Comprehensive Guide for New Drivers

Driving in a car

Last updated at: Mar 20, 2024

New driver? Congrats, we're excited to have you on the road! Before you get out there, we think it's important to take a look at some tips for first time drivers. We have put together a guide that tells you everything you need to know before you hit the road. So buckle up and dive in!

Traffic Rules Above Everything Else

Make sure you understand the traffic rules in your state before you get going. First and foremost buckle up and make sure all passengers are using seatbelts as well. Other important rules to consider include passing on your left, stopping at stop signs and even simply leaving space between you and the vehicle in front of you. If you plan on driving out of state, it might be worth taking a look to see if there are any varying rules. In some states you might be able to turn right at a red light and in others this could gift you a parking ticket. Overall, make sure you are driving smart and aware!

Road Signs are Your Best Friends

It's extremely important to pay attention to road signs. How fast can I drive? Can I park here? Do I have the right of way? Is this a school zone? These are all questions that can be answered if you know and pay attention to your handy dandy road signs. It may seem obvious, but it's important to always be alert in this case.

Road Signs

Get to Know your Car Well

Not all cars are the same. This is an important tip for new drivers. When you get into a new vehicle, make sure that you familiarize yourself with the car before you get going. You might realize that the turn signals are in different places or you don't know where the lights are. You might even realize this car is stick and you don't know how to drive stick! The key here is to pay attention and take a few minutes before you start the car to understand where you are.

Make Sure You and the Passengers are Safe

Always, always make sure you and your passengers are staying safe. As we know and are warned, driving can be dangerous. So buckle up and concentrate on the road. It's important you follow all driving rules and drive carefully and safely. This means maintaining the right speed, checking your rearview mirrors and making sure your passengers are following the rules too.

Drive Slowly, Don’t Hurry Up

Though it may seem exciting to drive fast, it is extremely important to follow speed limits. The faster you are driving, the less time you have to brake and the more impact there will be. Teenage drivers are more likely to speed than other groups of drivers, so just make sure you are keeping to the speed limit.

Speed Limit

Adjust All the Mirrors When You Start the Car

You need to check your mirrors before you start driving. Whether you share your car with others or not, it's always a good idea to readjust before a drive. Get your seat into the right place, look in all of the mirrors and make sure you are in good shape to see everything you need to see on the road--and don't forget about your blind spot!

Make Sure that Everyone is Using a Seatbelt

This new driver guide is for teenage drivers and adults driving for the first time. Either way, you need to remember that when you're the driver, you're in charge. Before you get going, look around and remind everyone to buckle up. It's your responsibility now.

New Driver seatbelt
Advice for new drivers: buckle up

Always Have a Safety Kit Within Reach

Having a safety kit nearby can save you in the case of an emergency. Check out our recommendation, along with other road trip essentials here. You never know when you might get in an accident, so it is important to have an extra tire, flashlight and medical supplies just in case!

Hold the Steering Wheel in a “9 & 3 O’clock” Position

In the past, the recommendation was always to hold your hand at 10 and 2 but in recent years the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends holding your hand in the 9 and 3 position. This is to keep your hands out of the way in case the airbags need to deploy!

Never Drive While Tired

We couldn't create a new driver guide without emphasizing the importance of focused driving. If you are too tired to drive, stay home and wait to go until later. You need to be alert while driving, so make sure you are awake for your morning commute.

Drive Only When You’re Sober

The NHTSA reports that every day 32 people in the US die due to drunk driving. This is 100% preventable and no joke. New drivers need to be aware that you can never get behind the wheel when you've been drinking. It's also your job to tell someone else who has been drinking that they can't get behind the wheel. Keep the roads safe!

Ignore Your Cell Phone While Driving

This is a big one for new drivers. Today, we are all always on our phones. When you get behind the wheel, you need to be focused on the road. Put your phone in your bag or in the back of the car. Whatever you need to do to make sure you are focused on the road and not on your phone.

Don’t Play with the Multimedia Screen

As cars become more tech savvy, there can be more distractions. This is another interaction to avoid as you drive. Whether it's your Spotify app or google maps, try to avoid distraction while driving. It can be tempting, but make sure to focus on the road!

Concentrate on the Road, Not the Map

Waze, google maps and other apps have come in handy for drivers heading to new places but even this tech upgrade can be distracting. If you still drive with a map (shout out to our older new drivers) make sure you have someone feeding you directions and you aren't distracted by your map or your app!

Make Sure that the Music Isn’t Turned on Too Loud

We often believe as humans that we can multitask, but research suggests otherwise. Even though music can be a nice addition to a road trip, make sure you aren't too distracted by keeping the volume at a reasonable level. This can also lead you to miss honking or sirens.

Practice Your Parking Skills

This is a tricky one, so we wanted to provide some parking tips for new drivers. First of all, don't panic! Make sure you have practiced and are relaxed when it comes to reverse parking or parallel parking. Another recommendation is make sure you aren't parking next to someone who is currently in their car, this can make new drivers very nervous. It's also important to remember that you must understand parking signs. Don't get a ticket because you didn't realize you were in a no parking zone!

Last but not least, install a dash cam

As a new driver, you can easily be blamed if you get in an accident. It's important to be extra cautious and safe on the roads so we always recommend new drivers install a dashboard camera. The right cam will automatically start recording when you get in the car and capture your full drive. Nexar dash cams come equipped with smart features like impact detection and clip generation, parking mode, unlimited cloud storage and so much more. With over 10,000 five star reviews, you'll know you're getting the very best. As a new driver, Nexar dash cams will help you drive protected. Shop all Nexar dash cams here.

Final Thoughts

Thanks for stopping by! We hope you learned a thing or two about safe driving habits. Overall, we recommend that you pay a lot of attention to the road, practice practice practice and install a Nexar dash cam. For new drivers we generally recommend Nexar Beam, our most compact smart dash cam. However if you are interested in cabin view as well as a road view camera, check out Nexar Pro. Whatever you choose, make sure you drive safe!