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Regular driving situations may seem like a piece of cake, but there is a lot more to driving than knowing where the gas and brake pedals are. You must constantly be aware of your surroundings - the cars around you, your speed, fluid levels, signs, and more. Here are a few tips that will help you as you first get behind the wheel that ring true every time that you are behind the wheel. This is by no means a complete list. Please read the Driver's Manual for a more detailed review of safe driving practices that apply to both regular and special driving situations.

When you get into the car and turn it on, before taking the car out of park you should

  • Always make sure that the mirrors are adjusted appropriately.
  • Fasten your seat belt.
  • Be aware of where all the operating controls are (windshield wipers, lights, high beams, etc.).
  • Check that your seat is positioned correctly.

Immediately after taking your car out of park, be sure to:

  • Use appropriate turn signals.
  • Look in both mirrors and over your shoulder before pulling out or backing out.
  • Use two hands on opposite sides of the steering wheel for maximum control.


  • Be aware of the traffic around you (oncoming and behind).
  • Stop behind the crosswalk or limit line.
  • Stop the vehicle gently. Start braking well ahead of where you are stopping to avoid unnecessary jarring of the vehicle (and your neck!).
  • If your view is obstructed, move forward with caution and always look both ways at an intersection.


  • Turns are meant to be taken at low speeds.
  • When you start a turn, make sure you are lined up to end the turn in the appropriate lane. Taking wide turns is dangerous.
  • Yield to the vehicle with the right of way when necessary.

Backing out:

  • You should avoid having to back out of spots as often as possible, but when necessary, be sure to check mirrors and look both ways over your shoulder.

Changing lanes:

  • Use appropriate signals.
  • Check your mirrors and check over your shoulder to view blind spot.
  • Maintain your speed.

Avoid Distractions:

  • Do not talk or text on your cell phone or other mobile device while driving.
  • Do not eat or drink while driving.
  • Use caution when changing music or other controls.
  • Pull over safely to the side of the road if you need to make a phone call or check a map.

Other Driving Techniques:

  • Always check intersecting streets before passing through.
  • Maintain a safe following distance, the faster you are going, the more distance you should leave.
  • Drive defensively by anticipating other drivers' errors.
  • Always be on the look out for potential hazards by checking your mirrors often and looking not only at the cars directly ahead of you, but the cars that are ahead of them.

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