Before going for your P's
ARE YOU REALLY READY?
If you’re thinking of going for your P’s and have fulfilled the necessary licensing requirements, you probably feel confident handling a car in lots of situations. You might be nearly ready for P plate driving. But how do you tell?
People tend to feel ready when they know they've learned a lot and come a long way. But they might not be ready at all. Often there can be an important ingredient missing, but it's very hard to know what you don't know.
One of the most valuable skills a driver can have is accurate self-evaluation.
Overestimating your ability is a classic mistake. We all know the dangers of complacent, overconfident driving: it means a lack of attention and concentration, and it's a regular cause of crashes.
Take the ego out of driving by taking a good, honest look at your driving ability. If you realise it's not that great, don't beat yourself up about it - just keep practising and improve it, for the sake of staying alive, in one piece, and not hurting anybody else.
If you discover that you are a decent driver, look after that ability and leave self-congratulations behind. Over-confidence takes the edge off your alertness and wastes your hard work.
DRIVE ON L’S AS LONG AS POSSIBLE
Most people will want to get their P’s as soon as possible, but is the freedom to drive really more important than your safety and the safety of others? Use your parent/supervisor's experience – you can gain a lot from what they've learnt over the years.
Staying longer on L’s is the simplest and most reliable tactic for safe solo driving. Give yourself time to work on weak spots and difficulties until you have overcome them.
Make a list of the major skills you know you need and practice them until they feel natural and automatic, in varied conditions and situations. This will allow you to become more conscious of your own mental processes while you drive.
For example, watch what state of mind you are in when you are driving really well and try to recreate it on other days. Or notice what happens when you drive in a bad mood. Time spent observing your own mind, in relation to your actions, is extremely productive time. The better you get at it, the better your solo driving will be.