Concerns of New Drivers
What are your fears or anxieties?
The vast majority of students we work with for in-car instruction, whether it be with Behind the Wheel or Private Lessons, fear most interstate highway driving. This continues to amaze us from a numbers standpoint since the overwhelming majority of vehicle crashes in Virginia occur on non-interstate roads. In fact, last year, more than 80% of crashes occurred off of Virginia’s interstate routes.
When we ask why, the answers typically revolve around the rate of speed, other motorist’s behaviors and larger vehicles (tractor-trailers). Armed with this information, we provide tips, insights and experience to these new drivers on how to mitigate risks, stay alert, maintain safe following distances, the importance of using turn signals and much more to help build their confidence. Timing here is key, as most know our region is prone to horrendous traffic jams and delays. Finding that window where one can travel at the posted speed limit for an extended period of time is a challenge we face daily, but is a crucial part that must be done. This is why for parents of new drivers, practicing driving on I-95 with your teen while they hold their Learner’s Permit undoubtedly has a major impact on improving their overall driving skills.
Diving into the concerns of new drivers, we explain that there’s really not a lot one can do to control another’s actions and behaviors. We’ve all seen it (and hopefully haven’t done so ourselves!) where one tailgates another, abruptly changes lanes, slams the brakes for no apparent reason, changes lanes without signaling and on and on the list goes. Our advice is to stick to the basics, such as keeping a safe following distance, avoid distracting behaviors, such as texting, eating or drinking, being aware of your surroundings and maintaining a safe speed in line with the posted limit.
Why experience matters
While many of our Behind the Wheel students have some experience driving in I-95, we’ve found this to be far less than their experience traveling on neighborhood streets or connecting routes. This comparatively shorter amount of time driving no doubt plays a major role in their fear factor.
For most of our Private Lesson students, however, most have never travelled on an interstate highway and therefore have no experience at all, which drives the anxiety and fear levels up tremendously. We observe this constantly as we watch the new driver repeatedly wiping their sweaty palms on their pants as they merge or travel.
Get a good start
Are you a current Learner’s Permit holder preparing for Behind the Wheel, or parent of one? Our Private Lessons may be of great value to you in building experience and confidence when it comes to driving in different conditions, on different roadways. Let’s face it. These days everyone is tight on time, with busy schedules and places to be. Leave it to the experts to help with this training, which will pay off big time in the long run.
In the end, we do everything we can to help new drivers of all ages overcome their fears and anxiousness, helping to prepare them for the road ahead.