After you’ve been driving for a while, manoeuvring the roads and using your car’s controls becomes second nature. Being nervous and cautious about driving on public roads becomes a distant memory after you earn your license.
However, sometimes circumstances mean that you don’t drive for prolonged periods of time. A prime example is emerging from Covid-19 lockdown, but it could also be because another family member drives instead of you, a sickness that results in you being housebound, changes in a work situation, or using public transport.
Whatever the case may be, there are some things to look out for when you are returning to driving. Even though you may still hold your driver’s license, a lack of regular driving could result in harm to yourself and others on the road. To prevent dangerous situations, there are a few steps you can take.
1. Stay up to date with driving rules
Over time, road rules change and new theories can be introduced. Things are always changing and evolving on the roads, so staying up to date with road signs, speed limit and rules is a good way to minimise risk. There are many resources available to brush up your theoretical knowledge, such as the online road code quiz. After you have mastered the rules, in theory, you will feel much more confident and assured when you return to driving.
2. Ensure your car is still roadworthy
Before you get out on the road and amongst the traffic, test your tyre pressure and adjust it if needed. Often a car that hasn’t been used may also have rusty brakes from corrosion. Since this is not easily seen externally, drive carefully for the first few kilometres and make sure to test out your brakes early in your drive, while you’re at lower speeds.
3. Brush up your Practical skills
If you haven’t driven for a while, chances are you may feel unsure of yourself and nervous about the different sequences and operations of your car. One way to eliminate your nerves is to find an unused parking area, or quiet residential suburb, to drive around and ease yourself back into the swing of things.
Even if you feel confident, it’s a good idea to take some time to remind yourself what it feels like to drive a car; in no time you’ll be on your way. You’ll find your muscle memory come back quickly; it will likely kick in for actions such as remembering to activate turn signals, shifting gears and looking at your mirrors.
Using these tips, you’ll be safely back on the road in no time. If you don’t remember how to drive, or if you are still anxious, consider booking a driving lesson with a family member or instructor. The important thing is to take your time and don’t put yourself under pressure.