Building Your Confidence As A New Driver: Don't Make It A Crash Course

Education & Development Articles

Although learning to drive is an exciting and liberating right of passage for most every teenager in America, automobile accidents are also their leading cause of death, making the actual learning process the real priority. Rather than looking at driving lessons as just an extension of another classroom where you need to satisfy a few requirements and quickly move on, realize the importance of what you're about to learn and how it may save your life and the lives of others.

The habits learned in this environment will pave the way for your future on the road.

1. Prepare Yourself For The Lesson

You want to study your printed materials obsessively so that you can demonstrate your knowledge of road rules in action, but you also need to make sure your mind and body are prepared for the ride, too. Get plenty of sleep, eat a practical meal if needed, and wear comfortable shoes that allow you full control and feeling over the pedals; your attire should be close-fitting, but not tight, and you should have nothing on your mind other than the task at hand.

2. Address Your Anxiety

While it's perfectly normal to feel a little anxious before your first driving lesson begins, you don't want to be overcome by nerves when you get behind the wheel. Learn how to focus, how to breathe, and how to put your apprehensions aside. Give yourself plenty of time before starting the vehicle so you feel more confident about moving the car forward.

3. Make Yourself Comfortable

Not only do you need the interior of the vehicle adjusted to your specs, but you also need to show your instructor that you'll prepare adequately before ever starting a car up. Adjust the seat so your feet easily reach the pedals and check all mirrors, making sure you can see properly. Look around in every direction and place your hands on all the controls, making a mental note or where everything is. You might even do a dry-run of starting the vehicle, where you don't actually turn the key, but mimic all the movements of doing so.

4. Buckle Up!

Be careful not to be so wrapped up in reciting road rules and impressing your instructor that you neglect to buckle your seat belt. Although it's not uncommon for new and nervous students to forget this important step, doing so may set you up for feeling less confident, because it's such an obvious part of the process. If you do forget, don't fret, at least for the time being. Set yourself up for success by focusing on everything before you, not what's already happened.

5. Talk Out Loud

Hearing the words will reinforce when you're doing things correctly and let your instructor know what you're thinking if you do something you're not suppose to. For example, "Check mirrors, turn signal on, and shift." keeps you following a logical order of steps and allows the instructor to add any information needed for you to successfully complete a task. If you've studied your printed material extensively, all the words you read should come back to you as you need them, so speak them as they come to mind and stay in step.

6. Ask Questions

Although you may want to impress the instructor by knowing all the facts and appropriate responses to driving conditions, asking questions, even just to verify that you know the right answers, will build your confidence gradually and keep you in good standing with the lessons. Don't be afraid to say, for example, "This is what I should be doing, right?" Speak as if you're looking for affirmation of what you're already aware of and give yourself a silent vote of confidence for knowing what to do.

7. Take As Many Lessons As Needed

Different states demand a different number of hours of training, but above and beyond that, make sure you feel like you really know what you're doing before moving on. Even if you pass every aspect of driver's ed, you need a solid foundation of knowledge, experience, and belief in yourself, the latter of which only you really know. Avoid rushing through, simply to get to the next level or to impress anyone.

As cool as it may be to start driving and as much as you may want that little piece of plastic which tells the world you're a real driver, make sure you go about the process in the safest, smartest manner. Ask plenty of questions; adopt a coach, such as an older sibling, parent or neighbor, who can help you learn the ropes and keep you safe; and never forego safety for anything, including peer pressure, being in a hurry, or not wanting to look like you don't know what you're doing, as the consequences of doing so may be irreversible.


7 March 2017

Honing Your Own Education

When it comes to my own career, I have always loved getting out in front of people and doing what I can to lead. Unfortunately, I realized fairly early on in my career that I was going to need additional education in order to make that happen. I started focusing carefully on what to do to learn everything that I could and before I knew it, I was able to really solidify my education. I went back to school, took some business classes, and started working with instructors to further my career. This blog is all about improving your own education.