How to Practice Good Road Etiquette

Driving is one of the most dangerous activities anyone could ever start doing. Although it is important to recognize this if you drive defensively and treat other drivers with respect, you can enjoy driving and greatly minimize any risks.


  1. Image titled Check Oil Level in Car Step 12
    Try to do a pre-check of all areas of your car before driving but always if you will be driving more than 60 miles (97 km). Here are the following things that should be looked at.
    • Your tires. Make sure they have enough pressure in them and that they are in good quality.
    • How much gas you have. If you only have a little bit try to stop at the nearest gas station to fill up. A 1/4 tank will only last about 15 miles (24 km).
    • The oil in your car. Even if you're sure it has enough always get into the habit of checking it. If it needs more fill it up using a standard oil or a specific one recommended in your owner's manual.
    • Your windshield wipers and fluid. You want to make sure you can always see through your windshield.
    • Your rear view mirrors, steering column, seat location, etc. These are the final checks and help to make you as safe and alert as possible. If you have long legs scoot your seat back so you can comfortably reach the pedals and your legs don't interfere with the steering wheel.
  2. Image titled Pass the Texas Driving Test Step 7
    Understand all the basic rules of driving and if possible always try to have another driver with you to help coach you on what could be done better or have them quiz you. It may sound like I think you have your permit but becoming a great driver is really a lifelong journey. The rules of the road are far too many to describe in detail but here are some of the following.
    • Know the speed limits of different areas and try to stay at or a little bit below them. Never exceed them by much if at all unless you really need to; you'll risk getting a ticket generally they are,
    • 10 mph (16 km/h) in parking lots
    • 20 mph (32 km/h) in school zones
    • 30–50 mph (48–80 km/h) depending on where the road is at for instance by a neighborhood or approaching a highway.
    • 60–75 mph (97–121 km/h) on designated rural or state highways.
  3. Image titled Be Safe at Traffic Lights Step 1
    Obey all traffic lights. A lot of people may see them as a nuisance but they are there to protect your life. On a steady green light you may proceed through the intersection; always making sure to yield to all pedestrians, bicyclists or other cars that may have the right of way. A steady yellow light means a red light for stop is about to appear. If you are at the intersection or a little bit before you may accelerate to make the light. If not always stop at the white line before the crosswalk. When a red light appears stop and wait until the other cross-section of traffic has taken their turn before proceeding.
  4. Image titled Drive in New Zealand Step 5
    Be courteous and respectful to your fellow drivers. They are probably just as nervous as you are but by showing you are relaxed you can help to make a smooth as drive as possible. Here are some general guidelines.
    • Never road rage. Though it might sound like a good solution yelling at another driver or giving the finger will only produce anger between both of you and you could get in big trouble with the law.
    • Only use the horn in an emergency. If someone cut you off or is trying to turn left way after the arrow has gone out please do so. Never use it as a musical instrument or tell someone off.
    • Please never be a reckless driver. This goes far beyond what was just stated and you could lose your license or be arrested. These behaviors include tailgating, ramming another car, threatening other drivers, or intentionally hitting someone.
  5. Image titled Drive in New Zealand Step 10
    Practice and hone more advanced driving techniques. These include merging on a highway, downshifting, driving in severe weather, cruise control, mountain driving, etc. I believe these are never really fully mastered.


  • I only listed a few of the basic driving techniques and theory. For complete information please contact your local DMV office for a driving handbook.
  • The golden rule. Treat all drivers how you would want them to treat you.
  • I feel this must be repeated because it is so vital. Always try to drive with another more experienced driver. They can put you at ease and give you tips and advice to master your driving.
  • When practicing advanced driving techniques leave your cellphone and other distractions behind. These require your full concentration.


  • Please do not drive distracted either. These behaviors include applying makeup, eating, pretending to be on American Idol, etc.
  • At yellow lights there can sometimes be a quick impulsive decision you have to make. This is whether or not to go through the light. If you slam on your brakes you risk a crash but if you go through this is less of a chance; but you may risk getting a ticket. Try to make the best decision possible.
  • Do not drive with low oil. This is one of the worst things you could do with your car. If your car runs out of oil your engine may fail entirely. Very likely your car could not be able to come back after this.
  • Never drive wearing flip-flops. You may mistake one pedal with another or kill the engine by accident at a very bad time. It is far better to drive barefoot.
  • Drive safely and responsibly.
  • Never litter on any public roads. In most states this is highly enforced and you could get a hefty ticket of $1,000 plus points on your license.
  • Do not text and drive or drink and drive. Both have incredibly devastating consequences and people have died from both. You will be arrested and it will forever go on your driving record.

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Categories: Driving Basics