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Learning To Drive In The City Of Sydney? 8 Things You Need To Know

learning to drive

Are you new to driving? Got a new car? If you're finally of age or are just starting your driving journey, congratulations—you’re taking huge steps in becoming more mobile.

And, truth be told, driving is fun when you're cruising along wide open roads free from congestion and traffic hazards.

However, if you're starting your driving journey in the most populous city in all of Australia, it'll require some extra finesse on your part to navigate these roads smoothly.

That said, city driving isn't always a dreadful, soul-sucking experience.

In fact, for the learned driver, it can be a boon—as cities often have better road infrastructure, roadposts, and signposts that can help you drive more safely.

If it's your first time mobilising yourself on Sydney's roads, best pay attention—here are some tips to help you become a better driver in Sydney.

Enroll in a proper driving school

One of the first things you have to do before setting out to drive is get a driver's license.

And, understandably, getting one isn't a walk in the park. It'll require you to study, learn, and familiarise yourself with various road signs and driving techniques to help you become a better driver.

Thankfully, you don't have to do this task alone. Sydney is rife with many quality driving schools and driving instructors who can help you obtain the skills necessary to become a good driver.

Besides theoretical knowledge, driving schools like the ones you can find here will expose you to real-world driving experience in a safe and quality manner.

They'll also give you specific tips on how to hone your driving style and become safer on the road—making them invaluable for those first setting out on their driving journey.

Keep your eyes on the road, always

Your sight is the most important sense when out on the road, and even just a moment of lapsed focus can have disastrous consequences.

As such, always ensure that you have your eyes on the road at all times. There's nothing urgent enough to compel you to look away from the road for more than a few seconds.

Whatever matter you want to attend to while driving, like a text message, it can always wait until you're stationary.

You could be risking an accident or vehicle damage by leaving just a second unaccounted for, which can mean thousands of dollars down the drain or saying good-bye to your brand-new car.

Furthermore, if you have a problem affecting your sight, such as a recent eye surgery, it's best to hold off on driving until you get your senses intact or until the problem is addressed.

Stay in your lane

It’s important to keep in mind that you’re not the only driver on the road. You are sharing the road with thousands of other commuters on any given day, and they all have places to be.

Let’s assume that there’s an accident between two vehicles on the road. This can cause a blockade and can cause drivers behind them to stop and manoeuvre around the wreckage site, taking longer than they otherwise would’ve taken if they were able to drive normally.

In a similar vein, constantly diverting lanes can cause the car behind you to stop, the car behind that car to stop, and so on. This domino effect will spill over and cause a break in momentum for the cars on the road—all just because you switched lanes at the wrong time.

As such, to prevent this traffic chain from occurring in reality, it’s best to stick to your lane whenever possible. Lane discipline is crucial for smooth traffic flow.

If you must change lanes, do so after ensuring it is safe, indicating your intentions with your turn signals, and making the move gradually.

Merge with caution

Sydney has many multi-lane roads and highways that demand good technique for a successful merge. These areas where merging often occurs is also a place where many accidents happen, so it’s best to be patient and focused when doing the maneouver.

Unsure what’s the right way to merge? Before merging, check your side mirror and also your blind spot over the shoulder. This can help you spot any vehicles approaching or moving closer to you.

Before you commit to a merge, ensure that the lane you are merging into is clear of any vehicles for a safe distance. You don’t want to be in the receiving (or giving) end of a rear-end accident, so be sure to time your merge appropriately and not go too fast or too slow.

Also, don’t always believe that a driver is willing to give way. Have a backup plan and your foot on the break in case the driver in the lane you’re about to merge won’t budge. This will help prevent or at least reduce the risk of accidents.

Try to avoid driving in peak hours

Like other major cities, Sydney can be a nightmare to navigate during rush hours, particularly in the mornings when people are heading to work and in the evenings when they're returning home.

If you're new to driving, these moments of the day can be overwhelming due to the sheer volume of cars and the increased aggressiveness and impatience of drivers eager to get to their destinations.

As such, until you're confident in your driving abilities, it's wiser to plan your practice drives outside these hours.

Not only will this reduce your stress and risk of accidents, but it'll also allow you to familiarise yourself with the roads when they're less crowded.

Over time, as you become more skilled and confident, you can slowly acclimatize yourself to drive during other times, including peak hours.

Learn to park

Parking in Sydney, particularly in the Central Business District (CBD), is notorious for being expensive (over $7.60/hour in peak periods) and difficult.

That said, some places allow you to park for free—but you’ll have to look for them or use an app to find them.

Regardless of how you claim your parking spot, you’ll want to ensure one thing first: you need to know how to park in the first place!

Parking is a skill that even licensed drivers can find troublesome. This is because there are many types of parking styles out there, from parallel parking and angle parking to perpendicular parking.

Be sure to tell your instructor about any difficulty you’re facing regarding parking. As it is their job, they’ll be patient enough to teach you the right method and guide you along the way.

For general parking tips, don’t attempt to rush the process. Also, use your mirrors and ensure that the space you’re parking in is an actually designated parking spot. If you see that you’ve parked over a line, correct your mistake until you get it right.

Know the road signs

Whether you're navigating the bustling streets of the CBD or cruising along residential areas farther out, you’re bound to come across road signs along the way.

It’s in your best interest to know these signs. Many of these are common and you likely don’t need any further explaining on what they mean, like Stop, No U-Turn, and No Entry signs.

But how about signs that only depict pictures? Do you know what Dip or Crest means? How should you drive when you encounter those signs?

Your instructor will likely give you a brief overview of these signs—but study them yourself to be even more familiar with them once you encounter them.

Safe travels!

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