As Singapore moves into the “new normal” after the COVID-19 lockdown, more and more people are returning to the office for work. If you have taken a break from driving and are nervous about getting back behind the wheel, we completely understand.
But fret not, as we have compiled a list of tips to help you get reacquainted with the road and have you cruising around effortlessly in no time.
Take a refresher course
If you have taken a break of more than a year, a refresher course might be a good idea. After all, new roads may have popped up or changed since the last time you drove, and new rules and regulations may have been added to the book!
Most driving centres offer refresher tests as long as you are eligible. One added bonus of attending refresher courses is that there are no tests involved, so you won’t feel as stressed as when you learnt to drive for the first time.
Whether or not you decide to take an official refresher course at your nearest driving center, or just brush up on driving basics online, make sure that you reacquaint yourself with all the rules and regulations on the road, as well as driving theory.
Check your car’s roadworthiness
Just as you need to make sure that you are in the best condition to get back in the driver’s seat, so does your car need to be checked for its fitness to return to the road.
When undriven for long periods of time, a car may develop problems such as accumulation of rust, cracked tires, and even the battery losing its charge.
Do a quick car maintenance check and basic car maintenance routine to make sure that all parts are in working order. If you are unsure of whether your car is ready to hit the road, do not hesitate to contact your car workshop for a servicing just to be safe.
Practice with loved ones
Once you are sure that your car is roadworthy, it is time to get into the driver’s seat and practice. You may still be familiar with driving in theory, but the real thing may be a totally different case.
Practice driving in a quiet and familiar area with a friend or family member in the passenger’s seat so they can point out any mistakes or remind you if you forget anything.
Practicing consistently will help you get back into the groove of driving regularly. Start by making short, regular trips, then increase the duration and difficulty of your routes over time as you get more familiar and comfortable with driving.
Aim to practice for at least 15-30 minutes a day in areas that you are comfortable with. The aim is to build back your muscle memory. Do not force yourself to handle routes that you are not ready to drive on yet, like a busy intersection or highway.
Put your skills to the test
After you have practiced enough with loved ones, you are ready to practice by yourself and in a more fast-paced setting.
Start practicing driving at different times of the day and with different road conditions. As for parking, this is when you should start tackling more complex parking such as parallel parking.
Take it easy
When you are finally ready to start driving regularly again after your break, remember to take things slow and steady.
That means avoiding rushing into driving on busy highways or on particularly confusing routes before you are comfortable. As always, adhere very strictly to traffic rules and regulations to keep you and your passengers safe.
Other than the physical risks of returning to the road, you should consider the financial risks as well. If you are still nervous about your driving ability, getting insurance may give you some peace of mind should you end up in a vehicular accident.
Of course, you should still take every precaution to avoid this scenario, but we understand that these things are sometimes uncontrollable.
(Related story: The Ultimate Insurance Guide)
Preparing to return to the road may be costly and time-consuming, but the risk of unsafe or unprepared driving is far more costly.
You should only return to the roads when you and your car are in the most roadworthy condition, and you are confident in your ability to drive safely no matter what the situation.