You’ve studied, you’ve taken the driving test, and now you’re officially licensed to drive on the road. Are you thinking about where you should go first? While the feeling of holding that driver’s license can be exciting, it’s important not to let emotions take over. To ensure you’re safe on the road and have a positive experience each time you turn the ignition, the tips for new drivers below are important to keep in mind.

1. Turn the Music Down

Loud music is distracting, so turn the volume down when you’re on the road. This will also help you keep an ear out for important noises, such as ambulances and police cars. Your music should never be so loud that these noises are drowned out.

2. Turn off the Phone

Most new driver’s know by now that using their phone while driving is dangerous as well as illegal in most states. Do yourself, your passengers, and other people on the road a favor by keeping your phone off. However, if you do want to take calls, keep Bluetooth on (if your car has this tech) and keep your phone in the backseat so you’re not tempted to use it.

3. Be Defensive

Be aware of the cars around you and don’t assume that the drivers are going to follow the rules of the road. Drive safely for yourself by keeping a safe distance, following the speed limit, using your blinkers, etc.

4. Limit Passengers

When you start out driving, don’t become a taxi for all of your friends and family. Limit the number of passengers until you get more comfortable on the road. If you must travel with several people, then try to keep the talking and other distractions at a minimum.

5. Follow the Speed Limit

It can be tempting to go faster than the speed limit, especially if you think you’re safe to do so. However, when you’re first starting to drive, speeding can cause you to lose control quickly. Don’t let this become a habit, especially since it can result in a rather large ticket that you struggle to pay off.

6. Don’t Get Angry

No driver is perfect and everyone makes mistakes. If someone else cuts you off or speeds passed you, don’t get angry and try to run them off the road. Instead, acknowledge what they did wrong and move on. It is okay to honk if someone else is doing something potentially dangerous, as to avoid an accident.

7. Stick to the Beaten Path

When you’re first starting out, don’t drive routes you’re not familiar with, including those that are far away. Even with GPS guidance and phone maps, you may end up getting lost or stuck in traffic. Slowly branch out to new areas until you get the feel of the road and how it’s best traveled.

Enjoy the Drive!

Earning your license is a big deal and an experience that should be enjoyed. However, it’s not a privilege to take for granted. Be safe, be smart, and follow the rules of the road to ensure you can continue to drive for years to comeRSD.