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The Most Common Driving Mistakes

Driving can be an extremely intimidating thing to learn, but once you get the hang of it, it can become second nature. Many of us transition from nervous teens who refuse to hold the steering wheel any other way than with our hand at 10 and two. But we quickly become adults who make it home after a long day of work and don’t actually recall driving at all, however, driving still needs to be taken as seriously as possible. You are, after all, driving a large and dangerous machine.

At Pacific Driver Education in Gresham, we want to help you become the best driver possible. By teaching each and every one of our students to be a safe and thoughtful driver, we can help make the roads a safer place and hopefully help reduce accidents! In this blog, we are going to talk about some of the most common driving mistakes. By drawing attention to common driving errors, you will be able to pay attention to them and hopefully avoid them! Read on to learn more and be sure to sign up for our online driver education course!

Not Using Signals

The turn signals on your vehicle are there for a reason. They indicate to other drivers what your next move is, whether you are planning on turning, merging in front of someone, or pulling to the side of the road. Turn signals are extremely useful in keeping everyone safe and avoiding accidents. Many drivers, however, fail to use their turn signal.

If you fail to use your signals, the person behind you may not realize you are about to slow down to take a turn or merge in front of them. Many accidents can be avoided if everyone started using their turn signals more often. So, when you finally get behind the wheel, be sure that you use your turn signals no matter what, even if no one is behind you.

Not Switching Lanes Safely

Switching lanes is a common occurrence while driving, and while there is nothing wrong with switching lanes, you need to be sure that you are doing it safely. When some drivers decide to change lanes, they simply change lanes — they don’t signal, they don’t check their mirrors, they don’t check their blind spot, and they don’t wait until there is a gap that is big enough to allow them to merge without cutting someone off.

Switching lanes recklessly can cause accidents. It’s as simple as that. Someone may be riding in your blind spot, the car behind you may be coming up faster than you may think, or you may try to squeeze into a gap that is dangerously small. When you change lanes, be sure to make yourself aware of everyone around you and signal so that the people behind you know what your plans are.

Relying On Mirrors Too Much

While checking your mirrors while driving is important and can help you remain aware of who is around you, relying on them too much can put you in a bad situation. While mirrors give you a good idea of the cars next to you and behind you, they do not give you the whole story.

If someone is driving in your blind spot and you simply check your mirrors and start merging, you may hit them. If you are backing out of a spot and only using your review mirror, you may not see the pedestrian that is about to walk out from behind the car next to you. While your mirrors are handy, it is important to actually turn your head to look at your surroundings as well.

Driving In Blind Spots

While you want to make sure other drivers are not riding in your blind spot before merging or turning, it is also important that you do not ride in other people’s blind spots. It is a very common mistake that is easy to do if you are not paying attention. When you ride in someone’s blind spot, and they are one of those people who rely too much on their mirrors, they may not see you when they merge, which could lead them to hit you.

Just because you think another driver should be aware of you next to them, that is not always the case. If you find yourself in someone’s blind spot, either slow down a bit so that they can see you in their mirrors or speed up so they can see you through their window. Many cars nowadays have blind spot indicators on their mirrors, which light up when someone is next to them. While these are very helpful, they are also not something you should blindly rely on.

Following Too Closely

Along with riding in someone’s blind spot, you should also avoid following someone too closely. Also known as tailgating, driving too closely behind another car will not only anger the person in front of you, but it can also lead to an accident! Fender benders often occur because someone is driving too closely to the car in front of them.

You want to have enough time to react to another driver’s moves, whether they are turning, merging, or need to slam on their brakes for any reason. When you give yourself enough space between you and the car in front of you, you can reduce the risk of accidents and give yourself enough time to respond. A good way to tell if you are giving them enough space is to pick a fixed point on the road. Once they pass it, start counting to three, if you pass the same point before you reach three, you need to back off and give them more space.

Driving While Distracted

Driving while distracted is one of the most common driving mistakes that most drivers make nowadays. With radios, cell phones, fast food, and people easily accessible and always in the car with us, it is easy to get distracted while driving. Whether you are texting, changing the music, or trying to dip your fries in your frosty, these distractions can be very dangerous.

While it can be hard to avoid distractions while driving, since something as simple as talking can distract you from the road, it is best to do whatever you can to minimize distractions. Don’t use your phone while driving, choose your playlist before taking off, and eat in the parking lot so that you can focus on the road. Minimizing distraction can drastically reduce your chances of getting in an accident.


Another common driving mistake is speeding. Speed limits are there for a reason, they are meant to keep you and all other drivers on the road safe. Speeding can disrupt the flow of traffic and create more chances of accidents. When you exceed the speed limit, you will also have less control over your vehicle.

While many people generally go a few miles per hour faster than the speed limit, you will be a much safer driver if you follow those speed limits. Plus, driving the speed limit will help you avoid speeding tickets!

Not Using Your Lights Correctly

Many people do not use their lights correctly, which can be dangerous. Some people fail to turn their headlights on when it starts getting dark or in poor weather conditions. Your lights not only help you see better but they also make you more visible to other drivers. Whether you are driving at dusk or through rain or snow, turn your headlights on. It’ll keep you and other drivers safe!

Another car light mistake that is commonly made is not using high beams properly. While high beams, also referred to as brights, can be handy when driving on an empty road with no street lamps, they can be dangerous when there are other cars on the road. High beams can create a glare for drivers in front of you and blind people in the other lane coming at you, which can lead to dangerous situations. Be sure to never use your high beams unless you are the only car on a dark road.

These are a few of the most common driving mistakes that should be avoided as much as possible. These mistakes may seem small, but they can lead to dangerous scenarios and may cause accidents. If you want to be the safest driver possible (which you should), avoiding these mistakes is a good start.

Learn more safe driving tips and rules of the road in our online driver education course! At Pacific Driver Education in Gresham, we offer a variety of driver education courses that can help you become a safe and efficient driver. Contact us today to learn more!

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