What Makes An Excellent Driver

by Tanya May 26, 2023

People, but especially women, don’t usually think of themselves as great drivers, and as such – often underestimate their driving capabilities.

Men (and especially novice men drivers), on the other hand,  tend to overestimate their driving abilities.

Studies across 10 years have found that someone is killed or seriously injured on UK roads every 16 minutes so more of us should be making the effort to make changes where we can. As a result, there have been increases in no-win no fee claims for compensation.

Several qualities contribute to being a great driver. Here are some key characteristics:

1. Great drivers are more experienced

The boring truth about becoming an excellent driver is the more you drive, the better you become.

This means you are probably at your best aged 50 rather than 20.

Like with anything in life, we improve by doing. The long years of experience help us to expect the unexpected and react accordingly.

So practice, practice, practise.

2. Great drivers drive defensively

It’s always better to drive defensively than aggressively.

As a defensive driver, you are always prepared for the unexpected, and hence are more aware of your surroundings. Figures suggest that non-aggressive driving and anticipating the road ahead could see this rise to as much as 30%.

Finally, always be prepared for the unexpected. This means keeping your eyes peeled for any event that can make you break abruptly.

Always keep within the speed limit and never tailgate the car in front of you. This will help you avoid accidents or getting pulled over.

Additionally, don’t forget the blind spots. Make sure to check them frequently, especially before changing lanes.

It’s also important to be aware of the weather and road conditions. If it’s raining or snowing, make sure to adjust your driving accordingly. This means driving slower, leaving bigger space between the car in front of you, and generally being extra cautious.   

3. Great drivers are calm and confident behind the wheel

Great drivers remain patient and calm in challenging situations, such as heavy traffic, road construction, or dealing with aggressive drivers. They avoid aggressive behaviors themselves and respect the rights of other drivers on the road.

Confident drivers tend to feel more comfortable behind the wheel compared to their nervous counterparts. It’s important to make decisions in good time and not panic on the road which can be difficult if you’re experiencing some anxiety.

4. Great drivers drive smoothly

A driver who steers, brakes, changes gears, and accelerates smoothly is a great driver.

Smooth driving also places far less stress on the mechanics of a vehicle, thus avoiding unnecessary and inconvenient breakdowns. It’s important that drivers employ defensive driving when on the road.

5. Great drivers are alert and focused

Being attentive and focused on the road is crucial. Good drivers maintain their concentration, avoid distractions (such as cell phones or excessive conversations), and remain aware of their surroundings at all times.

They are attentive to changes in traffic conditions and are prepared to take appropriate action, such as braking or steering, when needed.

A good driver has quick reflexes and can react promptly to unexpected situations.

6. Great drivers have good spatial awareness and judgment

Good drivers have a strong sense of spatial awareness, allowing them to accurately judge distances, navigate lanes, and maneuver their vehicle safely.

They are skilled at parking, merging, and changing lanes without causing disruptions or collisions.

7. Great drivers are adaptable

Good drivers can adapt their driving style to different road and weather conditions. They adjust their speed, increase following distance, and make other necessary modifications to ensure their safety and the safety of others on the road.

8. Great drivers respect pedestrians and cyclists

Great drivers are considerate of pedestrians and cyclists, yield to them at crosswalks, and give them sufficient space on the road. They are attentive to vulnerable road users and take extra care when sharing the road with them.


Great drivers never think they have reached the pinnacle of driving knowledge. They aren’t arrogant about their skills, because they know that there is always more to learn.

Good drivers understand that learning is an ongoing process. They stay updated on changes in traffic laws, road conditions, and new driving techniques.

They may also take defensive driving courses or other advanced driving programs to enhance their skills.

Want to improve your driving skills further? Read this article.

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