There are very few things young people look forward to more than earning their driver license. It’s like winning a ticket to a whole new type of freedom. But with that freedom comes great responsibility. Driving a vehicle can be fun but it’s also a challenge filled with pitfalls that can be downright dangerous. So, before getting behind the wheel keep these four tips in mind and begin your quest to become an awesome driver.

Familiarize yourself with your car

You can’t wait to fire up your car and hit the road. But before you begin your journey to become a driver, you need to understand the vehicle you are going to operate. You should answer questions like: Where are the lights? How do the windshield wipers operate? Where is the blinker lever? Familiarize yourself with your car completely before driving. Learning on the fly isn’t a safe option.

Stay away from busy areas at the beginning

If you were learning how to hit a baseball you wouldn’t start in the fast-pitch batting cage. You, of course, want to build your confidence by starting slow. The same can be said of driving. Don’t start your driving endeavor on a busy street or even worse, a freeway. Locate an empty parking lot or a safe local street that isn’t packed with traffic. Driving at higher speeds while dealing with other cars will come soon enough.

Say “no” to distractions

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over 1000 people are injured daily in crashes caused by a distracted driver. Most people in our modern era first think of cellphones as the major culprit when it comes to distractions. However, distractions come in many forms including talking to friends, looking at an infotainment system screen or something as simple as letting your mind drift off to a subject other than driving. Your number one priority while driving is focusing on the road, because it truly only takes a split second for an accident to occur. Stay vigilant and alert.

Don’t drive angry

Considering that everyone on the road is trying to get somewhere and many are in a hurry, even if it’s not warranted, driving can be extremely stressful. Unfortunately, stress can lead to irrational behavior. No matter if someone cuts you off, doesn’t use their blinker or is driving foolishly, keep your cool. Becoming angry won’t change the behaviors of other drivers, it just places you and others at risk. Take a deep breath and remain calm.

When you are prepared and you follow the rules of the road, driving can be a rewarding experience. And most of all, enjoy your new freedom and have fun.