As the old saying goes, everyone has to start somewhere and that certainly is true for driving a car as much as for anything else. While there are plenty of commercial driving schools where you can go to learn to drive a car, most of us learned the old fashion way, driving our Dad’s car in some local parking lot. But whether you drive something grand such as an AMG Mercedes or just an old beater that is on its last legs, learning to drive is still a right of passage for just about anyone in this country.

And while it is true that your parents or an older sister or brother may be more than willing to spend some time teaching you, knowing the basics before you start can never hurt. So, for anyone who is just starting out on the road to freedom with a new or slightly used set of wheels, here are a few tips every new driver needs to own.

Blind Spots

You will soon learn that all cars have what is called a blind spot. This is an area that all the mirrors do not cover and you need to check manually before making any changes while driving. This includes changing lanes, getting ready to park and getting ready to leave a parking space.

Truth is, you should be checking those blinds spots over your left and right shoulder every so often, just to be sure you know where every car is in your driving zone. You can never check them too often, so do it as you drive and create a habit of checking them often.

Learn Your Way Around the Car

When we say around the car, we mean get out of the driver’s seat and walk around it. Pay attention to how everything works, if the turn signals are working correctly and how the mirrors are set up. You should really do this every time you are about to get into your car. A once around to check that the tires are well inflated, that all the doors are closed properly and everything else is working right is a good idea.

In addition, before you drive be sure you are familiar with where the hazard lights are, how to turn on and off the lights, the windshield wipers and the inside light. You don’t want to wait until you need these to start looking for the knob or button that turns them on or you may never find them in time.

Understand Freeway Driving and Street Driving

It is important to know that driving on a freeway is very different from driving around on city streets. Little things like learning that on four lane streets in town the left lane can suddenly become a left turn lane or that the right-hand lane on the freeway is for merging on and off the freeway.

It is just as dangerous to drive slower than the traffic as it is to drive faster than the flow of traffic, so pay attention to the cars around you. Try to drive with the flow of the traffic. If you do, you will find you will have an easier time of it regardless of whether you are driving in town on a city street or out of town on a freeway. Relax, and enjoy the drive.