10 driving habits that set apart car experts from beginners

Practice and experience are very impactful and we often find differences between a job done by an amateur and a professional. Driving is the same. Over the years of driving, experts pick up small things that set them apart from amateurs and beginners. What are these skills? Well, here is a full list.

Avoiding riding the clutch

10 driving habits that set apart car experts from beginners

Most budget Indian cars do not offer a dead pedal. The most common practice that beginners do is to rest their left foot on the clutch pedal. While it may not look like much but keeping constant pressure on the clutch pedal will engage the clutch and fasten its wear and tear. It also reduces the life of the transmission. If there is no dead pedal in the car, use the floor to rest your foot.

Using low-beam headlamps

10 driving habits that set apart car experts from beginners

High beams can be very dangerous on roads. The use of high beams can be blinding for motorists on the opposite sides, especially if the headlamps are LEDs. Always using the high beam can blind the driver coming from the opposite side and cause accidents. Experienced drivers know how difficult it is to drive with high beams flashing in their eyes. To make the roads a safe place, always drive on low beams.

Using brakes judiciously

10 driving habits that set apart car experts from beginners

Slamming the brakes reduces the life of the brake pads significantly. Expert drivers can predict when they have to slow down by looking at the situation ahead and using the road space to slow down well in advance. Slowing down using engine braking and physical brakes will increase the life of brakes significantly.

Using rear-view mirrors

10 driving habits that set apart car experts from beginners

An expert driver knows that looking ahead is as important as looking behind. It is always safe to know about the surroundings and the position of other vehicles on the road. One should always develop a habit of checking all three mirrors every few seconds and that will ensure that they do not get caught in a tricky situation leading to accidents.

Not using gear knob as armrest

10 driving habits that set apart car experts from beginners

The gear lever is not an armrest but many people do not know that. Most people keep their left hand on the gear lever as they drive around. Resting the hand on the lever of a manual transmission will cause the ball bearings in the transmission to wear pretty quickly. Repairing a transmission unit is pretty expensive.

Properly warm up and cool down the engine

10 driving habits that set apart car experts from beginners

Modern engines do not need to idle for minutes to warm up. Simply start the car, strap the seat belt, wait for a minute and you’re good to go. However, it is always advisable to keep the engine speed below 2,000 rpm when you cold start. Let the engine heat up, let the engine oil become thinner as the engine heats up. It allows the oil to reach every corner of the engine to protect it better.

And if you own a car with a turbocharger, it is also important to disperse all the exhaust gases from the turbocharger. How do you do that? Simply, drive the last mile to your destination without revving too high. It will cool down the turbocharger quickly and also disperse the gases.

Not free-revving the engine

Getting bored at the red light so you start pushing the accelerator every now and then? Well, that is too bad for your engine. Free revving the engine will simply reduce the life. It makes the engine unnecessarily hotter and wears it down!

Keep lane free

10 driving habits that set apart car experts from beginners

The rightmost lane is the favourite of beginners and they really love to stick to it while driving much slower than the traffic around. Sadly it is lane-hogging and it is annoying for other motorists. Lane hogging is illegal in many developed countries. It simply causes a bottleneck and slows down the traffic. The rightmost lane is for overtaking purposes only and once you do that, return to the middle lane and drive at your comfortable speed.

Know the car you’re driving

If you see a light coming on the dashboard and are putting a query on your timeline to ask your friends about it, you should learn more about the vehicle you’re driving. Always the car manual page-by-page and know everything about the car. Know where is the oil pan is located and the location of other essential parts under the car. This will help you avoid any damage to the underbody.

Shantonil Nag

Shantonil brings a refined blend of expertise and enthusiasm to motoring journalism at With a career spanning over 11 years, he anchors Cartoq's insightful car reviews and test drives. His journalistic journey began as a correspondent at, where he honed his skills in content writing and scripting car reviews. Later, as Senior Editor for, his expanded role included curating and structuring web content. At, his expanded role includes assisting the video team to create high-quality car reviews. (Full bio)