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Driving in traffic is more than just knowing how to operate the mechanisms which control the vehicle; it requires knowing how to apply the rules of the road (which govern safe and efficient sharing with other users). An effective driver also has an intuitive understanding of the basics of vehicle handling.
Driving as a physical skill
In terms of the basic physical tasks required, a driver must be able to control direction, acceleration, and deceleration. For motor vehicles, the detailed tasks include: 
- Starting the vehicle's engine with the starting system
- Setting the transmission to the correct gear
- Depressing the pedals with one's feet to accelerate, slow, and stop the vehicle, and if the vehicle is equipped with a manual transmission, to modulate the clutch
- Steering the vehicle's direction with the steering wheel
- Operating other important ancillary devices such as the indicators, headlights, and windshield wipers
Driving as a mental skill
Driver error is an important factor in driving accidents, a primary factor in the deaths of over a million people every year. Avoiding such error involves more than just following the rules of the road literally; defensive driving also involves the cultivation of good habits, maintaining attention and a thoughtful, cooperative attitude.
Avoiding or successfully handling an emergency driving situation can involve the following skills: 
- Making good decisions based on factors such as road and traffic conditions
- Evasive maneuvering
- Proper hand placement and seating position
- Skid control
- Steering and braking techniques
- Understanding vehicle dynamics
Distractions can compromise a driver's mental skills. One study on the subject of mobile phones and driving safety concluded that, after controlling for driving difficulty and time on task, drivers talking on a phone exhibited greater impairment than drivers who were suffering from alcohol intoxication. 
Another survey indicated that music could affect a driver's concentration.
- Aggressive driving
- Defensive driving
- Driver behavior
- Driver education
- Driver's license
- Driving pleasure
- Driving under the influence
- Graduated driver licensing
- Highway Code (official road safety manual for the United Kingdom)
- Mobile phones and driving safety
- Pedestrian accidents
- Road safety
- Road rage
- Safety belts
- Sleep Deprived Driving
- Traffic sign
- ↑ Getting moving. Driving Test Advice.
- ↑ Think driving is all about practical skills?. Easy to Drive.
- ↑ Strayer, David; Drews, Frank; Crouch, Dennis (2003), FATAL DISTRACTION? A COMPARISON OF THE CELL-PHONE DRIVER AND THE DRUNK DRIVER, University of Utah Department of Psychology, http://www.psych.utah.edu/AppliedCognitionLab/DrivingAssessment2003.pdf
- ↑ Hard-Rock and Classic Music Could Lead to Road Accidents, New Survey Says
- Tips For Winter Driving by David Maillie
- Driving research wiki. Simulator Users Group. URL accessed on 2008-01-20.
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