Driving defensively is necessary in order to stay safe on the road. The term defensive driving means that as a driver of a vehicle, you should be aware of others on the road at all times and be prepared to take corrective action in order to avoid any kind of accident. Many people who travel often worry about potential crime while away from home, but car accidents due to dangerous or inadequate driving account for more injuries and deaths each year. Aggressive and careless drivers are the cause of many dangerous accidents worldwide. One of the keys to defensive driving is being aware of the other drivers on the road. But another part of this is keeping your own safe driving habits and constantly being aware of your driving style. By practicing safe driving, people can lessen their risk and stay safe whether they are driving near or far from home.
As a defensive driver, there are several different things you can do to remain safe and aware as you’re driving. Putting these things into practice every time you get behind the wheel is the best way to ensure that you will avoid a problem while driving. Follow a few simple tips to make sure you’re diving properly:
- As you drive, always look in front and behind you, keeping your eyes moving so you know what is going on around you on all sides of the vehicle.
- Never tailgate; keep a safe distance between yourself and the car in front of you. This way, if you have to brake suddenly, you have enough room to avoid a collision. This is known as the 2 second rule because you should allow at minimum 2 seconds in order to brake properly.
- In inclement weather, be sure to use your headlights and wipers to maintain good vision.
- Never go too far above the speed limit, and keep an average driving speed while driving on the highways.
- Try to avoid distractions while driving, and never text and drive. In case of an emergency where you need to use your phone, pull over to the side of the road before using it.
- Never drive while too tired; sleepy drivers are a common cause of accidents.
- If someone near you is driving erratically, stay a safe distance away from them.
- At intersections, be aware of other cars around you and make sure that you yield.
- Wear your seat belt and make sure all other passengers are wearing theirs as well.
- Keep music or the radio in your car to a minimal level so you can hear the sounds of other vehicles or sirens while you are driving.
- Always obey safety and highway signs, and be aware of drivers pulled over on the side of the road or road construction.
- Use blind spot mirrors to help you easily see drivers in the lane next to you.
- Make sure your headlights, tail lights, windshield wipers, tires, and brakes are all up to standard and working properly.
- Be sure to always come to a complete stop at stop signs and look for other drivers coming the opposite way.
- Use common sense when driving; stay calm and try not to get too upset if other drivers are doing something you do not like.
The best way to be a defensive driver is to follow the rules of the road, use your common sense, and be aware of others around you. Try to avoid any kind of distractions including children, pets, loud music, and cell phones. Always be aware of and watch for other drivers, and pay close attention to how they are driving. Think ahead of scenarios that could happen while on the road so you can avoid a potential problem. Stay focused and alert so you do not become a statistic. If you can do this every time you get behind the wheel, you greatly reduce your chances of getting into an accident. If you need to, you can take a defensive driving course, often offered by various localities or private schools that can provide classes. In some states, your car insurance rates can be reduced if you prove that you’ve taken a defensive driving class. By following a few simple rules, you can be sure that your driving will improve and you and your passengers will stay safe.
For more information about defensive driving, please refer to the following websites:
- Defensive Driving Techniques for all Drivers
- Safe Driving Tips
- Teen Drivers and Motor Vehicle Safety
- Driver Inattention Training Tips
- Traffic Safety Tips
- More on Defensive Driving
- Tips for Safe Driving