One of the largest problems with driving is that we are unable to predict the actions of others sharing the roads. No matter how good of a driver you are, there’s no guarantee that you won’t be involved in an accident at some point. Because of this, it’s essential to drive defensively. Driving defensively can help you identify threats on the road in order to respond in a way that ensures your safety.
What is defensive driving?
Defensive driving is a way of driving that makes use of various techniques and tactics to help you stay safe and keep away from problems caused by other road users. Safety is the key element in defensive driving, as you are likely to react to hazards that can protect you from accidents and injuries. By adopting a few simple defensive driving habits, you can enjoy safer drives.
Defensive driving techniques
Driving whilst distracted is a leading cause of car accidents across the U.S. Your attention needs to be on the road at all times when behind the wheel. Losing focus on what’s happening around you increases your chances of being involved in a car accident. Before driving away, put your phone out of reach, set the radio on a station and leave it, finish any food or drink, and ensure passengers are entertained. All of these actions can help prevent distractions – and, therefore, keep you safer.
Keep a safe distance from other motorists
Ensure there is adequate space between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. Ideally, this should be three seconds in normal driving conditions. When it’s raining, the road is wet or covered with leaves, there is fog, or the driving conditions are poor, it is advisable to leave extra space so that you have plenty of time to stop if needed.
Check your blink spot
Even if you have a vehicle with the latest tech that lets you know someone is in your blind spot, it’s good practice to check for yourself before merging and moving. Sometimes, technology fails to recognize a pedestrian or motorcyclist. It takes a fraction of a second to check, and it could be the difference between a safe journey and a disastrous one.
If in doubt, yield
Some impatient drivers may not be as willing to wait for other road users. Even if you have the right of way or another vehicle is intent on driving off first even though you were the first one to approach the stop sign, do not get angry or move into their space. If you are in doubt of which vehicle’s turn it is, yield until safe to move.
Be aware of everything that is happening in front of you. Are you near a car weaving through lanes at a high speed? Is the driver in front of you on their phone? Is the car behind you too close? Becoming more aware can help you to spot hazards and respond to them before the worst happens.
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