Good drivers are made, not born. Learning how to become a careful, defensive driver takes practice. Our roadways are filled with drivers who are inattentive, do not observe traffic regulations, or are discourteous to other motorists. Every time you get behind the wheel and hit the streets, your safety depends on the moment-to-moment decisions you make. Here are some defensive driving tips that will keep you safe when operating a motor vehicle.
Remain Alert And Focused
It is imperative that you give your undivided attention to driving. You cannot afford to be distracted by passengers who are in the car with you, by what is being said on the radio, or by thoughts that have nothing to do with operating the vehicle. Driving is all about thinking and making decisions. When you are traveling down the road or highway, the landscape is constantly changing. Traffic enters and leaves the roadway. Regulatory and warning signs appear. Debris may be lying in the roadway. Therefore, staying focused on what is happening around you is critical to being a defensive driver.
Assume Mistakes By Other Motorists
The other vehicles in close proximity to your own are not driving themselves. They are under the control of motorists who may, or may not be as focused as yourself. Continuously checking the speed and motion of other cars and trucks in relation to your own vehicle is absolutely necessary. Anticipating what other motorists might do is one of the most important defensive driving skills you can learn. If a car shoots past you in the adjacent lane, what will happen if there is congested traffic just ahead? Most likely, the driver will quickly pull his or her vehicle directly in front of you, meaning you will probably have to brake rather harshly. Any personal injury lawyer’s home page will mention that anticipation is key to staying safe while driving.
Leave Yourself An Out
Driving is not just about keeping your hands on the wheel, and noticing what other motorists are doing. With each passing second, the roadway environment changes. If you should suddenly need to turn or swerve to avoid a collision, in what direction will you point your vehicle? At all times while driving, you need to know exactly what you will do in case of unexpected motion by another vehicle. Thinking ahead is the smartest way of staying safe.
Use Your Mirrors
Your vehicle creates blind spots, and the rear-view and side mirrors can save your life. Always adjust them to a position that affords the most clear, unobstructed view rearwards. Check your mirrors every 2-3 seconds. Even if your vehicle is equipped with a driver alert system, do not rely on it to inform you of impending danger. Check your blind spots where your mirrors are unable to show and make sure you are staying clear of other driver’s blind spots as well.
Take A Defensive Driving Course
These classes are usually relatively inexpensive, and offer all motorists the opportunity to brush up on their defensive driving skills. They can be taken in-person at a classroom site, or completed online for a nominal fee. A defensive driving course certificate will also help to reduce insurance rates.
Above all, practice is the key. It doesn’t help to study defensive driving if you don’t put your skills to use. Every time you operate your vehicle, the chances of your becoming involved in an accident are significantly lower if you focus on your driving and nothing else.