What is Defensive Driving?
A key element in being a safe, cautious driver is to practice using defensive driving strategies. Defensive driving can be compared to defense positions on a sports team. Just as in sports, you are defending your team’s goal, when you practice defensive driving skills you are defending yourself, your vehicle, and your passengers. By learning to utilize defensive driving techniques, you are able to make safer decisions, anticipate dangerous situations, address unpredictable situations and therefore reduce potential exposure to danger while driving.
What is an Aggressive Driver?
Aggressive drivers tend to be driving hazards and dangerous to other drivers. Rather than practicing defensive driving strategies, aggressive drivers are often quick to get angry, they drive unsafely, exhibit many forms of road rage, and jeopardize the safety and endanger the lives of other drivers. It is presumed that aggressive drivers are responsible for up to one-third of all traffic collisions or crashes.
Examples of Defensive Driving Techniques
- Stay Focused –Speed, road conditions, other cars, checking your mirrors, using signals, observing traffic signs, and abiding by traffic rules & laws are all things you must think about while operating a car. That is a lot of stuff to have on your mind, so it is imperative to stay focused.
- Limit Distractions – Cell phones, eating, loud music, and anything else that takes away from your full concentration are considered distractions and need to be eliminated while driving to avoid potential disaster.
- Be Alert – Driving when you are over-tired, under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or being in any state of mind that will slow down your reactions or response time is always a bad idea.
- Pay Attention To Your Surroundings – Check your mirrors, keep your eyes moving constantly, be aware of slowing cars or brake lights ahead, avoid road hazards, and pay attention to weather-related conditions which could impend safe driving.
- Speed – While driving within the posted speed limit is required, you also need to pay attention to the flow of traffic around you.
- Follow the 3 – 5 Second Rule – Keep yourself a reasonable distance behind the car in front of you, to eliminate the possibility of not being able to slow down or stop in time to avoid a crash. Remain far enough behind the car in front of you to give yourself at least 3 to 5 seconds to react to any situation ahead.
- Breakdowns – Engine malfunction or a flat tire or similar car trouble, may render your car immobile. If at all possible, once you notice your car slowing down or recognize that there is an issue, do everything you can to get your car off of the road so you are not in the path of on-coming traffic.
Expect the Unexpected:
Defensive driving and expecting the unexpected when operating a vehicle rather than falling into a false sense of complacency, assuming nothing bad will happen make you more prepared to handle, or even avoid, unforeseen disasters.