Driving can be dangerous. According to statistics, around 4.4 million people are seriously injured on the road every year – more than 1 percent of the country’s population.
Because of this, defensive driving is a hot topic right now. People want to know how they can reduce the likelihood of an accident and keep their passengers – and other road users – safe.
What Is Defensive Driving?
Defensive driving is a style of driving designed to help drivers mitigate unnecessary risks and avoid hazards. Primarily, it has to do with predicting events on the road before they happen and taking preventative action to reduce danger.
Defensive driving is the opposite of aggressive driving. Drivers who practice it never showboat or rush to their destinations. Instead, they take their time, remain focused and ensure that the road ahead of them has their full attention.
How To Become A Defensive Driver
There are several secrets to becoming a defensive driver which we discuss below. The more you utilize them, the more defensive your driving will be.
Keep Your Speed To A Minimum
Defensive drivers keep their speed to a minimum and always under the speed limit. They remain focused, ensuring that they don’t accidentally go too fast.
Where possible, they use vehicle features, such as cruise control, to ensure that they drive at the correct pace. They also slow down when they anticipate hazards in the road ahead.
Don’t Depend On Other Drivers
Defensive drivers never make assumptions about what other drivers are going to do next. For instance, they don’t pull out at a junction, just because the vehicle in the next lane is. Instead, they use their independent judgement to determine whether it is safe.
Put Safety First
As car accident lawyers who deal with the effects of collisions all day will tell you, it always pays to put safety first. And that’s precisely what defensive drivers do. They suppress any aggressive or impulsive tendencies and focus purely on getting from A to B safely. They never take unnecessary risks.
Common safety-minded practices include:
- Always locking doors while driving
- Wearing seatbelts
- Leaving plenty of space for the vehicle in front
Cut Out Distractions
Distracted driving is a leading cause of collisions. Drivers whose attention isn’t 100 percent focused on the road are much more likely to get into an accident.
Common driving distractions include wearing headphones, flipping off other drivers, and children screaming in the back. Defensive drivers don’t allow their emotions to take hold. Rather, they continue to prioritize safety regardless of the chaos around them.
Plan Escape Routes
Defensive drivers also plan their escape routes. In other words, they plan out how they will respond if there is an incident further up the road. They might hover their foot over the brake pedal or consider moving onto the verge.
Check Your Mirrors Frequently
Lastly, defensive drivers pay close attention to what’s happening in their rear-view mirrors, spotting potentially dangerous drivers behind them. They continually scan their surroundings, using their experience to guide them. If they are worried, they slow down and, in some cases, pull over.