Every time you get on the road, you face very different and unique situations that require their own specific courses of action. This is why it is absolutely essential to practice defensive driving. With the implementation of five very simple defensive driving tips, you can become a safer driver each and every time you get behind the wheel.
Defensive driving doesn’t require any sort of special training. It is a basic set of skills that you learn over time requiring constant awareness and self-discipline so that when you are faced with the unexpected, you can quickly take action to save time, money and, most importantly, lives.
When you practice defensive driving, you will not only be a safer driver, you can greatly reduce your chances of being involved in an accident. But, when you ignore its most basic principles, know that you are putting your life and all of those who share the road with you at risk. So, become a safer, more attentive driver with these five essential defensive driving tips:
- Get the Big Picture – Defensive drivers not only take the necessary time to process their surroundings while on the road, they take measures long before getting on the road to educate themselves about their vehicle, traffic laws and safe driving techniques. Once on the road, defensive drivers know how to recognize hazards and avoid collisions through constant awareness and proactive measures (i.e. they take in the big picture).
- Look Far Ahead – Lots of drivers are in the habit of only looking directly in front of them and no further. This, however, is a very, very bad habit. A good defensive driver should be looking all around them and as far ahead as the eye can see. You should always be looking ahead to anticipate any road or traffic hazards. If you have no foresight, then you can’t possibly know what’s coming with enough time to take proper defensive action. The fact is, most accidents can be avoided if more people would use this simple technique.
- Maintain Proper Distance – This one goes right along with looking ahead and is one of the most commonly broken defensive driving tips that could save your life. Maintaining proper distance while driving is even more important than maintaining a safe speed. Let’s face it, it won’t matter how fast or how far down the road you are looking if you don’t have enough room to stop should something pop up.
- Always Have an Out – A safe driver always has an escape plan. Even the best drivers can’t truly predict what other drivers are going to do, and sometimes, things are just out of your control no matter how attentive you are to your surroundings. For example, a dog could run out into the roadway, and the person in front of you slams on their brakes, or maybe someone’s tire blows out, and they start swerving into oncoming traffic. You just never know when a routine drive will turn into an emergency. That’s why you must always have an out.
- Get Rid of Distractions – With talking passengers, fighting kids, cell phones, cars outfitted with GPS systems, on-board computers, satellite radios, televisions and more, it’s all too easy to get distracted. While we can’t avoid all distractions, you should make a conscious effort to rid yourself of as many as possible when you get behind the wheel. Your focus should be on getting to your destination safe and sound.
Defensive driving skills develop with practice and time. Absolutely everyone can learn to be a safer driver. Just remember, defensive driving is all about clear, quick thinking, education and preparedness, as well as a safe attitude.