The United States Department of Transportation estimates that more than 90% of all road accidents could be attributed to preventable driver errors. However, when you know how to drive defensively, you will be always ready and aware whatever happens, says an expert from Top Driver. You will be more cautious of your actions and won’t have to place your fate in the unsteady hands of other drivers. Here are defensive driving practices you should learn and employ.
- As always, think of your safety first. Ensure that there’s space between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. Always wear your seatbelt and lock all your doors.
- Always respect and be considerate of other drivers, but don’t rely on them. Never assume that a driver is going to allow you to pass or turn, instead, plan your actions expecting the worst-case scenario.
- Be mindful of your surroundings regardless of where you’re driving. Look at your mirrors regularly and gauge potential conditions. In case a vehicle exhibits indications of aggressive driving, avoid it by pulling over or slowing down. Always be on the lookout for pedestrians, animals, and cyclists.
- Apply the 3 to 4-second rule. Because the highest risk of collision is directly in your front, this rule will aid you in determining and maintaining a safe distance and lend you sufficient time to stop or break whenever necessary. However, add more seconds to this rule if you’re driving in bad weather.
- Plan your escape route. When you have an alternate route, you instantly have a place or space to move your car in case your usual route is blocked.
- Always observe speed limits. Aside from being illegal, higher speeds will make driving your car harder in the event that things go awry.
- Don’t be distracted by distractions — your phone, your music, your passengers, etc. Driving requires all your attention.
- Separate potential risks. In the unfortunate event that you’re faced with several risks, managing them one by one is best.
It is, however, crucial to note that knowing these practices might not be enough for everyone, especially for new drivers. Consider enrolling in a defensive driving class to help polish your driving skills and knowledge; you could even take online driving courses for this. Lastly, keep in mind that while you can’t control other drivers’ actions, knowing valuable defense driving skills could significantly aid you in avoiding hazards resulting from other drivers’ poor driving skills.