Every time you are on the road, there is a chance of an accident. These accidents can range from minor to major and affect your car, other vehicles or even pedestrians.
There are many ways that a person can avoid these accidents by practicing defensive driving techniques. Defensive driving tips will help keep you safe while on the road and allow you to have more control over your car and the situation. Defensive driving is a set of techniques that are used to avoid accidents and protect yourself, your passengers and other drivers. Defensive driving tips can be used in any type of vehicle, from a motorcycle to a bus.
1. Always be alert and aware of your surroundings while driving.
This includes being aware of other drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists. Your eyes should be constantly scanning the road looking for surrounding dangers that could cause an accident. Don’t always focus on the car that is directly in front of you. Instead, regularly check your mirrors and use your peripheral vision to see what is happening around you.
2. Always keep a safe distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you.
Keeping a safe distance will give you enough time to react in the event of an emergency. You always want to be sure that you have enough time to stop if the car in front of you suddenly brakes. The distances varies based on your speed. A rule of thumb is that you should allow for at least one car length for every 10 miles per hour that you are driving at slow speeds. On the highway you should be able to count to four before you reach the distance of the car in front of you.
3. Be prepared to take action in the event of an emergency.
This includes knowing how to use your car’s features, such as the brakes and steering wheel, properly. Did you know that most rental car accidents occur within one mile of the rental car lot? This is because people aren’t used to the way the car handles and they end up making mistakes. Familiarize yourself with your car before you take it out onto the road, adjust the mirrors, and take a practice drive in an open area.
4. Be aware of road conditions and hazards.
This includes knowing how to drive in different weather conditions and being aware of potential road hazards, such as potholes or debris. If you believe that you could be driving through bad weather, be sure to check the current weather report from the National Weather Service. If it is not safe to drive, then do not take your car out. If you are driving through an unfamiliar area, or an area that may have a high level of road hazards, such as a road construction site, take your time and proceed with caution.
5. Use turn signals when changing lanes or turning.
This will let other drivers know your intentions and help to prevent accidents. Remember to use your turn signal early enough that the driver in the lane you are moving into has time to react. Do not assume that the driver knows you are going to turn or switch lanes, always use your turn signal. It is also to use your turn signal when in parking lots, where driving rules often break down and other drivers may not be sure of your intentions.
6. Use your horn sparingly.
Your horn is not a substitute for driving safely, or a means for getting others to drive safely. Use your horn to warn other drivers of potential danger, such as when you are trying to get their attention so they will move out of the way. Do not use your horn in anger or frustration, this can lead to road rage and could result in an accident.
7. Follow the rules of the road.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but following the rules of the road will help to keep you and other drivers safe. obey the speed limit, do not run red lights, and be aware of your surroundings. These are just a few examples of how to follow the rules of the road. For a more comprehensive list, be sure to visit the website for your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles.
8. Be patient.
There is no need to rush when you are driving. Never assume that you can make up time while you are driving. Speeding to get to a destination will put yourself and the others around you in danger as speeding is one of the leading causes of driving accidents in the United States. When you are driving, take the time to relax and focus on the task at hand.
9. Don’t drink and drive.
Every year thousands of accidents and deaths are caused by drunk drivers or drivers who are driving while impaired with drugs. Driving under the influence affects your ability to think clearly and react quickly: Two essential skills when you are behind the wheel. If you are going to drink, then plan ahead and have a designated driver or use a taxi or public transportation.
10. Keep a calm demeanor while driving.
This includes not yelling or gesturing at other drivers, even if they are the ones who have caused the accident. Road rage can lead to further accidents and injuries. If you find yourself getting angry while driving, take a deep breath and try to calm down. You may also want to pull over to the side of the road until you have calmed down.
11. Always wear your seatbelt.
This is the most important safety tip of all. Seatbelts save lives. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 54 percent of the people who died in passenger vehicle accidents were not wearing seat belts. While this is not a tip specific to defensive driving, it is important to always wear your seatbelt and to encourage others to wear their seatbelts while you are driving, as it can help to prevent serious injury in the event of an accident.
12. Check your vehicle before you drive.
This includes making sure that your tires are properly inflated, your windshield wipers are working, and that your brakes are functioning correctly. Driving with a broken windshield or a tire that is going flat can be extremely dangerous. Checking your vehicle before you drive will help to ensure that you are safe on the road.
13. Know your route.
This may seem like common sense, but knowing where you are going and how to get there can help to keep you calm while driving. Becoming lost or turned around can lead to frustration and increased stress levels while driving. If you are unfamiliar with a route, take the time to map it out before you drive.
14. Don’t use your phone while driving.
This includes texting, talking on the phone, or checking Facebook. Using your phone while driving takes your attention away from the road and can lead to accidents. If you need to make a call or send a text, pull over to the side of the road and stop your car before doing so.
15. Be prepared for anything.
This includes being prepared for heavy traffic, construction, and even bad weather. Know alternate routes if possible, and pack an emergency kit in your car in case you get stranded. Driving in bad weather can be especially dangerous, so always be aware of the conditions and take precautions when necessary.
When you are driving, it is important to be aware of the risks involved and take steps to avoid them. Defensive driving is the key to staying safe on the road. These tips can help you to stay aware of your surroundings, keep your cool in stressful situations, and avoid dangerous accidents. Defensive driving is essential for all drivers, regardless of experience or skill level. Remember to always wear your seatbelt, check your vehicle before you drive, and stay calm behind the wheel. Follow these tips and you will be on your way to safe and stress-free driving.