Most of us enjoy the sound of the engine revving as we drive to our destination; However, as the driver, we must realize that when our tires meet the road, we’re responsible for not just our own lives, but others as well.
Check out the following 5 defensive driving techniques:
1. Slow down and don’t tailgate.
To create a safe driving environment, stick to the designated speed limit and keep at least two seconds driving distance between you and the car ahead.
Keep in mind that posted speed limits apply to ideal conditions. It’s your responsibility to ensure that your speed matches conditions. In addition, higher speeds make controlling your vehicle that much more difficult if things go wrong. To maintain control of your vehicle, you must control your speed.
2. Be alert.
Being alert (not sleepy or under the influence) allows you to react quickly to potential problems — like when the driver in the car ahead slams on the brakes at the last minute.
Obviously, alcohol or drugs affect a driver’s reaction time and judgment. Driving while drowsy has the same effect and is one of the leading causes of crashes. So rest up before your road trip.
3. Let others pass you.
Yes, it may be tempting to race with speeding motorists, but these are precisely the type of drivers you should avoid. An intelligent defensive driver lets others pass them and knows that a police officer may be just around the corner.
4. Use your turn signals.
Whether you’re about to change lanes or turn onto a roudabout, ensure that you correctly indicate a few seconds before driving to your desired path. Communication is always key in creating a safe and fluid driving experience.
5. Keep your eyes moving.
Check your mirrors frequently and scan conditions 20 to 30 seconds ahead of you. Also, keep an eye on pedestrians, bicyclists, and pets along the road.
6. Have an escape route.
Having an alternate path of travel is essential, so always leave yourself an out — a place to move your vehicle if your immediate path of travel is suddenly blocked.
7. Don’t depend on other drivers.
Be considerate of others but look out for yourself. Do not assume another driver is going to move out of the way or allow you to merge. Assume that drivers will run through red lights or stop signs and be prepared to react. Plan your movements anticipating the worst-case scenario.
This all touches on my next point–You can’t control the actions of other drivers. But updating your defensive driving skills can help you avoid the dangers caused by other people’s bad driving.
BSR’s Accident Avoidance (“AA”) training teaches already-licensed drivers, with six months driving experience, how to handle highway emergencies.