Driving defensively means employing a number of practices and techniques to deal with the behaviour of other drivers and the conditions on the road. When getting behind the wheel, the only thing we can directly control is our own driving; being able to anticipate a range of potential hazards can play a major role in keeping drivers safe while on the roads. There are a number of defensive driving classes motorists can take to learn these specific techniques and avoid dangerous situations. Some of the most important defensive driver techniques are listed below.
Consistent observation is at the heart of any safe driving regime. Pedestrians crossing, children in residential streets, and any vehicles behind and in the adjacent lane are all potential hazards that can be avoided with good observation. As well as regularly checking side and rear vision mirrors, motorists should check blind spots when turning and changing lanes. By using a technique known as ‘high eyes driving’, drivers learn to focus not only on the car in front of them but on the road’s horizon. This allows drivers to spot hazards early, and this gives them more reaction time to brake or swerve if needed.
Avoid Unnecessary Lane Changes
Changing lanes represents the potential to unwittingly cut off other drivers, especially on highways where cars are travelling at higher speeds. Even more important than avoiding unnecessary lane changing is practising patience – waiting for a safe opening to change lanes. Weaving across lanes to get ahead of other cars is one of the fastest ways to side swipe other vehicles and cause a range of other potentially deadly accidents at higher speeds.
A defensive driver understands the only thing they should focus on is the task of driving itself. That means any other distractions including phones, changing the radio station, eating, and other physical distractions should wait until the car is parked and the engine turned off. Avoiding distractions also incorporates an awareness of preventing the mind from wandering; you need to actively keep your mind on the task of driving. Getting involved in deep thought, heated discussions or becoming overly engrossed in a talkback radio program are all potential distractions that can cause attention lapses and result in accidents.
Keep a Safe Distance
Rear endings are among the most common road accidents, causing damage and the potential for injuries such as whiplash. To avoid slamming into the rear of another vehicle, causing an expensive repair bill and possible legal costs, motorists should observe the ‘three second rule’, staying at least three seconds behind the car in front. This will give a necessary buffer between you and other vehicles and sufficient time to stop should the car in front need to brake suddenly. Keeping a safe distance will also help the driver behind you, given them a longer stopping distance and more reaction time, reducing the likelihood of a pileup.
These are just a few important defensive driving techniques that should be in any driver’s skillset to maintain safety and avoid accidents while on the road. To avoid potential legal action from a service such as Motor Accident Legal Service, it’s important every driver takes driving seriously so they can avoid playing a role in causing unnecessary and costly accidents.