Even the best drivers get involved in accidents. In 2017 alone, about 4.57 million people were injured, and about 40,000 lives were lost due to vehicular accidents. Thankfully, there are ways that will help avoid such incidents and lower the number of deaths and injuries caused by road accidents. One of the best methods is learning defensive driving techniques.
With all the car safety technologies introduced over the years, accidents still happen because of unsafe driving habits and behaviors. Adopting safe and defensive driving techniques will help lower the chances of getting involved in a car crash or accident. When all drivers are defensive drivers, everyone will be mindful of road conditions and can anticipate any potential hazard.
Recognizing things such as the weather turning nasty and altering road conditions and being aware when traffic ahead is slowing down; are essential in keeping everyone safe.
What is Defensive Driving?
Defensive driving refers to various safe driving techniques which let drivers spot any potential hazards on the road and allow them to adapt their driving habits accordingly. The result is a reduced chance of car crashes and other road accidents. When you employ defensive driving habits, you also save costs for fuel consumption and vehicle maintenance as you drive with more care and less aggressively.
When you’re a defensive driver, you have more control behind the wheel and know to anticipate what other drivers will do. With this, you can adjust your driving to minimize the chance of them causing any harm. Defensive driving is a conscious effort, and so you must always be aware of what’s happening around you while on the road. Road awareness includes understanding potential hazards and the actions of other drivers around you.
With defensive driving, you are proactive in preventing any untoward incidents on the road. The basics include giving yourself enough reaction time, regularly scanning your rearview and side mirrors, and looking beyond what vehicle is in front of you.
Reasons Why Defensive Driving Skills Can Save Lives
Along with hi-tech car features that boost safety, the manner or style of how you drive is a great factor in ensuring road safety. You don’t want to be simply a reactive driver when a hazard comes. Operating in solely a reactionary manner presents high risks and may cause lives on the road.
When you learn defensive driving, you know how to stay safe on the road because you can apply accident-free techniques. No one wants to get involved in a road mishap. Inconvenience and expenses will be the least of your problems if you get into a car crash.
Learning to be a defensive driver is not only beneficial in navigating the road along with other drivers. It is also helpful when mastering safe driving during bad weather conditions. Defensive driving skills will help you confidently navigate slippery roads, cyclones, or floods.
Defensive driving gives you an advantage in adverse conditions, even in unfamiliar surroundings. As there is always the possibility of encountering factors that affect the driving dynamic, knowing how and what actions to take is essential for your safety and other drivers around you.
Essential Tips in Defensive Driving
Always Stay Alert.
Always be aware of your surroundings. Please do not assume that hazards will be resolved before you encounter them. You may limit distractions while driving, including refraining your passengers from being rowdy and disruptive. Avoid using your mobile phone while driving. If you really must get your phone, be sure to stop at the side of the road before answering a call or text.
Understand Other Road Users’ Actions.
Thinking that all drivers drive like you is a very dangerous mindset. They’re not. It would be best to assume that not all drivers will adhere to driver safety and road rules the way you do. So, as a defensive driver, you’d do well to anticipate what intention or action other drivers will have. Be mindful of all road users, including cyclists and pedestrians. Keep an eye on how drivers around you are operating their vehicles. If someone is driving aggressively be sure to stay out of their blind spot and give them room to merge. It’s better to let them by then to be in an accident.
Always Maintain a Safe Distance.
The golden rule traditionally is to maintain at least a two-second distance from the car in front of you. New research has proven that a 4-second rule is actually much safe. You can do this by observing the vehicle in front of you passing a road landmark. You can count to four before passing the same landmark yourself. But this can change on higher speed roads, where you need to leave a more significant gap. More distance between you and other cars is necessary when driving under harsh weather or in areas with poor visibility.
Drive a Safe Vehicle
Be sure to keep your tires properly inflated and the engine well-maintained. If you have an older vehicle that requires a great deal of maintenance, it might be time to sell your car and upgrade to something newer with more safety features.
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