Adopting defensive-driving techniques can keep you safe on the road and may even save you money. Many insurance companies reduce policyholders’ premiums if they maintain accident-free driving records or take an accredited course on defensive-driving techniques. If you want to learn how to drive defensively, follow these steps.
- LOOK FAR AHEAD: Human beings were not designed to go much faster than about 15mph. anything beyond that speed is simply unnatural for us. Unfortunately, many new drivers get into the habit of looking directly in front of their vehicle and no further. You probably don’t think you’re one of those people, but this problem usually goes unnoticed. Just how far ahead should you look? As far as you can! MILES, even! This article goes into great depth about how to properly look far down the road and anticipate any hazards. Most accidents could be avoided if people would have better situational awareness and planned ahead by looking as far down the road as possible.
- HAVE AN ESCAPE PLANE: Here is a skill that is learned over time. In order to be one of the safest drivers on the road, you must always have an escape plan. While you may be a great driver, you can’t always predict what other drivers around you will do. In addition, factors out of your control could change a routine driving situation into a driving emergency very quickly. Say a dog runs into the roadway and everyone slams on their brakes. Or maybe someone has a tire blowout and begins spinning out of control. Where will you go? What will you do? And more importantly, how can you possibly plan for every possible driving emergency at every possible time?
- MAINTAINING PROPER FOLLOWING DISTANCE: Here is one of the most commonly broken defensive driving tips in the history of driving. A safe following distance is just as important, if not more important, than keeping a safe speed. After all, you could be going 120mph but as long as there is enough space between you and other vehicles, you’ll never hit anyone. For some reason, it is human nature to hang out in packs and that is very evident with driving patterns. Everyone tends to drive from stop light to stop light in packs and if you leave too much space between you and the vehicle in front of you on the expressway, be prepared to get cut off. So how, exactly, do you keep a safe following distance? This defensive driving tip could literally save your life.
- REDUCING DRIVING DISTRACTIONS: Remember back when cars didn’t even have cup holders? No? Neither do I. But at one time, cars were just cars. These days, cars have on-board computers, GPS systems, satellite radios, sub woofers that make you sound so cool (seriously though, you don’t look or sound cool), and even flat screen televisions. And let’s not forget how many people eat and drive at the same time, text and drive, or even get distracted by passengers in the vehicle. From people driving pets around to screaming kids in the back seat and acts we can’t really talk about on this site, distracted driving is everywhere. Some of those distractions we can control, while others we can’t.