What Is Defensive Driving?

Do you know what defensive driving is?

Stated simply, defensive driving is a way of driving where the driver is consciously trying to reduce dangers associated with driving.

A defensive driver is always thinking their way through different potentially dangerous situations, especially while driving. They’re always reassessing their circumstances, never settling for being overly relaxed and under aware of their surroundings.

One important characteristic of a defensive driver is the ability to control emotions. Most people are aware of (or even exhibit) road range, and know that it’s a state of mind that can get in the way of proper defensive driving. In some cases, it can cause real danger, especially when a driver and their counterpart on the road have both worked themselves into a rage.

By keeping a calm head, you’ll be more aware of your surroundings, and more capable of practicing defensive driving. One of the main principles of defensive driving requires keeping a clear head, so you can practice every other principle with care.

As previously stated, defensive driving is meant to heighten your awareness of your surroundings. The best way to stay safe is knowing what’s happening in other cars, and the situation on the road. Most accidents happen not because of a driver’s ineptitude, but as a result of another driver’s misactions.

Here are the other basic principles of defensive driving:

  1. Make sure that everyone is wearing a seatbelt or is secured in some way (children and pets). Statistically speaking, seat belts save thousands of lives each year. Make it a habit to not start the engine until you’ve ensured that everyone is safe and buckled in.
  2. Give yourself plenty of space, especially on the highway. If something bad happens, you want room to maneuver.
  3. Slow down, especially when the weather is bad or visibility is poor. Wouldn’t you kick yourself if an accident could have been avoided if you just were a little extra careful? Especially if that accident caused someone’s death?
  4. Pay attention to and obey speed limits. They exist for a reason, and that reason is safety.
  5. Always concentrate on your driving, don’t get so comfortable that you miss something important, especially a pedestrian or animal along the roadside.
  6. Always expect the unexpected. Be constantly aware of possible escape routes.
  7. Refuse to drive if you’re under the influence or are overly drowsy. Both can affect your driving in unforgivable ways.
  8. Always be checking your mirrors. Cycle through them regularly.
  9. Never assume that other drivers will follow the rules of traffic. Just because their turn signal is on, doesn’t mean they’re turning when you expect. Just because there’s a stop sign or red light, doesn’t mean another person will respect them.
  10. Always respect other motorists. Obey the rules of the road no matter what. Don’t ever contest right of way or try and get in a race with another car.

If you’re trying to improve your defensive driving skills, take the aforementioned in mind, and combine with the following tips:

  • Practice checking your mirrors constantly until it becomes a habit
  • Know always what’s on your right, your left and behind you.
  • What does the road look like ahead of you? Make it a habit to know what’s on the horizon, and what’s happening even two cars ahead of you.
  • Make eye contacts with other drivers and pedestrians so you know that they can see you
  • Check car wheels to judge the direction a car is going. If a car is parked on the side, but the wheels are turned to the right, it may suddenly pull out in front of you.
  • Always be prepared for the unexpected. It’s the unexpected that causes car accidents.

If defensive driving has failed, and you find yourself in an accident, get in touch with your local Attorney Big Al. Each Attorney Big Al offers free consultations by calling 1-800-HURT-123. You can also visit us online at http://hurt123.com/ to learn more about defensive driving and personal injury law!

Are you a defensive driver? What principles hold most true for you? What do you think has helped you to stay out of accidents? Share in the comments!

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