Getting behind the wheel of your automobile may seem like a common place occurrence, but it’s likely to be the riskiest thing you’ll do all day long. Every year, over 100,000 Americans either get injured or die because of road mishaps or car accidents.
Defensive driving entails a lot more than on-the-spot responses when you are in traffic. Here are 5 tips to become a defensive driver.
1. Brake early
Leave a little more space between you and the motorist ahead of you than you may need. It is always a wise idea to slow down a bit early, especially in slippery situations. Expect it to take two to three times as long to come to a complete halt after deciding to apply the brakes. This provides you more room to stop if someone in front of you brakes abruptly, and it gives the motorists behind you an alert that you’re stopping when they see your brake lights.
2. Stay focused
Driving is mainly a thinking task. You have a lot to consider when you’re behind the wheel, such as signals, signs, road conditions, your position and speed, checking your mirrors, following directions, and the list continues. Staying focused when driving is critical to staying safe.
Distractions, like eating or talking on the phone, make a driver less likely to see potential problems and appropriately react to them. All motorists must remind themselves to stay focused.
3. Keep your speed down
Posted speed limits only apply to ideal conditions. It’s your duty to ensure that your driving speed matches the conditions. Furthermore, driving at a high speed makes controlling your car much more difficult if anything goes awry. To control your automobile, you must control your speed.
4. Pull over if in doubt
If the motorist behind you is driving erratically or too close for comfort, pull over as soon as it’s safe and let the driver pass you. Driving is not a race. It’s a wise idea to play it safe and avoid putting yourself and maybe your family in a dangerous position.
You cannot control the actions of other motorists, but you can make yourself safe behind the wheel. Don’t assume what other drivers will do. Make your own decisions. An blinking indicator may suggest a car is turning but don’t do anything until you’re certain.
5. Observe and plan ahead
Defensive driving entails observing and planning ahead. What do you see? What does that mean for you, and what will you do to stay safe? For instance, you might see that dustbins are out. This means there might be a truck near the corner, so you should reduce your speed during the turn just in case. Take precautions when taking tight corners. Be prepared to make those turns with extra care. Always anticipate where your car will be in a few seconds, so you can respond promptly.
True defensive drivers will always protect themselves from more than just other motorists. It’s all about being observant and planning ahead to avoid dangerous situations before they occur.
Driving defensively means you’re aware and ready for whatever occurs. You’re cautious, yet prepared to take action and not leave your fate in the hands of other motorists.