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A “Crash” Course on Defensive Driving

Essential strategies for defensive driving, including key elements and techniques for drivers to stay safe on the road.

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The definition of defensive driving is straightforward. Defensive driving is a driving style that employs safe driving strategies and tactics in order to avoid collisions and accidents on the road.

Defensive driving also has other advantages, such as higher fuel economy and less pressure on your car. However, being a good driver is not easy.

Even if you’ve been driving for a long time, you might be unsure if your skills behind the wheel are up to par. Being a defensive driver is even more difficult!

To practice defensive driving, you must be aware that other drivers may make errors or drive aggressively, resulting in collisions. To avoid these collisions, you must be prepared to deal with other drivers’ errors.

Even if you have the green light, you can’t take your eyes off the other cars as you approach a junction, expecting them to stop for their red light signal.

Furthermore, if you are driving through an intersection and see pedestrians, you cannot trust that they would notice you approaching and come to a complete stop if they are staring at their phones.

Pedestrians and other drivers who are distracted by their phones are unable to scan for, recognize, and avoid possible hazards.

To protect oneself from bad drivers, you must eventually remain cautious and commit to driving defensively.

Click here to read about 8 Steps to Reduce Distracted Driving

Table of Contents

  • Defensive Driving Elements
  • Driving Techniques That Are Defensive
  • Don’t Make Assumptions or Put Your Faith in Anyone or Anything
  • Pull Over if You Feel Unsafe
  • Never Drink and Drive
  • Keep a Safe Distance from Other Automobiles
  • Enroll in a Defensive Driving Program
  • Final Thoughts on Defensive Driving

Defensive Driving Elements

The following are the basic aspects of defensive driving in Texas, or any other state or city:

  • Space: Maintain a safe gap between your car and the vehicle in front of you. When a collision occurs in front of you or beside you, you will have more time to respond and will be less likely to be hurt.
  • Visibility: Keep an eye on your mirrors when changing lanes to make sure no one is in your blind spot. You should also avoid driving in other people’s blind spots to prevent colliding with them.
  • Communication: When merging or changing lanes, always use turn signals to indicate your intentions. Respect other drivers’ signals and allow them to safely turn, change lanes, and merge.

Driving Techniques That Are Defensive

Defensive driving requires awareness and foresight.

A defensive driver should always pay attention to the actions of other drivers to avoid accidents. Anticipating risks and seeing 10 seconds ahead will give you more time to respond and help you avoid collisions.

More techniques to become a defensive driver and keep safe on the road are included below.

Don’t Make Assumptions or Put Your Faith in Anyone or Anything

When you’re driving, you’re never really alone, and you’re always vulnerable to the behavior of other drivers. Even so, most drivers make the error of assuming that other drivers would be as cautious on the road as they are.

For example, just because the automobile in front of you is signaling right does not mean it will turn right.

Do not make assumptions unless you clearly see the vehicle turning. In addition, drivers are sometimes unsure whether or not their indicators are turned on.

As a result, you can lessen the likelihood of a collision by anticipating mistakes from others while remaining alert enough to react accordingly.

It is your obligation to ensure your own safety, and the less you presume, the safer you will be. It’s the cornerstone of defensive driving.

Pull Over if You Feel Unsafe

If the vehicle in front of you is displaying road rage or engaging in any risky behavior, pull over and let them pass.

Never place yourself in a potentially dangerous scenario.

You have no influence over what other drivers do behind the wheel, but you can make yourself as safe as possible.

Never get caught up in aggressive driving techniques like overtaking or tailgating.

Such risky driving tactics simply enhance the likelihood of a collision. Defensive driving lowers (if not completely eliminates) your chances of being involved in a collision.

Never Drink and Drive

Even over-the-counter flu medicine can affect your judgment and lengthen your reaction time.

As a result, before opting to drive, you should honestly analyze your health.

One drink per hour is around 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits for the average person.

If you’ve had too much to drink, don’t go behind the wheel.

Keep a Safe Distance from Other Automobiles

To prevent a collision, you’ll need enough of space to react to potentially dangerous scenarios.

Maintaining a safe distance from other vehicles is the best method to do this.

This will also provide you with enough stopping distance if the motorist in front of you abruptly uses the brakes.

Allow at least three seconds between you and the automobile in front of you for optimal driving conditions. In inclement weather, that distance should be increased.

Enroll in a Defensive Driving Program

You could enroll in a certified defensive driving school to learn more about safe driving techniques.

Although defensive driving programs vary each state because they are tailored to local traffic laws, they will considerably improve your driving skills. You’ll be more aware of the dangers associated with driving.

The National Safety Council (NSC) has trained over 75 million drivers in all 50 states and around the world. To stay safe during this pandemic, you can also take a defensive driving course online.

Some of the most popular defensive driving online courses are listed below:

Final Thoughts on Defensive Driving

It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Defensive driving is one of many methods for ensuring driver safety.

If you start exercising the defensive driving strategies given above on a daily basis, they will become habits, and you will be a safe driver after defensive driving has become second nature.

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