Sure, cars have gotten safer over the past few years. Much safer. And the truth is, with the advent of self-driving cars and AI, driving will become much safer. But until we get to a point where most cars are controlled by near perfect driving machines, we should still lean how to drive defensively.
The increased number of vehicles on the road and the corresponding traffic make driving one of the most tedious and dangerous things to do. Getting behind the wheel takes a great deal of control and focus knowing that not everyone is a skillful and careful driver.
Add to that the alarming incidents of aggressive driving due to distracted drivers, competitive drivers who get agitated when being passed, multi-tasker drivers, and other traffic violators, then this problem is really increasing these days.
Although you cannot control these factors from influencing other drivers on how they behave behind the wheel, you have great control over how you operate your car while on the road. By using safe driving practices, you can avoid dangers caused by other people’s negligence and bad driving behavior.
How to Drive Defensively
- Focus. Always pay attention to what you do. Do not let distractions affect how you control the wheel. Refrain from using mobile phones to make phone calls, and to check messages or emails. Arguments or children in the backseat are other distractions that can cause them to lose focus.
- As you navigate the road, you must observe traffic signs, road markings, traffic signals, and being aware of your surroundings. Do not be too confident for aggressive drivers only think of themselves and do not mind how it can put other drivers at great risks.
- Buckle up. By wearing a seatbelt, your risk of any fatal injury is reduced.
- Stop on red. Even if you are in a hurry, always stop when the traffic signal is red. Understanding how to drive defensively, means understanding how to avoid possible future issues.
- Slow down. Stay within the recommended speed limits so you can easily stop at a safe distance from the car ahead of you.
- Signal. Make use of your signal light or blinkers when you are changing lanes. Always do this in advance before going for a smoother move. Failure to signal may cause problems with your insurance when making claims.
- Do not drink. Stay away from the wheel if you are under the influence of alcohol. Even a minimal amount of alcohol can affect your response times.
- Headlights. Use your headlights appropriately especially during heavy rain or snow so other drivers can see you. This is also applicable to driving on difficult roads.
- Inflate your tires. Tire blowouts are also contributing factors to the rising road accidents due to loss of control. Change old tires for safer driving. Also, conduct maintenance check-ups; change of brake fluid and engine oil. Doing so reduces the chance of unexpected breakdowns in the middle of the road.
- Proper distance. Maintain proper distance between other motorists to prevent collisions. This must be observed all the time; good or bad weather.
- Steady pace. Refrain sudden changes of speed or sudden stop as other drivers will find it hard to anticipate your moves.
Be considerate all the time, but you have to look after yourself as well, so it is always a good idea to anticipate the actions of other drivers. You should be alert and plan your movements for worse case scenarios. Lastly, you can take defensive driving lessons to sharpen your driving skills.
Learning how to drive defensively, means that you will be less likely to become a victim of road rage. Be sure to keep these safety tips in mind and always be vigilant on the road.