Every day about 101 people die in automotive accidents. An additional 6,438 suffer injuries or permanent disabilities from road accidents.
These incredible numbers prove how dangerous driving can be. The good news is there are steps you can take to ensure that you and those around you are safe.
Learning defensive driving techniques is one of the best ways you can protect yourself. Continue reading to learn what defensive driving techniques are.
What Are Defensive Driving Techniques?
Defensive driving techniques refer to a method of driving where a person is ready to defend against hazards. These hazards might come from inside the vehicle or from any direction outside the vehicle.
By learning to drive defensively, you lower the risks of being behind the wheel. You will make not only yourself safer, but everyone on the road around you.
Defensive driving is important because it’s impossible to control the actions of other drivers. You can, however, control your own driving behaviors.
1. Always Pay Attention to the Road
Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of automotive accidents. You shouldn’t be texting, taking phone calls, or checking your email while driving. Stay focused on the road and nothing else.
New drivers should also be wary of listening to the radio too loud. Don’t let your passengers distract you from driving, either. New drivers should limit the number of passengers.
2. Avoid Aggressive Behaviors
Road rage is real and it’s easy to fall victim to it. When you get angry behind the wheel, take a few deep breaths. Avoid confrontation because aggressive driving is a major cause of accidents.
At first, avoiding aggressive driving behaviors will be difficult. The longer you practice deep breathing and avoidance, the easier it will become. Eventually, ignoring aggression will become second nature.
3. Use the 3-to-4 Second Rule
The 3-to-4 second rule means you should leave enough space between you and the car in front of you so you can stop within four seconds. Keep in mind this rule only applies to normal driving conditions.
If you’re driving in bad weather, you need to increase your following distance. It takes the brakes longer to catch in rain or snow. If there is debris on the road or the weather is windy, it can also affect your vehicle’s braking abilities.
4. Follow the Speed Limit
The speed limit signs are suggested for driving in optimal weather conditions. When the weather is good, you should stay at this speed limit.
If the weather conditions are poor, like discussed above, you need to reduce speed accordingly. It doesn’t matter if the speed limit says 60 miles per hour. If you can’t see more than a few feet in front of you because of heavy snow or rain, you should reduce your speed.
5. Expect the Unexpected
Don’t expect other drivers to always drive correctly. Sometimes they might be suffering from road rage or be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. They could be tired or distracted by their passengers.
This is why you need to always expect the unexpected. Constantly scan your surroundings and be aware of where other drivers are. Be prepared in the event they swerve into your lane or stop short in front of you.
6. Always Buckle Up
Buckle up every time you drive. You should also do this if you’re a passenger in the vehicle. Require your passengers to buckle their seat belts.
Seat belts are a safety feature that can save your life if you are unfortunate enough to be involved in a motor vehicle accident. They can also save you from minor injuries sustained during fender benders or times when you need to stop short.
7. Remember Your Blinkers
Even seasoned drivers sometimes forget their blinkers. Sometimes people purposefully don’t use them. But blinkers are so important and you need to make sure you use them.
A blinker is also called an indicator. It indicates to people which way your car will move. If someone is aware you’re trying to get into another lane, they shouldn’t speed up so you can’t.
8. Don’t Respond to Road Rage
It isn’t enough to keep yourself calm. Other drivers will fall victim to road rage and you can’t be certain what they might do. People who are suffering from road rage aren’t thinking clearly.
Some people get road rage so badly they run into other people’s vehicles. They might try to cut you or another person off, or slam on their breaks. Most often, they’ll make aggressive gestures and yell from their vehicle.
The key is to remain calm. Keep your eyes on the road and try to maintain your distance from aggressive drivers.
9. Flicker Your Eyes
Most new drivers think they need to keep their eyes fixed to the road ahead of them. This is inaccurate and presents two problems.
First, staring straight ahead for long periods can result in something called road hypnotizing. This is when a person becomes very sleepy and disoriented while driving. This poses big safety issues.
Second, staring straight ahead doesn’t let you take into account all potential hazards. Driving hazards can also come from the side and back of your vehicle.
To be safest, flicker your eyes every minute or two for a few seconds. Flick them to your rearview mirror to check the side of your vehicle. Then flick them to either side mirror.
For More Information
Do you want more information on defensive driving techniques you can use to stay safe? Contact us today. One of our associates would be more than happy to help you.