Archive for January 13, 2017

Being a Safer Driver: Defensive Driving Techniques

Defensive Driving Tips

You’ve probably heard the phrase “defensive driving,” but have you ever wondered what it really means? For many, this type of driving is associated with driving school—tips you pick up when first driving, but that you rarely use in the real world. However, there are some important defensive driving techniques to keep in mind to keep you and your family safe as you drive.

What Is Defensive Driving?

According to Kids Health, defensive driving skills are a set of techniques that help you avoid the dangers of the road, especially when others drive dangerously. Most importantly, defensive drivers always stay focused. This means turning the radio down, putting both hands on the wheel, and observing all traffic signals and laws. If something is distracting you from the task at hand, pull over or eliminate the distraction. Even a fraction of a second could be the difference between life and death.

Next, maintain a safe following distance. For many, this refers to the three-second rule. As the car in front of you passes a post or other object, count the seconds until you pass the same object. If it’s less than three seconds, you’re following too closely. Allowing a safe following distance prevents you from rear-ending other drivers by giving you enough reaction time. Adjust this time if the road conditions worsen.

Don’t depend on other drivers. Offensive drivers assume that other drivers will get out of the way for them; however, when two such drivers meet, the results are disastrous. Never assume that other drivers will slow down or get over to allow you to merge. Never assume that they’ll wait for you, and always plan for the worst scenarios.

Finally, slow down! Driving the speed limit keeps you and the driver’s around you safer. The speed limit is carefully set with safety in mind. By exceeding it, you could lose control of your vehicle much more easily, especially around corners. Keep these tips in mind to be a truly defensive driver.

Test Driving Tips: Finding the Right Car

Before you buy a car, you should always test drive it. Many dealerships now allow you to take cars overnight, which is a great way to get to know a potential vehicle. You should look out for things like drivability, comfort, ease of use, visibility, and more. Below are some test driving tips to keep in mind to help you get the most out of your visit.

Test Driving Tips

Do Research

According to Car and Driver, the first tip is to do some research. If possible, narrow it down to two or three vehicles. Then, test drive these cars back to back. This will help you determine which you like better. You should also see if any friends or family are available to give you a second opinion. However, be sure to ask a few days in advance and have a backup plan. If necessary, make a list of things that you think are essential in a vehicle.

Get Acquainted

Next, get acquainted with the car before you drive it. Are the seats comfortable? What’s it feel like in the back? Is there a lot of storage space? What does the exterior look like? These are all questions you should ask yourself before even driving the car. If you have a car seat or other accessory, make sure it will fit as well.

Pay Attention

During the actual test drive, pay attention to things like visibility, comfort, media features, and enjoyability. Are there many blind spots? Are you too high or too low to the road? Are you comfortable? Can you use media gadgets without taking your eyes off the road? Is it fun to drive? You should also consider handling and performance as well.

These are the basics to test driving. First, come prepared. Next, give it a once over while it’s in park. Finally, when test driving, pay attention to enjoyability, safety, and more. With these tips in mind, your drive will help you make the right decision.