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.