Defensive driving is one of the most important things you can do when on the road. Defensive driving can stop you from getting into an accident, save lives, and stop you from having to claim on your insurance. One thing you might have heard a lot about when first learning to drive is driving defensively.
Now, don’t get us wrong. This doesn’t mean you should be full of worry and anxiety, tense behind the wheel, just expecting something to go wrong. However, you do need to be aware of what other road users are doing around you, as well as anticipating what they are going to do. If you can do this then you should be able to avoid accidents and issues, for the most part.
Young Drivers And Driving Defensively
There are lots of new drivers that get into accidents on the road – you know this. Young drivers are more inexperienced than older drivers in general, and this can lead to cockiness, or timidness, both of which can cause problems on the road. This is one of the reasons the graduated licensing system was introduced; so that new drivers will always have a licensed and experienced driver with them until they can drive by themselves.
Did you know that teens are involved in over 5,000 accidents out of 100,000? That the leading cause of death for those ages 15-20 is vehicle crashes? And that motor vehicle accidents involve more than 25% of teen drivers? All of this even though they only actually account for 7% of drivers on the road in the USA. It’s important that a teenager knows what to do in order to drive defensively so they can avoid becoming another statistic.
Defensive Driving Tips
Defensive driving tips will help you to avoid becoming a statistic. Some of them are common sense, others may not be. Bear in mind that it doesn’t matter if you’re a teenager or much older, the tips here can help absolutely everybody to become better road users. Using the tips below will help you get to where you’re going safely and happily.
Never Use Your Phone In The Car, Under Any Circumstances
You shouldn’t be answering the phone, sending text messages, or doing anything else on your phone. Using your phone as a sat nav is up for debate, but in general, you should have all of this set up before you set off. Also, studies have shown that focusing too much on the sat nav rather than simply following signs can be dangerous, so don’t spend too much time focusing on it as you drive. You should have a sturdy holder in place so you don’t have to take your eyes off the road.
If you must use your cell phone or answer a call, wait until you have parked your car. Keeping your phone in the glovebox of the car can help you to avoid temptation. Even if you need to make an emergency call, make sure you pull over to the side of the road.
Don’t Tailgate Another Vehicle
As you drive, there needs to be enough room between you and the vehicle in front of you. If you’re driving too close to them, it’s called ‘tailgating’, and it’s very dangerous. There are times as we drive when we need to come to a stop quickly. If the vehicle ahead of you puts on their brakes, and you’re a split second too slow, it could mean you go crashing into the back of them.
In good conditions, you should have at least a 2-second gap between you and the vehicle ahead or another car. In conditions where the roads are wet or even icy, then you need to leave even more room.
Rear-ending a vehicle might not even be your fault, but if it happens, then your insurance company will likely start increasing your premiums.
Driving Correctly In All Weather Conditions
Following on from the previous point, you need to know how to drive correctly in all weather conditions. Until you’re a confident driver, you should steer clear of driving in bad weather conditions, or even at night time. Dickson Kohan & Bablove recommend having an experienced driver in the car with you for situations like this. They see people get into accidents in adverse conditions all the time.
Paying Attention To Road Signs
Make sure you’re paying attention to all traffic signs – many drivers go over the speed limit and get into an accident, while some find that they drive the wrong way down a one-way street, which can be inexplicably dangerous. If you know and pay attention to road signs, you’ll know what speed you should be driving at, and other important information that will help you to become a safer driver. Staying within the speed limit is a huge factor in becoming a defensive driver. The speeds were set out for a reason, not to slow you down for fun! They prevent accidents, especially in areas where you may find children or animals.
Never copy the driver in front of you. They might not be doing what they should be, and if you copy them, chances are, you’ll both get into an accident. Remember that not only paying attention to signs, but traffic lights is a must, too. Going the wrong way at a traffic signal is one of the most common ways of getting into terrible road accidents.
Giving Right Away
Coming to a four-way stop can be confusing for drivers – knowing who has right of way can be tough. However, if you’re ever confused about this, it’s usually better just to let other drivers go ahead of you. You’ll only have to wait a little longer but you’ll get to where you’re going in one piece. If you pull out and another car pulls out at the same time, you’ll get into a bad accident.
Use the information here to stay alert and drive defensively, and you can greatly reduce your chances of getting into a road accident.