Driving defensively means preparing for the unexpected. You know what you’re trying to accomplish, you’re watching what’s happening around you and you’re ready to take immediate action.
Here are five tips you can follow to ensure that you’re driving defensively (not aggressively):
- Focus on the road ahead: You always want to know what’s ahead of you, as it gives you a better chance to prepare. For example, if you see a construction zone ahead, you can slow down and begin to watch for flaggers and workers.
- Avoid distractions: There are more distractions in your vehicle than ever before. From cellphones to satellite radio to GPS, you must never let a distraction take your attention away from the road.
- Know what to do in the event of the unexpected: This goes along with focusing on the road ahead and can include things such as a driver who makes a sudden stop, a tire blowout or someone who runs a red light as you’re approaching an intersection.
- Never follow too closely: It doesn’t matter if you’re in rush hour traffic in the city or on the open highway, leave a minimum of three seconds between your vehicle and the one in front of yours. In inclement weather, such as rain or snow, it can take additional time to stop your vehicle, so plan accordingly.
- Watch other drivers: Your main concern is your behavior, but you also need to be aware of your surroundings. Maybe you see another driver who is texting. Or maybe you see someone who is driving entirely too fast on a crowded roadway. Watching other drivers gives you the ability to remove yourself from a potentially dangerous situation.
At first, you may find it difficult to implement these defensive driving tips. You do your best, but it’s likely that you’ll fall back into your old ways at some point. However, as you continue to practice, everything will come together.
If you’re part of a motor vehicle accident due to no fault of your own, take these steps:
- Move to safety
- Call 911
- Check yourself for injuries
- Receive medical treatment at a local hospital
- Contact your insurance agent to file a claim
- Protect your legal rights by holding the negligent driver responsible for their actions