If you drive often, you’re aware not everyone is a good driver, even though most people think they are. Some drivers move from lane to lane without paying attention, while others speed aggressively. Others follow too closely, and others don’t signal when turning. All these drivers create an unsafe environment on the road, endangering the health of themselves and others. Learning how to drive defensively can help keep you safe on the road and preserve your health. Take a look at these important safety tips for driving defensively.
1. Avoid Any Distractions
Driving requires your full attention. You have to think of the road condition, observe signals and road markings, check your position and speed, and follow directions. That’s why you should avoid any activities that remove your focus from the road. According to Value Penguin, distracted driving causes one in every ten serious car accidents. That’s just how risky it is. If you have any health concerns, don’t drive. Defensive driving is about anticipating hazards, and you can’t do that if you’re distracted.
2. Signal Correctly
Signal correctly to inform other drivers of your next steps. If you plan to turn, signal at the right time to give the other drivers enough time to let you make your move. In addition, avoid blind spots or lingering in areas other drivers might not see you through their windows or mirrors.
3. Anticipate Other Drivers’ Moves
Although you can’t read the other drivers’ minds, you can observe how they drive and make educated guesses about what they plan to do next. For example, observe how they change lanes, brake, or speed. It’s also advisable to keep a good distance between yourself and drivers who brake often without any reason.
If you’re driving next to large vehicles like buses and trucks, be cautious because such vehicles have limited visibility and need more time to change lanes or stop.
4. Remain Alert
Pay attention to your surroundings at all times. You’ll manage to avoid dangerous situations when you’re keen. Even if the road isn’t that busy, you still need to be careful. Other cars aren’t the only thing you should be worried about. You should also focus on the weather conditions to safely navigate the road.
You must also pay attention while in the parking lot because it’s not entirely safe. According to NSC, about 66% of drivers admitted that they would use their phones while driving in parking lots. That means more than 50% of drivers are distracted in parking lots. Therefore, it’s your duty to remain alert to avoid parking lot accidents.
5. Don’t Give in to Road Rage
It can be frustrating when you run into erratic drivers who don’t follow the rules. It’s tempting to confront them, but don’t. Be patient and focus on arriving at your destination safely. If they’re trying to overtake you, let them. If they’re slow, wait for a safe opportunity to overtake them and continue with your journey.
6. Look Ahead
Look further down the road to identify potential hazards that can lead to an accident. This will help you respond as you should. For example, it’s common for cars to break down in the middle of the road, creating an unsafe situation. Studies have found that for every three drivers, one is likely to have their car break down every year. This accounts for about 69 million car breakdowns in a year. If you aren’t careful, you may just find yourself ramming into a vehicle in the middle of the road. By looking ahead, you can spot such hazards and react to them.
7. Observe the Rules of Right of Way
Driving etiquette dictates you yield to other drivers and pedestrians when needed. When visiting a new area, familiarize yourself with the right-of-way rules as they differ from place to place. This will help you avoid crashes.
Defensive driving is an important skill that every driver needs to have. By following these tips, you can avoid dangerous situations that can lead to accidents and ensure best practices for your health and safety. Make sure to do even more research, as you can never be too informed.