Driving distractions caused twenty percent of car crashes in 2009. Now more than ever drivers need to be aware of other drivers who are inattentive, rude and irresponsible. Even if you haven't taken a defensive driving course, you can stay at the top of your driving game by driving only when alert, keeping a safe distance from other drivers and planning what you would do if faced with making a snap decision while driving.
If you drive only when you are alert and focused on driving, you will notice mistakes from other drivers faster and you will be able to react more quickly. Anything that distracts you from completely focusing on driving, such as cell phones, the radio, eating, being tired or children in the backseat, results in less attention being paid to driving and slower reaction times to potentially dangerous situations.
When people drive familiar routes, it's very easy to get complacent and not pay attention to things seen every day. Regardless of how familiar you are with a driving route, or what your driving speed is, or how nice the weather is, it is so important to constantly be aware of your surroundings. Be prepared to stop suddenly in neighborhoods where kids might be playing, take extra caution on wet roads and always know the cars that are around you. Watch for subtle clues that a car may be trying to change lanes. Does the driver keep looking in their mirror? Are their movements erratic? Be aware of what other drivers are doing and be prepared to slow down or change lanes to maintain a safe distance from them.
Defensive drivers try to give themselves enough space and time to react to potentially dangerous driving situations. Keep a safe cushion around your vehicle, which means avoiding tailgating, changing lanes to avoid someone tailgating you, and slowing down or speeding up so that the lanes next to you are empty. If you don't have that safe cushion of space, maneuver your vehicle safely so that you have plenty of room all around you.
At speeds over 30 miles per hour, use the four-second rule for following vehicles: choose a landmark and start counting when the vehicle in front of you passes it. If you pass it in under four seconds after they passed it, you are following too closely.
There's really nothing you can do to "plan" for a car crossing the center line and heading straight for you, but think about what you would do in this and other situations. Start with the routes you drive most frequently and look at narrow lanes, areas with no shoulder, corners with bad visibility and other situations that could be a contributing factor to an accident, especially if an inattentive driver is anywhere around.
You don't have to drive far to see an irresponsible driver these days. There's always someone going too fast, cutting off other drivers or in general driving aggressively. Try to avoid them as much as possible but if they cut in front of you or honk or yell or whatever, do not engage; it's just not worth it. It's more important that you, your family and your vehicle get home in one piece than you getting out your frustration by yelling back at a nasty driver.
Consider taking a defensive driving class to enhance your driving skills and help to better prepare you for potentially dangerous conditions on the road due to other drivers or situations.
Great tips to keep us all safe on the road
Smart and truthful defensive driving tips.Well presented too.
Excellent advice for safe driving!
Very solid tips, especially in #1, please people, stop texting and driving and get off those cell phones .. hi5
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