Defensive driving is one of those things that drivers want to learn, but most can’t afford to pay for extra lessons or they don’t want to subject themselves to a teacher again. Some people find it somewhat degrading to go back to driving school especially if they think of themselves as good drivers, but despite the misconceptions, a course in defensive driving is perhaps one of the best ways to update your knowledge of the road.
Fortunately, you don’t need a course to learn how to drive defensively—you just need a bit of advice. So to save you some money and the possibility of an injury, here’s a brief guide on how to drive defensively.
One of the biggest reasons for motoring incidents is a lack of visibility. Sometimes it’s unavoidable because of heavy fog, rain or snow, but that’s really no excuse to crash into someone else. If the weather conditions are debilitating, then slow down your vehicle unless you want to contact your nearest auto repair shop on your way to work. While you’re there, make sure all of your brake lights and indicators are working too, and use headlights whenever visibility is low.
Your eyes need to be fixed on the road, not looking at your phone or dozing off. A simple way to stay focused is to just put your hands on the wheel and keep them there. Never take your hands off for trivial things such as petting your dog, eating a snack or taking a drink. Using your smartphone while driving is illegal, so if you need to answer your phone consider getting a hands-free kit to help you out. Many bad drivers will shift their attention to unnecessary distractions, and this is what causes the majority of road accidents.
Driving slow is a great way to avoid accidents, but there’s also a chance that people will crash into you at some point as well. The best way to stay safe on the road is to actually maintain your speed so you are both predictable and easy to spot. The speed you should be targeting is the speed of the drivers around you. The entire road needs to move at roughly the same speed and no one should be too fast or too slow.
If you’re drowsy, distracted or simply not up for driving, then don’t. If you’re in the middle of a drive and find yourself yawning, make sure you pull over at the nearest convenient spot and take a nap if possible. Driving drowsy is essentially the same as driving while under the influence. Your reflexes aren’t as sharp, your eyes drift off and focus on unimportant things, and you have less overall control of your vehicle.
Keep Eyes Moving
Your eyes should be constantly darting around the car. You should constantly check your mirrors, you should always look at pedestrians and try to make eye contact so you know they’re there, and you should also watch out for traffic lights on the road. Keep your eyes active by focusing on different important objects on a regular basis.