By: Ursula Nizalowski
As a driver, it’s important to protect yourself from any possible accidents that might happen. One such tactic is defensive driving, which is defined by DriversEd.com as “a set of driving skills that allows you to defend yourself against possible collisions caused by bad drivers, drunk drivers, and poor weather”. In other words, these are strategies to deal with obstacles that may be encountered on the road. So listed below are the top five tips for driving defensively that will hopefully allow you to be safe without too many problems.
When going anywhere, one should keep various factors in mind. The first is the weather, since adjustments will have to be made to one’s vehicle such as turning off cruise control for rain and snow with the latter condition involving tire chains according to Trusted Choice’s website. Apart from that, a driver should also anticipate unexpected hazards and have a plan for handling them. For instance, if you see someone recklessly driving between lanes then keep them in mind as you’re driving along. Of course, no two situations are alike and thus it’s better to be cautious than caught off-guard.
Arguably, the best way to avoid any sort of accident is by paying attention to one’s surroundings while driving. This means not getting distracted by electronic items such as your cellphone and doing ‘chores’ that DriversEducationUSA.com uses as a reference for things like “eating, smoking, drinking or putting on makeup”. Now in terms of the surroundings, one should look ahead of the road as well as behind to anticipate any hazards that might arise. You should also take note of other drivers and how they’re moving in order to maneuver your vehicle accordingly. Because after all, you’re not in control of how they drive versus how you do and should not let them affect you either physically or emotionally.
Keep A Safe Distance from Other Vehicles
Since drivers can be unpredictable due to either being reckless, tired, or inebriated, it’s best to make sure to maintain a safe distance between you and the other vehicle. But what is considered a safe distance? Well, according to DriversEducationUSA.com, you should “have at least 3 seconds of driving time based on your current speed between you and the vehicle in front of you”. Basically, it means the speed at which you’re going should be at least 3 seconds faster or slower than the other vehicle. That way, there’s less of a chance for a collision either from the front or back of your vehicle.
Alert Drivers of Your Movement
While aggressive drivers don’t let other drivers know when they’re moving or which direction they’re going, a defensive driver will. How defensive drivers do this is “by communicating with turn signals, hand signals, and your vehicle’s lights” as advised by DriversEducationUSA.com. You can also use your head and hands to communicate to drivers, so long as it doesn’t mess up your own driving. Now this may seem like one more thing to do on top of everything else, and even annoying from the other driver’s perspective, but it’s for everyone’s safety. Since let’s not forget, people’s lives hang in the balance.
Yield If Necessary
Though one can do a great deal to prepare, determining the right of way can be tricky. When it’s uncertain, yielding to the other driver is safer. However, this approach should only be done as a last resort if you have no other choice. Also, don’t try to brake too suddenly as that could make the situation worse. But ultimately, it’s your call to determine whether it’s best to yield or not. Still, a bad yield can have consequences as the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety claims “men have a harder time yielding the right of way, with a ratio of 1.5 to 1 for ‘failure to yield’ violations” (quoted by Trusted Choice).
For any accidents that do occur, though, contact attorney Rick Wagner.