You know that you’re a good driver – but what about everybody else out there on the road? On your daily commute, you may pass drowsy drivers, drunk (or hungover) drivers, drivers who are totally distracted from what they’re supposed to be doing and drivers who are simply error-prone.
That’s why defensive driving is such an important skill to have – but defensive driving is a skill that you have to learn. Here are some tips that can help:
Stay alert and focused
The first rule of defensive driving is to stay focused. This means paying attention to the road and your surroundings at all times, so put the cellphone on mute, turn down the radio and wait until you’re parked to drink your coffee or eat your lunch.
Keep your vehicle up
Keep your vehicle well-maintained to prevent breakdowns and ensure that your brakes, tires, and lights are working properly. While this sounds like a small thing, something like a missing tail light can lead to a serious accident.
Anticipate potential hazards
Anticipating and reacting timely to potential hazards is a key part of defensive driving, so always scan the road ahead for potential hazards such as potholes, debris or construction zones. Watch for other drivers who may be driving erratically or recklessly.
Stay cool and calm
Defensive driving also means staying calm and patient on the road. Avoid aggressive driving behaviors such as honking, tailgating or cutting off other drivers. Don’t get angry or frustrated if you’re stuck in traffic or running late, since that can cause you to lose your focus.
Keep your distance
The more distance you have between you and a hazard on the road, the more time you have to react, so leave plenty of space between your car and other vehicles. Experts recommend leaving a minimum of three seconds following time between vehicles – more when the weather is bad.
Ultimately, all the defensive driving techniques in the world can’t promise that you’ll remain accident-free. If you end up injured in a crash due to another party’s mistakes, seek legal guidance to find out more about what it takes to get fair compensation for your losses.