Don’t assume that driving defensively only entails following the rules of the road yourself. While that’s an important part of safe driving, being a defensive driver is more than that. The following are some tips that can help you learn how to be a defensive driver. But first, it’s helpful to point out why defensive driving is so important.
The Importance of Defensive Driving
There were 124,149 reportable crashes in the state of Pennsylvania in 2013, reports the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. The majority of those accidents were the result of driver error.
Following the rules of the road to avoid making an error yourself is key to preventing accidents. But don’t assume that others will drive safely too. That’s what defensive driving is all about. Make sure you are aware of your surroundings, including road hazards and other drivers. Attempt to anticipate other drivers’ actions, but never assume that a driver will do what you think he will or should do.
Tips for Driving Defensively
Driving defensively requires a commitment to awareness and safety. Below are some tips for driving defensively.
- Pay attention to your surroundings – know where other vehicles are on the road and watch for road hazards.
- Assume that other drivers are not driving defensively – in other words, don’t assume that a driver will or do what he should.
- Keep a cool head – road rage is never the answer.
- Eliminate distractions – distractions take away your ability to drive safely and pay attention to the road so you can take anticipatory or evasive action.
- Watch your blind spots – this is keeping with knowing where other vehicles are on the road.
- Double check intersections before accelerating – again, never assume that other drivers will do what they should do, including stopping for red lights or stop signs.
- Keep a safe distance from unsafe drivers – never ‘punish’ an aggressive or inconsiderate drivers; instead, keep your distance to stay safe.
In addition to the above, consider enrolling yourself — and any members of your family who are of driving age — in a defensive driving course. You can find courses offered near you by visiting NSC.org.
Want more information about safe driving and other topics related to road safety? Visit our car accidents blog and distracted driving blog for more articles like this one.