Driving, no matter how often we do it, is a dangerous act that requires skill, attention, and multitasking. While most of us take to the roadways every single day, there are plenty of drivers who fail to observe the basic rules of the road. Due to risky drivers, amongst other factors, it’s important that all of us take part in defensive driving. Defensive driving essentially means to drive with correct habits, and stay alert to present, and potential, dangers in the roadway.
While most of us do this to some degree, there are many others who don’t understand exactly how to go about it. So, we’re here to help. Below, you will find some basic tips for defensive driving and protecting yourself from potential accidents…
Defensive Driving: Tips for Staying Alert and Safe
Focus on the Task at Hand
One quick way to put yourself at risk, is to stop defensive driving and become distracted. Distractions keep you from being alert in terms of road conditions, and drivers around you. Distractions are everywhere, and we often indulge just a little bit. From answering a phone call, a text, and changing the song on the radio— taking your eyes, or mind, off of the road can be quite dangerous. Instead, focus on your surroundings. Answer the call or text later, make your playlist ahead of time, and keep your eyes on the road.
When In Doubt, Yield
Many accidents come from uncertainty about who has the right of way. Should you go? Or is it their turn? An inability to make quick decisions, and slight hesitation, can lead to an accident in an instant. So, if you aren’t sure about oncoming cars, a stop sign, or a yield— wait for the space to clear, and then take your turn. However, there are plenty of defensive driving techniques and road rules as to how to handle these situations. If you find that you’re unsure, do a little research in your time off of the road.
One rule of thumb I always use for stop signs, is to ‘peel off layers’ of cars. The first person to make a full stop takes their turn, then another person, and continue this pattern from all sides of the stop. Take some time, learn standard protocol, and become a better driver. We can all do things to become better drivers.
Watch for Blind Spots
Blind spots are one of the leading causes in accidents. Therefore, you have to know where yours are located in your vehicles. For most cars, the blind spots exist on either side towards the rear of the vehicles. Most blinds spots are worse on the right side, being that it is one opposite the driver. Therefore, you should always check over your shoulder before merging or switching lanes. In addition, defensive driving requires you to be aware of other’s blind spots as well. By staying out of their blind spots, you reduce your chances of being in an accident.
Defensive driving is all about anticipating the moves of other drivers. When you anticipate their moves, you can help prevent yourself from being in harms way. So, pay attention to the roadway, prepare for potential danger, and keep your eyes on the road. An accident can happen in any instant, do what you can to prevent them on your end.