Ask Away...: What Is Defensive Driving and Why Should You Care?

Friday, November 10, 2017

What Is Defensive Driving and Why Should You Care?

I’ve you read any kind of safety articles on the internet about driving, then you’ve probably heard of defensive driving. It’s mentioned on a fairly regular basis and it’s touted as one of the best ways to avoid getting into car accidents and to also preserve the value of your vehicle in the event that you want to sell it in the future or trade it in for a new vehicle.

However, defensive driving can be seen as a vague term and not many people truly understand what it actually means. Does it mean to drive in a way that avoids other people, or is it the mindset you have to be in? In this article, we’re going to go through what defensive driving actually implies, and how you can learn it without forking over cash for lessons.

Driving can be simple enough, but defensive driving is a whole different ballgame. (Source)

Planning Ahead and Thinking of the Future

When driving defensively, the mindset you need to get into is “what could happen in 30 seconds from now?”. You always need to understand the risks that you could get into as a result of driving. Perhaps the car in front of you could suddenly break and cause you to collide with it, or maybe someone speeds past the red light in front of you and causes you to lose focus. There are hundreds of potential issues that could happen on the road, so understanding those risks and planning ahead for the unexpected is one of the key concepts of defensive driving.

Don’t Assume Something From Other Drivers

One of the first things you should learn from defensive driving is to never assume what other drivers will do. Sure, you need to anticipate what they could do, but don’t assume that they spot you coming into their vision and don’t expect them to see everything you do. If you end up in a car crash because you assumed the other driver would behave differently, then you’re going to need experienced car accident attorneys to help fight your corner because the blame will ultimately lie with you for assuming something of another driver. Defensive driving is all about planning ahead and learning how other drivers behave in order to be safer on the road, so don’t assume that other drivers have the same knowledge and experience that you do. If that were the case, then the road would be a lot safer than it is now and we’d see far fewer accidents. Sadly, some drivers just don’t care about others as long as they get from point A to B, so it’s your responsibility as a defensive driver to watch others in order to avoid getting into an accident.

Respecting Others on the Road

No matter what position you’re in, it’s important to respect others that are on the road. Be it pedestrians crossing or other drivers at your side, you need to respect them enough to not pull ahead in front of them or to initiate some kind of argument with them for a small problem. Even cyclists should be respected. If you see them cycling into the road because someone’s pulled over their car in the cycling lane, then give them the priority. Let them pass so they can quickly turn back into the cycling lane to get out of your way. The person at fault here is the driver that parked their car in the middle of a cycling lane, not the cyclist themselves.

Understanding Road Conditions

Now that it’s getting colder, there’s a much higher chance of roads being frosty and tires having less grip. Defensive driving is a lot about preparation, so it’s important to have the right car accessories and tires installed for when it starts to get cold and frosty. Your local garage or mechanic friend can probably give you a lot of information about what tires to purchase, when to change them and how to get the best deals on them. In short, make sure you prepare your car for winter to avoid any potential issues and accidents that could be caused by hazardous roads. As a defensive driver, it’s your responsibility to know the conditions you’re driving in, so whether it’s rain, snow or ice, make sure you’re ready for it.

Hopefully, these tips have given you some insight into what it’s like to think defensively when driving. It doesn’t take too much work or effort, and most of these tips are common sense. However, it’s still important to be told what defensive driving is and how you can integrate it into your driving.

 photo ScreenShot2014-06-25at102225PM_zps4fdda517.png

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