DO you consider yourself a safe driver? If you’ve never had a traffic accident, you probably are lucky or a reasonably safe driver. However, traffic accidents are becoming more common every day, and are often not the fault of the victims who are badly injured. By learning some basic defensive driving techniques, you can greatly improve your chances of remaining injury-free and safe on the road.
There are many ways of learning defensive driving techniques. Most driving schools offer classes in defensive driving, as do many advanced driving programs and online traffic safety courses. Defensive driver education has come about after thorough research by experts into what commonly causes serious road accidents. Exhaustive analysis into this research has then gone on to produce the learning materials used to teach defensive driving tactics. Research now shows that drivers who adopt defensive driving as standard practice when traveling on the roads have a statistically better chance of avoiding serious injury.
We shall look at seven of the best defensive driving techniques.
1. Always anticipate danger and watch the road ahead.
Drivers who adopt good defensive driving techniques always watch ahead for in case early braking or evasive action is needed. Leave a good gap between your vehicle and those ahead, allowing plenty of time brake early. Carefully scan ahead for others entering a freeway or driving through an intersection. Even when you have the green light, it is wise to look for other drivers who may be trying to run a red light. As the saying goes, “priority is not safety”.
2. Always wear a seat belt.
Statistics have long shown that wearing a seat belt greatly improves your chance of surviving an accident. In recent times, many countries have incorporated driving without a seat belt into their traffic violations, and it is therefore illegal to drive without a seat belt. Love it or hate it, you must drive while belted up!
3. Avoid internal distractions.
This includes talking on the telephone, changing the CD player or flicking between radio stations. Making sure your mirrors are set before driving is vital for a clear view in both directions, as well as avoiding the distraction of adjusting them whilst driving. It is standard when driving safely to avoid any distracting activity at all which might take your attention away from the driving job at hand. Avoid installing Video screens in your front panel as they could lead to distraction of your attention and lead to avoidable accidents.
4. Take extreme care in heavy traffic.
Experts on defensive driving techniques suggest extreme risk exists when drivers find themselves in a large pack of cars. One oblivious move by any car in the pack has the potential to affect everyone else. The best course of action for accident avoidance is to safely navigate towards the front and away from the pack of cars. Avoid driving in a convoy as this could stress some driver s who may want to break away from the pack and hence causing accidents.
5. Keep away from heavy vehicles.
Keep a watchful eye out for heavy vehicles in your rear view mirror, and avoid driving in front of or beside them. Particular watch for and avoid heavy loads which don’t look secure, particularly when cornering or rounding bends. Many of these heavy vehicles have poor breaking distances and their drivers are more secure than those of small vehicles and hence the tendency to feel safe and cause insecurity for others.
6. Keep both hands on the wheel.
Safe drivers always grip the steering wheel with both hands. The correct defensive driving technique is to securely hold the wheel at the nine and three o’clock positions at all times. Many drivers think that it is cool to drive with one hand on the wheel; but when the vehicle loses control like in coming in touch with a slippery surface, it may take both hands to gain full control.
7. Avoid traveling in the “blind spot” of another vehicle.
“Blind spots” are a real trap for the unwary. A good rule of thumb to remember when overtaking or following other traffic is “if you can’t see their mirrors, they can’t see you!”
Adopting good defensive driving techniques is like riding a bike. Once learnt and incorporated into your driving routine, they will stand you in good stead for the rest of your life. And what is the point of acquiring defensive driving techniques? To protect you and your loved ones from trauma and serious injury caused by other irresponsible drivers.