When you begin to develop an understanding of vehicle dynamics and safe driving habits, you begin to appreciate the benefits of defensive driving. You’re prepared and ready to take action and not put your fate in the hands of other drivers.
Following these defensive driving tips can help reduce risk and help you progress in obtaining a driver’s licence:
- Start with safe distance at all times – Avoiding aggressive and inattentive driving tendencies yourself will put you in a stronger position to deal with other people’s bad driving. Leave plenty of space between you and the car in front. Always lock your doors and wear your seatbelt to protect you from being thrown from the car in a crash.
- Sharing the road — pay attention. Everyone who uses roads to drive, ride or walk has a responsibility to share the road with others. By respecting the needs of all road users, you can help make our roads safer for everyone. Check your mirrors frequently and scan conditions 20 to 30 seconds ahead of you. Keep your eyes moving. Also, keep an eye on pedestrians, bicyclists, and pets along the road.
- Take ownership — Be considerate of others but look out for yourself. Recognise where the other driver can make mistakes and crash with you can help you internalise. Plan your movements anticipating the worst-case scenario.
- Follow the 3- to 4-second rule — Since the greatest chance of a collision is in front of you, using the 3- to 4-second rule will help you establish and maintain a safe following distance and provide adequate time for you to brake to a stop if necessary. In bad weather conditions, increase your following distance an additional second for each condition such as rain, fog, and nighttime driving.
- Slow down — Posted speed limits apply to ideal conditions. It is our responsibility to ensure that speed matches conditions. Besides, slowing down can enable us to negotiate most driving situations to anticipate possible risks.
- Remain calm — If in rush-hour traffic, you can remain perfectly calm. Traffic is not going to go away but we can choose or learn to be with calm. What you practice grows stronger. Your goal is to avoid having to deal with any agitation or frustration that is out of your control.
- Overcoming distractions. Driving safe requires your full attention. Any activity that diverts your attention from the task of driving can be seen as a distraction. Driving deserves full attention — so stay focused on the driving task.
Invest in taking a defensive driving course to help sharpen your driving knowledge and skills, it’s worth the investment to be a smarter, safer driver.
Safe driver academy!