How to improve your defensive driving skills

How to improve defensive driving

Although driving might be a normal daily task for you, it is still one of the most dangerous routines many of us have to endure. Unfortunately, not everyone drives well. Some would violate speed limits, suddenly change lanes without signalling, not pay attention because they are on their phones, or tailgate other drivers. Although you can’t control the actions of other motorists, you have a great deal of control over your driving skills and how you operate your vehicle to increase your chances for a safe trip. After all, avoiding accidents is easier than having to handle a car accident. You can improve your driving skills by following defensive driving rules. Most licensed drivers are required to take a driver’s education class before being allowed to operate a motor vehicle. However, most drivers have not taken any type of defensive driving training. So, what is defensive driving you may ask?

Defensive driving is a set of driving skills and habits that combined with the current skills of drivers can help dramatically decrease the risk of accidents. These skills are focused on recognition and reactionary responses to problems you face on the road. These tips have helped me improve my driving skills through the years and I hope they can help you too! Here are the most important techniques I use.

Be prepared

It’s easy to get too casual about driving when you have been behind the wheel for years without any accidents. But you should never assume surprises never happen since that’s what surprises are! Getting too comfortable behind the wheel can affect your reaction time and judgement the next time a driver suddenly slams the brakes in front of you. Some drugs can affect you and make you drowsy, so avoid driving when under the influence. You should always keep both of your hands on the steering wheel. Being aware in this way can allow you to see hazards from a distance. If you do see a hazard, you can take safe, preventative action to keep your current driving environment safe and avoid a collision. You should also avoid driving a junk car with safety and handling issues. You can read more about recycling old cars here or if you are thinking about getting rid of your junk car, we can help you!

Focus on the road

When you are behind the wheel, it is of utmost importance to keep your eyes on the road. No matter how many times you have managed to check your phone while driving, fatal accidents are not worth the risk. You need to avoid any distractions such as having conversations on the phone or with the passengers, listening to the radio or eating or drinking. Keep all of these activities at bay and look down the road. Make sure to scan what is happening on the horizon to be able to make decisions and avoid accidents. You should notice things like signalling, road signs and speed limits and avoid staying in blind spots of other cars. You’ll want to learn to not just focus on the car that is right in front of you. Instead, you should be aware of your general surroundings and look further ahead for potential hazards.  Check your mirrors frequently and scan conditions 20 to 30 seconds ahead of you. If a vehicle is showing signs of aggressive driving, slow down or pull over to avoid it. Also, keep an eye on pedestrians, bicyclists, and pets along the road.

Be predictable

Many accidents on the road happen due to confusion. Sudden increases and decreases in speed, unexpected lane changes, and unpredictable stops can wreak havoc on the driveway. Do everything you can to make other drivers aware of your intentions. Use your directional signals before changing lanes or making turns. Increase or decrease speed and change lanes smoothly. Use your brake lights and headlights safely and consistently. In this way, you make your behaviour on the road predictable to other drivers and avoid surprising anyone around you.

Beware of other cars on the road

Keep your speed down

Speed limits usually apply to ideal road conditions, when there are no precipitations or traffic congestions. But when the ideal conditions don’t apply, the same follows for your speed limit. It’s your responsibility to ensure that your speed matches conditions. If things go wrong, higher speeds make controlling your vehicle much more difficult. There is also a higher probability of running red lights because you can’t make sudden stops when driving too fast. The leading cause of intersection collisions is running the red light. The best practice is to slow down before each intersection and evaluate the situation. Never race the yellow light.

Stay Safely Distant From the Vehicles Around You

There is a rule in defensive driving known as the three-second interval. Based on this rule, when you are driving it’s a good rule of thumb to always keep a distance of three seconds from the car in front of you. This 3 seconds adjusts you based on your speed and gives you enough time to control the car in case of sudden stoppages. You also need to keep your distance from cars beside you and stay in your lane. There are times when a driver might tailgate you, and in these situations, it is best to slowly change lanes and let them pass. A tailgate puts you in danger if you need to hit the brakes or decrease your speed suddenly. This brings us to the next tip, which is about yielding!

When in doubt, yield

Always side with caution when it comes to the right of the way. It’s better to get stuck for a moment than having to go through a collision. Some drivers might disagree and try to get in your way. My advice for you is to give in. Always assume that other drivers don’t know what they are doing and take it easy. Focus on your driving and be patient. It is important in situations like this that you don’t engage with a road-raging driver at all.

Drive a safe vehicle

If your car breaks down while you are driving on a busy highway, it can put you and your passenger lives at a lot of risk. If this happened, remember to use your signals and move your vehicle to the side of the road. Remember to exit the vehicle and stay somewhere safe and wait for help. But the best practice is to keep your vehicle functioning through regular maintenance checks. Oil changes can save you from breakdowns. Brake fluids need to be checked to avoid brake malfunctions. Properly inflated tires make for safer handling, and blowouts can cause an instant loss of control.

If your old car has outdated safety features and rusty brakes (and costs too much to repair), consider buying a car with high safety ratings and a large number of airbags. Invest in the right child restraints and seat belt adjusters for your family car, and don’t forget to use them. If you are looking for an upgrade and you need cash for your old unsafe car, our car removal services can help you.

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