Defensive driving protects you from other drivers, the weather and bad habits. Defensive driving is a technique that helps you being aware of your surroundings, and how to react to risky situations while driving.
At ABC Driving School (Vernon, BC), we are integrating defensive driving in our driving lessons in order to build the awareness in our students that there are things outside their control that can pose risks. We educate and give them the skills to minimize those risks. This can save them, passengers and other drivers from accidents and injury.
The Main Concepts of Defensive Driving
Your Attitude Matters
If you aim to become a good defensive driver, you need to possess qualities that will help you avoid any road altercations. One of the best and most important qualities is patience and respect towards other drivers. You also need to be considerate and cautious about your actions on the road. More importantly, you need to show cooperation and respect. Whenever there is an aggressive driver, learn to let go and give way. Even if faced with a rude and disrespectful driver, learn to take the high road and choose to ignore. Remember, the goal of driving is to go from point A to point B as safely as possible. Do not let angry heads get in the way of your driving goal – to reach your destination safe and sound.
Use Your Car’s Safety Features
Mirrors are one of the best things that can help you be aware of your surroundings. Before going out, check to see if your mirrors are positioned perfectly. Adjust it as it needs to be at a perfect angle from your viewpoint. As you are seated, glance at your side and rear mirrors a couple of times before starting your vehicle to ensure that you are all set.
Seat belts are necessary for the driver and all the passengers. As a driver, make it a requirement that all your passengers can ride with you only if they agree to wear their seat belts. Ensure that children’s car seats also pass the standards of road safety.
Regular vehicle maintenance is very important. A well maintained vehicle is also part of defensive driving.
Remove Potential Distractions
The mobile phone is one of the top causes of distractions on the road. Texting, calling, or checking a social media notification can result in an accident in a matter of seconds. Commit to keeping your mobile phone inside your bag or inside your compartment to avoid temptations.
Other forms of distractions include food, putting on makeup, and taking a sip from your drink. These things can wait so drivers should discipline themselves to focus on nothing else but the road.
Keeping a Safe Distance
Defensive driving calls for keeping a certain distance between you and any vehicle out there to ensure your safety. Defensive driving teaches you the concept of the 3-second rule or keeping 3 seconds away from the vehicle in front of you. Add another second if you are driving in bad weather or if you are trailing a large truck.
Make Yourself Visible to Other Drivers
Whenever there are road mishaps, you’d often hear drivers say that they didn’t see the other car coming. So many road collisions happen because a driver failed to see an approaching vehicle or a vehicle nearby. Defensive driving would require you to make your presence felt out there. In short, you need to be seen and heard by surrounding vehicles. Having proper tail and headlights and utilizing them is one of the best ways to announce you are incoming. Your car honk is there to catch the immediate attention of other cars.
Always have a Way Out
When driving in a highway, for example, you position yourself in such a way that you can maneuver your vehicle away immediately as soon as an accident happens ahead of you. Usually, defensive drivers do not sandwich themselves between two cars as there is no escape route in this scenario. Defensive drivers also make enough space for their vehicles in approaching road lane mergers. Basically, it requires positioning yourself similar to having a safety bubble from all other road elements.