We all know that defensive driving is important, but it can be hard to remember all of the tips when we’re on the road. In fact, many don’t even know what defensive driving is. Well, defensive driving is key to staying safe on the road, but it’s easy to forget some of the tips when you’re in a hurry. The safety belt specialists at Orion Safety Belts have put together a list of 9 defensive driving tips to help you stay safe on the road. If you can simply remember to follow these tips, you’ll be a much safer driver.
1. Be aware of your surroundings
This is arguably the most important defensive driving tip. You need to be constantly aware of what’s going on around you. Look for potential hazards and be prepared to react to them. This means keeping your eyes moving and scanning the road ahead, to the sides, and behind you. If you are having trouble seeing, make sure to clean your windshield and mirrors and adjust your seat and steering wheel, so you have a clear view. It’s important that you be aware of other vehicles but also look out for pedestrians, animals, and potential obstacles on the road.
2. Don’t tailgate
Tailgating is when you follow another vehicle too closely. This is extremely dangerous because it doesn’t give you enough time to react if the car in front of you suddenly applies brakes or makes a sudden turn. You should always leave at least two seconds of space between you and the vehicle in front of you. If you’re driving in bad weather or on a slippery road, you should increase that distance to four or five seconds.
3. Use your indicators when turning
This seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t use their indicators to signal that they are about to turn. Always signal when you’re going to turn or change lanes. Not only is it the law, but it also lets other drivers know what you’re doing so they can react accordingly. This gives everyone more time to react and avoid an accident. If you’re not sure whether your indicators are working, make sure to check them before you hit the road.
4. Expect the worst from other drivers
Unfortunately, not everyone on the road is a defensive driver. You need to be prepared for the fact that other drivers may not be paying attention, may be tailgating, or may not signal when they change lanes. This doesn’t mean that you should be a paranoid driver, but you should always be ready for the possibility that another driver may make a mistake. If you try to always drive defensively, you’ll be less likely to be caught off guard by another driver’s mistake. That’s part of what defensive driving is all about: being prepared for the worst.
5. Drive defensively, not aggressively
Some people think that they need to drive aggressively to get where they’re going safely. But that’s not true! In fact, aggressive driving is one of the leading causes of accidents. And it’s not just about speeding—aggressive driving can also include tailgating, cutting off other drivers, and making sudden lane changes. You’re much safer if you just focus on driving defensively. The more you focus on other drivers and what they might do, the less likely you are to be involved in an accident.
6. Avoid distractions
It’s important to avoid anything that might take your attention away from the road. This means no texting, no talking on the phone, no fiddling with the radio, and no eating while driving. The best way to avoid distractions is to put your phone away before you start driving. If you need to use it for directions, pull over to a safe spot first. It’s also a good idea to let any passengers know that you’re going to be focused on driving and can’t talk.
7. Drive the speed limit
This is another one that seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people break the speed limit. Not only is it illegal, but it’s also dangerous. The faster you’re going, the less time you have to react to hazards on the road. And if you’re in an accident, the faster you’re going, the more likely it is to be serious. So always drive within the speed limit, and if the conditions are bad, slow down even more. What’s absolutely essential is that you always drive at a speed that’s safe for the conditions.
8. Don’t drink and drive
This should go without saying, but don’t drink and drive. If you’re going to be drinking, make sure to have a designated driver or take a cab. It’s not worth risking your life or the lives of others by getting behind the wheel when you’re drunk. You can always find a way to get home safely without getting behind the wheel. If you really can’t find a way home, it’s better to book a hotel to stay in than to try to drive while drunk.
9. Don’t drive when you’re tired
Driving when you’re tired is just as dangerous as driving drunk. If you’re starting to feel sleepy, pull over and take a nap. It’s better to arrive late than not at all. And if you’re on a long road trip, make sure to take breaks every few hours so you can rest. Driving when you’re tired is not only dangerous for you, but it’s also dangerous for everyone else on the road. With all the dangers of driving, it’s important to be as safe as possible. By following these defensive driving tips, you can help keep yourself and others safe on the road. If you want to brush up on your defensive driving skills, sign up for a defensive driving course. Community colleges or private driving schools usually offer these courses and can teach you how to drive more defensively.
Defensive driving is all about being aware of your surroundings and taking precautions to avoid accidents. By following these simple tips, you can help reduce your chances of being in a car accident and keep yourself and your loved ones safe on the road.