Out on the road, you’re constantly surrounded by drivers who refuse to use their turn signals, are too busy fiddling with the radio to focus on the road ahead, or are racing well above the speed limit to make it to work on time. These factors and more can cause traffic to become even more hectic than it already is.
Fortunately, there are a number of defensive driving tactics that can be used to get you to your destination safe and sound.
Maintain a safe distance from other vehicles on the road
Car accidents often take place when vehicles are too close to one another on the road. When one car is on the tail of another and the first car stops suddenly, the one behind may not have enough time to stop. Another instance is when two cars are driving side-by-side on a highway and one suddenly changes lanes, consequently sideswiping the other. These types of accidents can easily be avoided by keeping a significant distance between you and the driver in front of you, giving yourself enough time to react if a dangerous situation presents itself.
Never assume you know what another driver is going to do
Far too often, drivers will make assumptions about another driver’s actions. If they wouldn’t speed up on a ramp and merge onto a busy highway without checking to see if any cars are coming, then they assume no one else would either. So many avoidable accidents occur due to false assumptions. If you’re going to assume anything about another driver, it should be the worst. It’s better to be a little overly cautious than to put all of your trust in another driver’s actions.
Resist the urge to drive too fast
Increasing your speed can cut down the time to your destination, but it will also shorten your time to react and make a complete stop when the car in front of you suddenly stops or another driver abruptly cuts into your lane. While we aren’t suggesting you drive at 35 mi/hr. in a 45 mi/hr. zone, we do suggest that you make every effort to mind the speed limit on all roads.
Eliminate all distractions from your vehicle while driving
As recently as a decade or two ago, there weren’t as many distractions inside vehicles as there are today. These days, drivers can become distracted by everything from their cell phones to their navigational systems. While these items can come in handy during your drive, you should ensure they don’t distract you—at all—when you’re on the road. It only takes a few seconds to lose focus and cause an accident, so it’s important that your eyes are on the road at all times.