Every time you drive, you take your life and the lives of the passengers in your vehicle in your hands. It is easy to ignore the risk because driving is part of everyday life. However, it only takes a few moments for someone to completely change the quality of your life or your family’s.
Defensive driving is a way for people to protect themselves on the roads and minimize the likelihood of a crash. Practicing the four defensive driving habits listed below can reduce how likely you are to experience a motor vehicle collision.
Remain attentive at all times
The first rule of defensive driving is to keep your mind focused on your circumstances. You can’t defend against what you don’t notice. External distractions like mobile phones and internal distractions like daydreams are major risk factors for modern crashes.
Assume that others will endanger you
Maybe you recognized the vehicle across the intersection as someone who goes to your church. Perhaps you mostly drive in your own neighborhood.
Even if you know the people on the road with you, you don’t know their current mental state or whether they took prescription medication or had an after-work drink before getting behind the wheel. You should assume that anyone on the road might make a mistake at any time and watch them carefully.
Watch for and use turn signals
Keeping a close eye on what other drivers intend to do will reduce your likelihood of colliding with them. You can also limit your liability and collision risk by consistently using turn signals, even when you only need to turn into your driveway.
Always double-check before proceeding
Some people will do more than look both ways before proceeding through an intersection. They will look left, then right and then left again.
Pausing for that extra second means that you won’t be in the middle of the intersection when the driver turning without using their signal moves forward. It also means that if someone breaking the speed limit comes hurtling over the hill, you aren’t directly in their path because you thought the road was clear.
Applying defensive driving rules to every trip out on the road can reduce your risk of causing a motor vehicle collision or being hurt by irresponsible drivers.