DEFENSIVE DRIVING TIPS
When you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, it’s important that you know your rights and responsibilities, to help bring justice for your suffering and compensation to your pain. The team of personal injury professionals at Murphy & Pressentin can help you recover monetary compensation for the losses to you and your family. We also bring you the following safe driving tips to help you avoid future disasters.
THE TOP 6 DEFENSIVE DRIVING TIPS
These 6 defensive driving tips are essential to becoming a safe driver. Defensive driving is defined as “driving to save time, lives and money, in spite of the conditions around you and the actions of others.”
While every situation is different and will require its own specific course of action, there are 6 very basic defensive driving tips that should always be followed while behind the wheel. If you discipline yourself to follow these 6 rules each time you drive, you will become a very safe driver and greatly reduce the risk of being involved in an accident. The key is self-discipline, as anytime you violate one of these rules you are putting yourself and everyone around you at risk.
1. ALWAYS BUCKLE UP
Wearing a seat belt is the best defense against serious injury or death in the event of an accident. Being ejected from a vehicle during a crash carries critical risk of death, and, at the very least, substantial severe injury. You and each of your passengers should be belted at all times that the vehicle is moving. This is especially true for children, who should be properly secured in safety car seats at all times.
2. LOOK FAR AHEAD
Human beings are not designed to travel at anything faster than 15 miles per hour. Higher speeds are simply unnatural for us. Unfortunately, many drivers get in the habit of looking directly in front of their vehicle and no further. This habit prevents drivers from developing situational awareness and recognizing potential hazards in the route ahead. So how far ahead should you look? As far as you can see! Our peripheral vision works very well at close range, while most of the risks we may encounter are further ahead. Look far down the road and anticipate any hazards. Many accidents could be avoided if drivers would have greater situational awareness and plan ahead by looking as far down the road as possible.
3. GET THE BIG PICTURE (BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS)
Do not become fixated on any one thing, especially the car or the roadway immediately in front of you. Keep your eyes moving, check your mirrors every few seconds and frequently scan conditions 20-30 seconds ahead. The ultimate goal is to never be caught off guard or surprised by something. Know where each and every vehicle is around you and spot all hazards early and often. It only takes a few seconds to get a clear picture of your surroundings and plan for an appropriate reaction to any unexpected and imminent hazard.
4. HAVE AN ESCAPE PLAN
In order to be one of the safest drivers on the road, you must always have an escape plan. This is a skill that is learned over time. While you may be a great driver, it’s hard to predict what other drivers around you may do. There are also factors beyond your control that can change a routine driving situation into a driving emergency quite quickly. Say a ball rolls into the road and you must slam on your brakes to avoid the child chasing behind. Or a truck blows a tire and veers out of control. These are the situational hazards which defensive drivers need to foresee. What will you do? Where will you go? In all driving situations, the best way to avoid potential danger is to position your vehicle where you have an alternate escape plan at all times.
Some possible dangerous scenarios:
- What if the driver ahead of you slams on the brakes for no apparent reason (an animal runs into the roadway or a tire blows)?
- What if an approaching driver drifts into your lane?
- Will someone run the red light or stop sign up ahead?
Unfortunately, you share the road with drivers who don’t take driving safely seriously. That’s why you must always leave yourself an out in case the worst happens. Having an escape plan is crucial to your safety.
Having an escape plan requires that you establish and maintain a buffer around your vehicle. If someone pulls up alongside you and matches their speed to yours, either speed up or slow down so that the lane next to you is clear. That way, if you need to swerve, you have somewhere to go. Likewise maintain a safe following distance so swerving won’t even be necessary. Beware of tailgaters. If you speed up, the tailgater will speed up too. Control the situation by slowing down and allowing the tailgater to pass. By establishing and maintaining a buffer zone, both in front, behind and to the side, you give yourself options and more than one escape route whenever possible.
5. MAINTAIN PROPER FOLLOWING DISTANCE
During dry weather driving conditions maintain at least 3 seconds between you and the car ahead. Do this by using a fixed object such as a mile marker post or something along the roadway. Once the bumper of the vehicle in front of you crosses that object, begin to count and maintain a three second separation. In bad conditions, increase your following distance by an additional second for each condition, such as rain, fog, nighttime driving, or following a motorcycle or large truck.
6. REDUCE DRIVING DISTRACTIONS
Driving distractions happen whether we want them to or not. We can put the phone in the glove box and pass on McDonald’s, but what happens when the bee flies in the window? Unintended driving distractions will happen on a regular basis, but this doesn’t mean you have to put yourself or others around you in danger. If something distracting happens, there’s only one thing you’ve got to do. Drive. That’s it – just drive! Don’t worry about anything else.