by Allen Brown
Driving is a dangerous but unavoidable activity. From aggressive drivers to bad weather conditions, a lot of factors combine to make road accidents one of the leading causes of death and injury.
Fortunately, there are simple steps you can take to remain safe on the road. This is known as defensive driving. Defensive driving is driving with techniques that anticipate and mitigate potential accident scenarios. Check out these simple driving tips.
Driving is not just about moving your car in a direction, it’s a task that requires a lot of thinking. When you’re behind the wheel you also have to think about road conditions, your position, traffic laws, stop signs, pedestrians, following directions, other drivers, and a lot of other things. This is why you must remain focused at all times.
So while driving you must avoid distractions like texting, phone calls, grooming, and eating. Don’t get overconfident in your driving abilities.
Be Aware Of Your Surroundings
Pay attention to what’s going on around you when you’re on the road. Don’t just look straight ahead the whole time. Check your rearview mirror, passenger mirror, and driver’s side mirror to properly gauge your surroundings.
Keep an eye out especially for pedestrians, cyclists, other drives, and pets. This way, you’ll have time to react smartly should anything happen.
Depend On Yourself
Do not depend on other drivers when you’re driving. While you must always be considerate and follow road etiquette it’s best to always assume that the other driver is an aggressive driver. The reality is that most drivers are. They will switch lanes without signaling, attempt to overtake you, run through red lights and stop signs, and exhibit rude and insulting behavior.
When you assume that every driver is aggressive you brace yourself to handle the worst. This is preferable to assuming that other drivers will do the right thing and getting caught off guard when they do things like cut sharply in front of you.
Do Not Speed
No matter how late you are or for whatever other reason, you must always adhere to speed limits. Speeding is the second most common cause of auto accidents, and there are always unexpected hazards on the road that require a quick reaction, and speeding means you’re less in control of your vehicle. Resist the urge to step on it past the speed limit even when the road appears to be quiet as this is misleading. Also, remember that posted speed limits apply to ideal conditions so it’s your responsibility to ensure that your speed matches the real conditions.
Do Not Drive Under The Influence
Driving under the influence means being in control of your vehicle whilst you’re impaired by a substance to the point that you’re incapable of properly controlling the vehicle. A common thought is that these substances refer only to alcohol. In fact, they include not just alcohol but marijuana, prescription pills, and other illegal drugs.
Driving Under The Influence has caused millions of devastating accidents. It’s the most dangerous form of driving. Never drive when you’re impaired by drugs or alcohol. Instead, have a sober friend drive you or call a car service like Uber or Lyft.
Do Not Tailgate
Tailgating is driving so closely at the rear of the car in front of you that there’s very little space between the two cars. Avoid tailgating. Tailgating is a bad idea because it’s very easy to collide with the other car due to the increased risk. You won’t have time to brake if the other car stops suddenly, reverses abruptly, or makes a sharp turn.
Use the 3 to 4-second rule. Leave a 3 to 4-second space between you and the other car. To do this, simply:
- Pick a stop sign, speed limit sign, telephone post, or really any inanimate object on the side of the road.
- Wait till the vehicle in front of you passes by the inanimate object.
- Start counting slowly to 4 seconds; “one Mississippi”, “two Mississippi” …
- You want to get to four seconds in the time it takes your car to get to that object.
If weather conditions are bad, like the roads are slippery with rain or snow, increase the counting time accordingly.
Have An Emergency Escape
It is advisable to always have an alternative route. Find a path where you can move your vehicle if the road is suddenly blocked. This should be a path where you can see and be seen. This way you can avoid potential dangers even before they start to become a real threat.
In 2018 The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that 36,560 people were killed and 2.71 million injured in road accidents. Taking precautionary measures that’ll help you avoid getting hurt while driving is essential.