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Basic defensive driving techniques

Mar 7

You may be the soundest driver on the planet, but that doesn't mean you're immune to other drivers' antics. Defensive driving involves possessing the skills necessary to predict, react to, and reduce the risk while behind the wheel. Here are some of the basic defensive driving techniques.

Keep On your eyes up and your mind on the task at hand. Sit with your gait held high so you can see the road. Concentrate solely on the task of driving. This, among other items, allows you to be more aware of traffic rules, check your mirrors, and stay inside the speed limit. When driving, avoid using your phone or tablet. If you are arrested, you can be fined up to $1,000 or imprisoned for up to six months, or both. Repeat offenders face a double sentence.

Keep an eye on the large picture and remain vigilant. Always keep an eye on the road and your surroundings to spot possible hazards, such as moving vehicles. It would be beneficial if you had all of your wits about you to respond to unexpected circumstances, such as when a car in front of you suddenly slows, or a car next to you swerves to avoid hitting a cyclist. Suppose you become tired or sleepy while driving, pull over to a safe location and rest for a few minutes before continuing.

Always have a back-up plan. If your immediate travel path is abruptly blocked, be sure to plan an alternate route for your car. Avoid being obstructed by other vehicles, and don't drive too closely behind them.

Expect other people to make errors. You may have indicated your intention, but that does not guarantee that other drivers will yield to you. But take a peek before changing lanes. Prepare for drivers who will run red lights or pedestrians who will make a fast dash and respond at traffic intersections. Don't just step forward because the sun is shining brightly in your direction. Maintain a reasonable distance.

Maintaining a proper distance between you and the driver in front of you needs precision timing. Every second count, so keep the 3-second rule in mind when holding your length. Climate or road conditions that are twice as long are not desirable. Leaving enough space between your car and other vehicles allows you to prevent unintended accidents.

Adapt to the conditions on the lane. Road conditions may be affected by unforeseen circumstances such as poor weather or building. Adjust your driving habits in such situations. Even if the speed limit is not exceeded, you can plan to slow down if there is construction. It would be beneficial if you remained on high alert even after you'd left the accident scene, keeping an eye out for debris pulled by other cars.

Keep an eye on your own and others' blind spots. Before making a right or changing directions, keep an eye out for cars that could be driving next to you in your blind spot. Larger vehicles with wide blind spots, such as trucks or buses, should be avoided. If you can't see the driver in the big vehicle's mirror, you can bet the driver can't see you either.

Keep an eye out for other cars. If you see a vehicle that seems to have been in an accident, don't approach it too closely. These signs mean that the vehicle owner might not be a defensive driver, and you should avoid driving too close to the vehicle to prevent risk and for your protection.