Many aspiring drivers tend to forget that driving is not just about learning how to drive. It is about discipline and being careful on the road. Student drivers would only try to learn the basics. But there is more to driving than learning traffic signs. It is called defensive driving.
What is defensive driving? From an instructor’s point of view, defensive driving is awareness of a driver on the road. It is a way to reduce potential danger or accidents. It is to know the actions and possible reactions of other drivers on the road. Defensive driving is an essential practice to ensure safety while holding the stirring wheel.
Others would compare defensive driving to preventive maintenance. Some people would say that they are the same. They are entirely different from each other. Preventative maintenance focuses on keeping the engine and transmission systems in good condition. It is an initiative to avoid an accident. Defensive driving is how a driver sustains safety awareness to keep him in a safe position on the road.
Here are some ideas to guide everybody:
Keep a safe distance
One tip for new drivers is to look at the car in front of them. If you see the plate number, that means you are at a safe distance. This practice avoids any sudden bumps to the other car. It also allows drivers to move sideways when the vehicle in front of them gets involved in an accident.
Keeping a safe distance also allows drivers to see where the other cars are going. Giving others space enables drivers to react to sudden changes on the road. Always be aware of your distance between other vehicles. Look at the mirrors to see if other cars are closing by.
Do not drive if you are too emotional or exhausted.
Emotions could trigger humans to become hasty or out of focus. These emotions could lead to road accidents like being too excited or too upset. Remember scenes from a movie with a crying driver and was led to a car accident? That could happen to somebody if they are too emotional. Emotions could distract a person’s focus from anything they do, which leads to trouble or accident.
Exhaustion also prevents drivers from focusing on the road. It could make drivers fall asleep and get them involved in a car crash. Based on statistics, drowsy driving has become alarming, especially in the United States. It has an estimated ratio of 1 in 25 drivers on the road who falls asleep and get into an accident.
Keep a well-balanced body condition at all times. Make sure to get enough sleep and keep emotions in check. Try to relax before hitting the road to avoid trouble.
Do not use any mobile devices while driving.
One major cause of accidents is a distraction from mobile devices. Some drivers are holding their cellphones in one hand while stirring the wheel with the other. This habit will always invite an accident if a sudden passerby shows up. Distraction from mobile devices would divert drivers’ attention. Drivers will not be able to respond quickly in unexpected situations.
Experts suggest keeping any mobile devices off or kept in a safe place while driving. Most accidents happen because of mobile devices. These things have become one of the common reasons for road accidents until the present. Park to a side if there is an important call and offer a callback. It will help everyone from getting into an accident.
Keep yourself updated with road safety rules.
Road safety rules do not change every day, but it is always good to know some updates. Listen to the news and check if there are roads that are closed. Some highways are under construction, and you may need to learn if it is passable.
Always look at street signs. Few streets switch to a single direction on some occasions. It is best to know these updates to avoid entering a one-way zone.
Adapt your driving to weather conditions
Roads conditions could change depending on the weather. Some roads get too slippery during winter or rainy days. The best way to avoid an accident when driving in these weather conditions is to slow down. 30 mph or 40 mph is the speed limit to ensure that you get to your destination safe and sound. Drivers could also look at the speed limit signs to give them an ideal need for driving.
One way to be aware of road conditions is to look at road signs that would tell everybody if the road is safe or not. Some highways are high risked areas during rainy days. It could be prone to landslides or mud that could lead to accidents.
Safety first before anything else. Defensive driving is one way to keep everybody from harm. Remember that you are doing defensive driving not just for yourself but for those around you. If everybody observes defensive driving, everybody is safe.