What is Defensive Driving?Defensive Driving is a term coined in 1960s (the explosion of the automobile era) by the National Safety Council. It’s a term that defines a series of common sense driving techniques that, if followed, will help reduce the risk of automobile crashes by anticipating basic driving scenarios. As logic goes, even if you’re a seasoned professional driver, you’re still at risk due to factors outside of your control. Actions of other drivers contribute to many traffic crashes. Defensive driving teaches you to anticipate emergencies and actions of other drivers.
What does Defensive Driving Mean?The main thing to remember about defensive driving is that you must always PREDICT and ANTICIPATE what drivers and other street users (pedestrians, bike riders etc…) may do and what will you do to avoid it. You’re constantly looking ahead, asking yourself WHAT IF? What if the driver ahead of me slams on the brakes? What if that parked car opens a door? What if someone cuts in front of me? What if someone runs a red light? You get the picture.
Make sure you see them and most important… MAKE SURE THEY SEE YOU.Remember that you’re sharing the road with millions of drivers (over 200 million as of last count). To be safe driver you must work to communicate with other drivers and road users. Most of this wisdom is really simple; use your signals, make sure your brake lights are working, don’t drive in other vehicles’ blind spots, try to maintain an eye contact with other drivers, etc.
Be a PessimistWhen driving, the glass is always half empty. Don’t assume that the other motorist will do the right thing. In other words, it’s one case where its okay to assume that the other driver is an idiot who doesn’t know what he/she is doing (just don’t yell it out the window). To summarize, as a defensive driver you:
- Scan the road ahead and around you.
- Plan for Emergencies.
- Ask yourself: “What If?”
By following this easy and simple logic, you become a Defensive Driver who can predict and avoid many dangerous situations.
- Plan an escape route.
- Make sure that other drivers see you.
- Avoid distractions, like cell phones.