Whether you’re taking a defensive driving course online or in person, there are various rules, regulations and laws that you’ll be filled in on. For some, this will be nothing more than a review of what you learned in your driver’s training program when you were working toward earning your driver’s license. But for others, for one reason or another, what is gleaned may be additional information that otherwise may not have been known. A driving safety course is beneficial for a lot of reasons.

For starters, it can help convey to your insurance company that you’re serious about your driving and help to lower your annual premiums. Successful completion can also prevent traffic citations from going on your driving record. Whatever the reason for your driving course attendance, one of the biggest things you’ll learn is how to drive safe while on the road. On that note, we present the top rules of defensive driving:

The Top Rules of Defensive Driving

1. Avoid Distracted Driving

Though many states have laws against texting while driving, it still happens. And this, combined with eating, talking on the phone, checking e-mail and more, can all take its toll on safe driving. Avoiding any sort of distraction while you’re driving is key to safely operating your vehicle. The same goes for driving impaired – just don’t do it. Not only is it illegal, but it could cause serious harm – or even death – to you or someone else.

2. Use Your Turn Signals

Turn signals are a standard feature on your vehicle for a reason – they help other drivers that you share the road with know of your driving intentions, whether it’s a turn or changing lanes. Speaking of the latter, though many vehicles now come with lane change assist features, you should still always manually check your blind spots before moving over. Technology helps make driving safer, but try to think of it more as a complementary feature than a full-blown safety solution.

3. Use Extra Caution Around Intersections

Intersections are parts of the road where accidents are more likely to occur. They typically occur when people run red lights or turn when they’re not supposed to. Always use extra caution around intersections. A good tip is to check both ways when your light turns green to make sure that nobody is blowing a red light, and everyone is stopped.

4. Focus on the Big Picture

While it can be common for drivers to only focus on the vehicle directly in front of them, we encourage you to look more at the big picture on the road. Try to keep your vision horizontal and see the road ahead of you – not just the car that’s right ahead of you. Doing so will keep you better alert to any hazards that have the potential to cause a traffic accident. On that note, always make sure you’re following at a safe distance to give yourself enough time to stop.

5. Use Common Sense

Finally, don’t underestimate the role that common sense plays when it comes to safe driving. For instance, if you see a vehicle driving erratically, make sure that you distance yourself from it. The same goes for if someone is driving aggressively – stay away from that vehicle and don’t make eye contact with the driver. Just being aware of the conditions and other drivers on the road can go a long way toward good, safe driving. Another common-sense tip: wear your seat belt! Though a legal requirement, you’d be surprised just how many people don’t do it. Simply put, seat belts save lives.