How to Be a Defensive Driver: 5 Helpful Tips

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For many of us, our car is an extension of our homes, a comfortable and secure space. And while you should feel safe in your car, that feeling can make it easy to forget just how dangerous driving is, not only because of our own mistakes but those of others as well.

The fact is, there are over 30,000 fatal motor vehicle crashes in the United States every year. It’s vital that we take steps to increase our safety behind the wheel. One of the best ways to do so is to learn how to be a defensive driver.

Read on to learn how to reduce your accident risk by driving defensively.

1. Stay Focused

The most beneficial thing you can do for your own safety and the safety of others is to stay focused at all times behind the wheel. Put your electronic devices out of reach, never drive while tired, and do your best to avoid daydreaming and becoming distracted by accidents and other roadside events.

Last, as tempting as it can be, don’t attempt multitasking. Eating, drinking, putting on makeup, etc., all increase your risk. It’s better to pull over for a moment than take your eyes off the road.

2. Brake Early

While you can’t control how closely you’re followed by other drivers, you can ensure that you stay a safe distance behind the car in front of you. When you’re driving, pay attention to the lines in the middle of the road. If you pass by a line less than 3 seconds after the car in front of you, you’re driving too close.

Regardless of the distance between yourself and the other vehicle, it’s always a good idea to brake earlier than you think you need to. This will give you time to come to a complete stop and give the person behind you plenty of warning.

3. Scan Your Surroundings

One of the reasons it’s essential to avoid daydreaming while driving is that you should be constantly scanning your surroundings on the road. Instead of staring ahead at all times, switch your focus between your windshield, rearview mirror, and side mirrors every few seconds.

Keep an eye on surrounding vehicles and make a point to glance around intersections as you approach them to look for approaching cars.

4. Expect Mistakes

Of all the safety tips we can give you, one of the best is to expect other drivers to make mistakes. Even if you’re a perfect driver, the odds that you’re surrounded by nothing but other perfect drivers is slim to none.

Everyone makes mistakes now and then. The more aware you are of your surroundings, the more likely you’ll be able to avoid falling victim to someone else’s carelessness.

5. Avoid Road Rage

We’ve all been cut off on the road before, probably more than a few times. As tough as it might be to keep your temper when things like this happen, it’s vital that you do.

Being a reactionary driver is a great way to put yourself and those around you in danger. Instead, stay calm, cool, and collected – even when it’s hard. Take a deep breath and maintain your safe driving habits.

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Stay Safe by Learning How to Be a Defensive Driver

The ability to get from one place to the next in a matter of minutes via car is an incredible feat of modern technology. We’re so desensitized to it, however, that we forget we’re behind the wheel of a multi-thousand-pound piece of metal.

There’s no way to ensure total safety behind the wheel, but by learning how to be a defensive driver, you’ll greatly reduce your risk. 

To learn more tips for staying safe on the road, take a look at our blog! You can never be too careful when it comes to the well-being of your loved ones.

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