Defensive driving is much more than just obeying traffic laws. It means being aware of what is going on around the vehicle on the road. It also means to drive safely during potential unsafe conditions.
The primary goal of defensive driving is to avoid unnecessary accidents. There are steps that can be taken to identify potential hazards and help us in working to avoid them.
Ensure there is a clear line of site for other drivers and for the vehicle being driven:
- Do not assume that others have a clear line of site. Use mirrors and windows to check for a clear path when changing lanes and turning. Work to get out of a blind spot before passing. Keep signals on until the move is complete.
Stay alert to surrounding changes:
- Look ahead of the immediate area to be aware of any upcoming variations in traffic. Continually scan the area and watch for taillights. Keep internal car noises low to stay alert to horns or emergency vehicle sirens.
Reduce speed when necessary:
- This can apply to many situations including entering a construction zone, when driving in bad weather, when entering a school zone or an unusually congested area. Keep alert in these areas for pedestrians and people on bikes. This also applies to poorly maintained streets or one with many curves.
Trust cannot be placed in others to take safety precautions:
- Never assume tied down items or any type of load being carried is safe. If something looks loose or is bouncing a little bit more than it should be, slow down or move away from that vehicle. If following behind them give ample room and slow speed to stop quickly.
- Also watch for distracted drivers. If someone exhibits strange driving behavior such as driving very slow or fast or swerving in and out of lanes, avoid driving close to that vehicle.