When driving on the road do you take every precaution possible to help prevent an accident on the road? If not, then you certainly should as although you may not have any control over the actions of others on the road, you do have the power to decide how you operate and control your own vehicle. If you’re wondering how to do this, then defensive driving is quite possibly the best way to do this. What is defensive driving you may ask? Well, the aim of defensive driving is to reduce car accidents by anticipating dangerous situations that may occur. Helping you to adapt quickly and to minimise your chances of an accident, follow our tips to help protect yourself while on the road.
Here are our top tips for defensive driving and how you can help to avoid having an accident:
1. STAY ALERT AND FOCUSED
As simple as it may sound, the key to driving safely is to remain focused. Before getting into the car try to ensure that you have a clear and alert mind. Even if you feel tempted to, do not even for a second, take your eyes off the road as this can increase your chances of being involved in an accident.
2. ANTICIPATE OTHERS TO MAKE A MISTAKE
When you’re driving on the road you are susceptible to the actions of others. More often than not it is others on the road who are a potential hazard and it is usually their mistakes which will cause an accident. To help reduce the risk of an accident, you should expect others to make a mistake on the road and prepare to react appropriately. One of the worst things you can do is make assumptions about other road users, for example, that they are concentrating and have seen you as you cannot trust other road users.
3. ALWAYS USE SIGNALS
Always ensure that when you’re driving that you make yourself visible. To help ensure that you are seen by others, there are several things that you can do. For example, use your indicators, turn on your headlights before dark and ensure that your brake lights are fully working. In doing this, you will provide drivers, pedestrians and cyclists of your intentions so that they have to prepare and react. Try and give plenty of notice to help to avoid causing any accidents.
4. DECREASE DISTRACTIONS
When you’re behind the wheel you should try to avoid all forms of distracted driving. This can include, making phone calls, texting, adjusting the radio, looking at passengers and many more. Distracted driving is one of the main causes of car accidents so do try to keep your eyes on the road with minimal distractions. If you do find yourself needing to adjust anything while driving, ensure that you pull over to a safe place to avoid being distracted.
5. ADAPT TO THE CONDITIONS OF THE ROAD
As the weather changes, so should your driving. Road conditions change all of the time, whether it be construction work or the rainy weather, you should adapt your driving to suit the conditions of the road and if this requires you to slow down, then so be it. As long as you are focused on the task in hand, then you should have instant reactions and precise movements on the road.
6. AVOID BLIND SPOTS
Never rely on other drivers to check their blind spots when driving. We all know that blind spots can make it difficult to see other vehicles in if they are travelling next to you in a particular spot, which is why you should ensure that you never stay in blind spots for too long. If you are following a truck, it is much more difficult for the driver to spot you so a rule to remember is that if you cannot see the driver in the mirror, he cannot see you.
7. AVOID ROAD RAGE
As I’m sure we are all aware, driving can be rather frustrating at times and we can often find ourselves in a bit of a rage. If you find yourself getting a little angry and hot-headed as you have just had to deal with an aggressive driver, try not to retaliate as this could potentially increase your risk of an accident. Keep calm and no what happens, keep your eyes on the road.
8. MAINTAIN A SAFE DISTANCE
By allowing yourself room between your vehicle and those around you, you are providing yourself with room to adjust if needs be. Following other vehicles too closely can put you in a dangerous situation so try to maintain a safe distance to help avoid any accidents. Remember the two-second rule? This is a general rule in which you should allow for at least two seconds between your vehicle and the one in front, which will also provide you with enough stopping distance should you need to slam on your brakes.