The following defensive driving tips will make you a much better driver. We’ve all seen them: the pileups along I-95. Many of us may have even been involved in such a crash, and were fortunate enough to walk away with minimal injuries.
While there is no way to guarantee you can avoid being involved in a car accident, there several defensive driving tips that will minimize the risk.
Here are the Top 5 Defensive Driving Tips.
#1: Be an in-the-moment driver. Paying attention to your surroundings is one of the main ways to keep yourself safe and accident-free. This means not talking on your cell phone or texting, no daydreaming, and no rifling through or purse or fiddling with the radio. Also make sure you are paying attention to more than just the car in front of you. The more plugged in you are, the faster you can identify traffic problems and adapt to them. Also, did you know that when drivers listen to high energy music they are more apt to drive aggressively? Don’t bother with it.
#2: Expect the worst out of other drivers. Never assume the drivers around you are paying attention to the road. Many drivers speed and don’t pay attention to road signs. Exercise caution when driving through heavy traffic, maintaining a safe distance between you and the car in front of you.
#3: Maintain your vehicle. According to the Rubber Manufacturer’s Association, 12% of U.S. vehicles have at least one bald tire, which greatly increases the chance of an accident. Don’t be one of them! Make certain your tires have enough tread and are properly inflated.
#4: Respect the big trucks. Sometimes it seems as if semi drivers think they own the road. It’s important to remember, however, these trucks are much heavier and require a longer amount of time to stop than the average vehicle. Make it a priority to not pull out in front of a semi, and don’t assume a truck driver sees you. If a truck is behind your vehicle, give a signal in time to allow the truck plenty of space to stop. So lets revisit the question one more time. Do big trucks own the road? I you base your judgement on weight the answer is YES. Keep you and your family safe and respect these guys. This is one defensive driving tip to remember.
#5: Focus Your Eyes Farther Out. If you don’t recognize an accident soon enough, you’ll never have the time to respond to the problem. Keeping your eyes 200 yards out will be against your instincts but it will prove to be a valuable defense driven technique. Don’t worry so much about a dangerous event happening near you. Your peripheral vision will detect it.
Drivers must realize operating a vehicle can be dangerous. Taking time to implement these 5 smart tips will go a long way in keeping you out of vehicle collisions, and helping you to arrive safely.
More Small But Important Defensive Driving Tips
- Long Trips – Get eight hours of eleep before a big trip – Here’s a quick story. I was on a non stop trip to Vegas in 1998. I was driving three axel RV. I was almost killed due to lack of sleep. Sleep deprivation is a powerful force. Be forewarned.
- Long Trips – Use the Waze phone application – It will warn you of accidents, approaching bad weather, hazards, speed traps, and much more. Read more about it here.
- Looking – when turning left on a road look left first, then right then left again. Then pull out if clear.
- Turning – When you need to turn left while on a busy road keep the wheels straight before turning. If the tires are turned and you get rear ended you will get shot out into moving traffic and killed.
- Four Wheel Drivers – If you have four wheel drive it doesn’t mean you are superman. You still can loose control. Drive conservatively
- Communication – If your on a highway and a semi wants to turn into your lane let him know that he is clear by flashing your lights. Communicate with them.
- Communication – If you arrive at a four way stop sign with another driver flash you lights and let him pass.
- High Beams – If it’s night time and a driver won’t dim his lights, don’t get into a flicker battle with him or her. Just focus your eyes on the right edge of the road until the driver passes.
- Tailgaters – If someone is on your tail, pull over and let them pass. Avoid the aggression with non aggression.
- Your Car Breaks Down – If you car breaks down get it off the road as fast as possible. Do not leave it in the road. This one seams obvious doesn’t it.
- Signaling – When highway driving always turn the signal on first BEFORE looking. Don’t reverse it.
- Merging – When merging onto a highway IMMEDIATELY accelerate to highway speed then merge in. this is especially true in New Jersey. Some on ramps are insanely short.
- City Driving – Avoid it! Take the train. This is especially true in New York City. The Cab drivers live on the streets and they are nuts. Keep you sanity intact, don’t do it.
- City Driving – Be mentally ready to brake with little warning. The pedestrian volume is high. Locals don’t care about street lights. Keep you head on a swivel.
- City Driving – Know the laws. You can not turn right at a red light in NYC. Beware.
- City Driving – Drive at the same speed as the other cars. If your lost, let your passenger look for the landmarks. You’re role is to drive and that’s it. You can always go around the block and try again. Do not drive slow.
- City Driving – If your at a green light and the car in front of you has crossed the intersection but is just on the other side, don’t pull forward placing your car in the middle of the intersection. If the light goes red pedestrians will begin crossing blocking you from moving forward. You’ll get stuck in the grid. You will be in hell at this point.
What are your best defensive driving tips? Reply below and let us know.