So what exactly do we mean by “defensive driving?” It means that you drive with the question “What if?” constantly cycling through your mind. Say you are coming up to an intersection regulated by a four-way stop. You can see a car coming toward you on the other side of the intersection. The thoughts you might have range from “what if he runs the stop sign?” to “what if he runs the stop sign and turns left in front of me?”
As you are thinking about each of these possibilities, you think what your reaction might be to each scenario. Such as “if he runs the stop sign and turns left in front of me, I can veer to the right quickly to avoid a collision.” Or “if he runs the stop sign, and hits a car entering the intersection from the left or the right, I can avoid a collision with them by quickly veering left or right.”
Or maybe you are following a driver who seems to be impaired somehow, and they are periodically hitting their brakes for no observable reason. You might think “I’m going to choose an alternate route to get away from this guy” or maybe “I’m going to pass him as soon as it is safe, to get in front and away from him.”
Another defensive driving technique is to follow another vehicle at a safe distance depending on your driving conditions. A safe distance on a sunny dry day in May might be very different from a wet freezing rainy day in February. And neither of those conditions will be the same as a safe following distance in the mountains during a blinding snowstorm.
Other defensive driving techniques might be to:
1) Put down your cell phone
2) Plan your route in advance, along with possible alternate routes
3) Check the weather forecast before leaving home
4) Listen to the news and follow current traffic patterns to know if there are obstacles, such as car accidents, congestions, or road construction, on your route
5) Limit distractions inside your vehicle, such as keeping children safely restrained and entertained while you travel
6) If you are impaired in any way, don’t drive – make other plans
7) Watch for aggressive drivers, and don’t be one yourself
8) Keep your eyes and ears on the road, constantly checking your front, sides and rear for vehicles, trying to always know where the cars are in adjoining or oncoming lanes in relation to your own vehicle.
If, despite your best efforts and attention, you are injured in a car accident because of the poor choices of another driver, you should remember to contact THE ADVOCATES for your free consultation and explore the options you have to fully recover from the crash.