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Defensive Driving Techniques

White and brown dog with curly fur sits in a beat up green toy car with his paw off the side

Driving on the road today can be very challenging and dangerous. Since you can’t control what other drivers do on the road, you take risks each time you get behind the wheel.

While it may not be practical to expect that you’ll never be involved in a fender bender, there are some steps you can take to reduce your chances of a wreck.

Read on to learn about how you can stay safe on the road by utilizing defensive driving techniques.

Defensive Driving

If you use the following tips as a guideline for defensive driving, you significantly reduce your chances of being involved in a car crash:

  • Focus. When you’re focused on the road, you’re paying attention to everything going on around you. You’re aware of the car approaching on your right and the truck up ahead that will soon be merging into your lane. Since driving relies heavily on your thought processes, it’s important to keep your mind focused on the road at all times. There are many elements you must consider while driving, such as:
    • Road conditions
    • Your speed and position
    • Traffic laws
    • Traffic signs
    • Traffic signals
    • Road markings
    • Following directions
    • Awareness of the cars around you
    • Checking your mirrors

If you’re distracted while driving, there are crucial elements you could miss that may cause you to become involved in a wreck. Don’t allow yourself to become overconfident in your driving abilities because that’s when you start to get lazy and slack off. Staying focused while driving is crucial to not only your own safety but also to the safety of those around you.

  • Be alert. If you’re tired or intoxicated, your reaction times are not where they need to be while driving. You should be prepared for anything that comes your way on the road. If you need to make a panic stop because the car in front of you stopped suddenly for a cat crossing the road, you need to be able to react quickly and stop your car from colliding with the one ahead of you.
  • Remember: No one is perfect. People make mistakes all the time. It’s only human. That’s why it’s so important that you stay in constant control of your vehicle. People are, however, very predictable. If you see a car speeding down the street toward a light that’s about to turn red, you can probably predict that they’ll run the red light. If you hadn’t been paying attention, you may not know that, and enter the intersection without realizing that the speeding car could t-bone you.
  • Constantly consider safety. If you’re not 100% sure a maneuver is safe for your current situation, don’t do it. It’s better not to take unnecessary risks while driving since the consequences could be your livelihood or even your whole life. Be sure to avoid aggressive and inattentive driving practices so that you’re better able to handle others’ poor driving choices.
  • Know what’s happening around you. It’s crucial that you’re constantly aware of your surroundings. Check your mirrors consistently and keep your eyes on the cars that are 2-3 vehicles ahead of you. If a driver shows signs of aggression, slow down to let them pass or pull over if they’re especially hazardous. Keep your eyes peeled for pedestrians, bicyclists, and pets along the roadway.
  • You can’t depend on other drivers. Not everyone follows the rules all the time, so you shouldn’t expect that they will. Only two cars are allowed to turn left on a light that’s turning red, but sometimes three or even four cars will make their turn if they’ve been waiting a while (or even if they haven’t been waiting a while).
  • Leave an adequate distance around your vehicle. It’s important to never follow the vehicle in front of you too closely. A good rule to consider is to leave at least one car lengths distance between your car and the one ahead of you for every 10 miles per hour (mph) of your speed. For instance, if you’re driving at a rate of 40 mph, you should leave no less than four car lengths between you and the car in front of you. This practice provides you with all the space you need, should you have to suddenly slow down or stop.

Additionally, if you’re driving in inclement weather, it’s a good idea to double, or even triple your following distance. Wet and icy roads require a lot more space for you to slow down and/or stop, so you need to prepare for that during those conditions.

  • Don’t speed. While it may be tempting to speed at times, it’s really never a good idea. Speeding significantly increases your chance of a wreck, so you should always avoid it. It’s better to arrive at your destination a few minutes late, rather than not at all. Always follow posted speed limits.

In poor weather conditions, you should use your own common sense. If it’s pouring rain outside with 35 mph winds, you should significantly reduce your speed from the posted speed limit. Not only is it dangerous to drive at higher speeds during unfavorable weather, but you can also receive a citation for not driving appropriately for the current road conditions.

  • Leave yourself a way out. It’s in your best interest to always leave yourself a way out while on the road. For instance, if you’re on the highway and there are other vehicles on all sides of you, you don’t have a way to escape should something go wrong. If the driver to your right has a tire blowout, you have nowhere to go to get away from that danger. Never drive in someone’s blind spots, and don’t allow other drivers to hang out in your blind spots, either.
  • Neglect your distractions. That text message you receive while on the highway will still be there when you reach your destination. Don’t put your life and others’ lives at risk just to check a text. Similarly, try to avoid eating while driving and engaging in other distracting activities that force you to look away from the road.

We’re Here to Support You

If you find yourself involved in an injury-sustaining car wreck, our attorneys at 'MAGGIO LAW are here to help. Our team is highly experienced in this area of the law, and we’ve helped many other people just like you attain the justice they deserved. Don’t hesitate to contact our firm with your case right away. We’re here to support you in your time of need.

Contact our attorneys at 'MAGGIO LAW at (601) 265-6869 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.