What is defensive driving?

On Behalf of | Jul 25, 2023 | Personal Injury

Maybe you’ve heard that defensive driving can help you avoid crashes, but are unsure how it works. 

There are courses on offer to learn the finer points, but a lot of it is pretty simple and something you can just do yourself. Here are a few things you can do right now:

Scan your mirrors

Many people have their mirrors set up wrong, so first, you should learn how to set them for optimal vision. Then, you should use them the whole time you drive – not just when you want to turn or change lanes, but constantly.

You should be taking a quick glance at all three mirrors every few seconds. This keeps you updated on what is happening behind and to the side of you. It reduces the chance a vehicle “appears from nowhere” and surprises you.

Stay at least three seconds from the vehicle in front

Doing this allows you more time to react to any slowing of speed by the driver in front. The faster you are traveling, the more road space it will take you to slow down, so thinking in terms of seconds, rather than a particular distance helps to maintain a safe following distance whatever your speed. If conditions are bad, you may need to use five or even seven seconds as your measure.

Plan ahead

You see a vehicle that looks like it might blast through the red light. If you bank on it obeying the light and proceed as normal, you might not have time to react and avoid a collision if it doesn’t. In this example, you may need to consider slowing down so that the other driver doesn’t cause an accident.

Remember a lot of drivers won’t be so cautious, so you may still have a need to learn about compensation options.