Everyone thinks that they’re safe drivers. As a matter of fact, 76% of people think that they’re good drivers. Statistically, that’s unlikely. Are you using defensive driving techniques and doing everything that you can to prevent and avoid car accidents?
Sometimes accidents are unavoidable on your end. Whether they’re freak occurrences or the other person is completely at fault, you shouldn’t blame yourself when tragedy strikes. Many causes of car accidents are out of your control.
With that said, by using defensive driving techniques and staying attentive, you can do your part to keep the roads safer for everyone.
Keep reading to learn a few things that you should keep in mind when you’re driving to help prevent accidents.
1. Follow All Laws and Posted Signs
The first and most important thing that you need to do when you’re driving is obvious: you need to follow traffic laws and signs.
This might sound simple, but most people engage in some form of unsafe behavior on the road. These things are normalized in our society, but that doesn’t mean that they’re okay.
Posted speed limits exist for a reason. In some areas, even a few miles can be the difference between safety and tragedy.
School zones, neighborhoods, and recreation areas often have lower speed limits than the rest of the area. Make sure that you pay attention to them.
Even when you’re on back roads or on the highway, speed limits matter. A high-speed accident is more likely to result in a car accident injury (if not worse). Going at a reasonable speed reduces damage and gives you more time to react and hopefully avoid the accident in the first place.
On back roads, going the right speed limit protects you in the event of cars coming around curves or animals running into the road.
Even if someone is riding your bumper, don’t speed up to accommodate them if you have another option. Let them pass you.
2. Stay Out of the Passing Lane
Speaking of passing, the passing lane is not your primary lane. While it’s acceptable to go over the speed limit for a few moments in order to pass others, saying in that lane in the hopes that you’ll get to your destination faster isn’t an option.
Not only does this potentially slow any other people in the lane down and prevent them from passing, but it also has the potential to create a dangerous situation.
Stay in the rightmost or center lanes and go at a reasonable speed. If you need to pass, make sure that you’re passing on the left rather than the right.
3. USE DEFENSIVE DRIVING TO Remove Yourself from Bad Situations
There will be times where you are not the biggest problem on the road. As we mentioned, some situations are unavoidable. Not everyone is interested in proper road safety, and there are sometimes situations in which perfect driving isn’t an option (like if someone is experiencing an emergency).
It’s your job to keep yourself as safe as possible despite the conditions that you’re facing.
This applies in several areas. First, if someone near you isn’t driving safely, don’t provoke them. It’s tempting to drive slower (or the speed limit exactly) when someone is riding your bumper. While this seems like the right thing to do, you’re not correcting the other person’s behavior.
You could find yourself facing someone with road rage or dealing with an accident if you need to come to a sudden stop. When in doubt, let the offending driver pass you.
If you find yourself beside a large truck (like a semi-truck), know that you might not be safe depending on where you are. These trucks need to make wide turns, so it’s best to give them space when you’re on city or residential streets. On the highway, keep in mind that their blind spots are different from yours.
Avoiding bad situations also means that you shouldn’t drive in conditions that make you uncomfortable. If you’re not used to driving on ice or in the snow, try to find another option. If you don’t like driving in the dark, don’t do it until you’re prepared.
4. Avoid Distractions WHILE DRIVING
You should also avoid anything that could distract you while you’re on the road.
The most distracting thing for many drivers in 2021 is their phones. We all know that texting while driving isn’t okay, but that doesn’t stop some people from checking their texts at red lights (or even while they’re actively driving).
This also includes checking maps or taking phone calls. If you don’t have a device that connects your phone to your car for GPS or calls, don’t risk it.
You should also avoid distractions like food (when possible) and loud passengers. Make sure that any children that are in your car are strapped in and safe and that any other passengers know not to bother you.
5. Always Assume the Worst
The best advice that anyone can give you about driving is to always anticipate the worst.
This doesn’t mean that you should dread the road. It means that you should keep that earlier fact in mind: 76% of people think that they’re good drivers.
Can 76% of people really be better than average? If not, what does their overconfidence do to their driving habits?
Always make sure that you give yourself distance from the cars around you. If someone is making you nervous, find a way to get away from them. Keep an eye on traffic lights even when they’re far ahead of you, and always look for cars cutting across intersections, even if you have right of way.
Defensive Driving Will Save Your Life
It’s tempting to be an aggressive driver, but it’s true that defensive driving is the answer when it comes to staying safe on the road. Using safe driving practices won’t prevent accidents completely, but you’ll be doing your part to avoid them. Car accident prevention is everyone’s responsibility.
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