Being a safe driver essentially means being a defensive driver. This doesn’t mean that you are boring behind the wheel, you go super slow on all roads or that you are no fun to have in a vehicle. Being a defensive driver means thinking about your safety at all times while always making sure that you pay attention to those drivers and pedestrians around you. On the flip side, being an aggressive driver means that you think that you own the road and that everyone around you should get out of your way. Aggressive drivers hog the middle lane of motorways, weave dangerously in and out of traffic, speed carelessly and don’t look out for potential hazards on the road. These are the drivers that go onto cause accidents and collisions.
Being a defensive driver means eliminating the aggressive risk that you may pose on occasion. By changing the way you think about driving, you can become a safer and more responsible pair of hands behind the wheel. Take a look at how you can become a safer driver.
While you might be hungry or hanker after a snack, don’t be tempted to eat while driving. The same goes for smoking, playing the radio too loud or having to fiddle with your satellite navigation system. All of these actions, while not aggressive, can lead to a lack of concentration. It only takes one momentary lapse to hit a child, bump into the back of another vehicle or venture into the wrong lane. By stopping off at a service station for a bite to eat, a rest and a chance to recharge your batteries, you will return to your journey refreshed.
The same goes for driving while tired. You might want to get somewhere quickly, but you are better off getting there in a slower time rather than not at all because you fell asleep while driving on the highway. This could result in massive accident. Being tired and driving means that you aren’t as alert and you might end up on the receiving end of someone else’s lack of focus, meaning you might need to seek the services of a specialist accident or aviation law firm to seek damages. Forego the distractions and be a safer driver.
Look At Others
While you will be concerned primarily by your own driving, it’s vital that you pay attention to other people. If you see an erratic driver weaving in and out of traffic, keep your distance. If you notice someone clipping the curb every ten seconds, steer clear as they are a potential hazard on the road.
While you cannot account for the actions of other drivers, you can be aware of them and try to mitigate the risk they may cause to you and your passengers.
Think 4 Seconds
It doesn’t matter where you are driving whether this is on a country lane, a fast highway or in the center of town, try to stick to a four second rule. This means staying four seconds behind the vehicle in front of you. This will give you adequate time to brake to avoid a collision should the person in front of you need to stop suddenly. You also have a better view of the road in front of you including any potential hazards. If the weather is wet, foggy or snowy, you may need to increase this distance to ensure your safety.
While staying four seconds behind, you also need to maintain an appropriate speed. Just because a road has a 60mph speed limit doesn’t mean that you should go this speed if the road is winding, visibility is poor, and there is a chance of aquaplaning. Use your common sense, and consider the safety of your passengers at all times.
Mirror Signal Maneuver
When beginning to drive, the first thing you learned was to check your mirrors before signaling and then making your move, whether this was entering a roundabout, turning left at a junction or braking at traffic lights. Very quickly, we begin to take on bad habits, allowing these simple and safe driving procedures to slip by the wayside to be replaced by selfish techniques. Replace these by returning to your days of mirror, signal, maneuver. Your driving will be safer, and by checking your mirrors, you will be giving yourself an extra twenty seconds to look for potential hazards and assess your surroundings.
Many safe aspects of driving begin before you even start your engine. Before heading out on a long journey, make sure that you carry out the basic maintenance checks. This will take all of twenty minutes, but will ensure that your vehicle is roadworthy and fit to undertake a long distance. Make sure that you check your oil by using your dipstick and reading the level. If you need any more, simply top it up. This could be the difference between your engine failing and you making it to your destination. Check your tire pressures and pump up or release air as necessary. This isn’t only safer, but it will ensure that your car doesn’t overuse fuel costing you money. Check your fluid levels and top up the windscreen wash as necessary. While these sound like menial and tedious checks, they can make you safer on the road.
If you were to find yourself in an accident or stranded for any reason, it pays to have some essentials in your trunk. Take some water, some dried snacks, a warning triangle, a shovel and some blankets at the very least. If you are caught short in the winter, at least you won’t go cold, hungry or thirsty until help arrives.
Being a safe and defensive driver should be your paramount priority when out and about driving. If you have a brood to take care of and you are looking to purchase a family car anytime soon, safety will be a massive factor in your choice of model. It makes sense that you will follow your keenness for safety out on the road when you get behind the wheel.