Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how safely you drive. You could be driving the speed limit and obeying all traffic rules and someone else can crash into you. One good rule of thumb to use is, “Assume everyone else on the road is not good as you.” In other words, be prepared for unpredictable lane changes, sudden stops, unsignaled turns, swerving, tailgating, and every other bad driving behaviour imaginable. Chances are, you’ll eventually encounter someone like this — and it pays to be ready when you do.
Of course, being prepared requires awareness, so make sure you check your mirrors and keep an eye on side streets so you’ll know which other cars are around you and how they’re driving. Don’t focus only on the road in front of your car — look ahead so you can see what’s happening 50 to 100 yards (46 to 91 meters) up the road.
This tip is pretty simple to understand if we just put the proverbial shoe on the other foot. Remember that one time when that jerk came flying down the street out of nowhere, totally cut you off, and almost caused a huge accident? Don’t be that jerk.
Aggressive driving is hard to quantify, but it increases the risk of accidents. An aggressive driver does more than just violate the tips in this article — they may intentionally aggravate other drivers, initiate conflict, use rude gestures or language, tailgate or impede other cars, or flash their headlights out of frustration. These behaviours aren’t just annoying, they’re dangerous.
Remaining calm in the face of frustrating traffic issues is another major part of the concept. Accept small delays, such as staying in line behind a slower car instead of abruptly changing lanes. Yield to other cars, even if you technically have the right of way.
Eight Secrets of Super Driving
When you drive defensively, you’re aware and ready for whatever happens. You are cautious, yet ready to take action and not put your fate in the hands of other drivers. According to our survey, 90% of all crashes are attributed to driver error.
Following these defensive driving tips can help reduce your risk behind the wheel:
- Think safety first. Avoiding aggressive and inattentive driving tendencies yourself will put you in a stronger position to deal with other people’s bad driving. Leave plenty of space between you and the car in front. Always lock your doors and wear your seatbelt to protect you from being thrown from the car in a crash.
- Be aware of your surroundings— pay attention. Check your mirrors frequently and scan conditions 20 to 30 seconds ahead of you. Keep your eyes moving. If a vehicle is showing signs of aggressive driving, slow down or pull over to avoid it. If the driver is driving so dangerously that you’re worried, try to get off the roadway by turning right or taking the next exit if it’s safe to do so. Also, keep an eye on pedestrians, bicyclists, and pets along the road.
- Do not depend on other drivers. Be considerate of others but look out for yourself. Do not assume another driver is going to move out of the way or allow you to merge. Assume that drivers will run through red lights or stop signs and be prepared to react. Plan your movements anticipating the worst-case scenario.
- Follow the 3- to 4-second rule. Since the greatest chance of a collision is in front of you, using the 3- to 4-second rule will help you establish and maintain a safe following distance and provide adequate time for you to brake to a stop if necessary. But this rule only works in normal traffic under good weather conditions. In bad weather, increase your following distance an additional second for each condition such as rain, fog, nighttime driving, or following a large truck or motorcycle.
- Keep your speed down. Posted speed limits apply to ideal conditions. It’s your responsibility to ensure that your speed matches the conditions. In addition, higher speeds make controlling your vehicle that much more difficult if things go wrong. To maintain control of your vehicle, you must control your speed.
- Have an escape route. In all driving situations, the best way to avoid potential dangers is to position your vehicle where you have the best chance of seeing and being seen. Having an alternate path of travel also is essential, so always leave yourself an out — a place to move your vehicle if your immediate path of travel is suddenly blocked.
- Separate risks. When faced with multiple risks, it’s best to manage them one at a time. Your goal is to avoid having to deal with too many risks at the same time.
- Cut out distractions. A distraction is any activity that diverts your attention from the task of driving. Driving deserves your full attention — to stay focused on the driving task.
Drive Zim 24/7 Emergency Roadside Assistance Service.
Reaching the destination safely is the best reward for any motorist! Let us be kind and courteous to our fellow road users and remember that road safety is a team activity – let us help each other to ease the frustrations of heavy traffic and help and allow everyone to arrive alive at their destinations By telephoning 0780 579 261/0718 084 297 / 0736 523 424 members or non-members will receive 24 hours emergency roadside assistance country-wide, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.