What Is Defensive Driving?

What Is Defensive Driving?

You have likely heard people talk about the benefits of defensive driving. They note that it can help you avoid accidents and keep you safe on the road. But what, exactly, are they talking about? What do you need to do to become a defensive driver?

The key lies in preparation and awareness. You can never fully predict what everyone is going to do, but you want to try to predict the actions of drivers around you and remain alert at all times. You want to remind yourself that they are going to make mistakes. The sooner you spot these mistakes, the better. You can also put yourself in a more protected position even if they don’t make an error, just in case.

For instance, maybe you drive at a following distance of two seconds. To be a defensive driver, back it off to four seconds. Yes, that’s possibly more time than you need to avoid an issue on the road ahead of you, but it costs you virtually nothing and doubles your stopping distances.

Or, perhaps you tend to drive forward as soon as the light turns green. You can do it, legally, but a defensive driver will still pause and look both ways before driving forward. Why? If someone runs the red light, a defensive driver will see it coming and avoid the crash. A non-defensive driver may have the right-of-way, but they will still drive forward and get hit.

These are just a few examples, but there are defensive driving courses you can take if you’d like to learn more. It’s also good to know what legal options you have if you get injured in an accident.