Why Drive Defensively?According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an estimated 20,160 people died in motor vehicle crashes in the first half of 2021. This is up 18.4% over 2020. In addition, millions more suffer disabling injuries from vehicle crashes every year. One way to address this crisis is by driving defensively. Driving defensively means not only taking responsibility for yourself and your actions but also keeping an eye on “the other guy.”
How to Drive Defensively
The following 7 guidelines will help you start on your journey to become a defensive driver.
- Wear Safety Belts
Make sure every passenger in the vehicle is secured before starting the engine. Safety belts save thousands of lives each year.
- Watch Your Speed
Driving too fast or too slow can increase the likelihood of collisions. Remember speed limits are set for optimal road conditions.
- Maintain Appropriate Following Distance
Don’t follow too closely. Always use a “three-second following distance” or a “three-second plus following distance.”
- Follow the Rules of the Road
Don’t contest the “right of way” or try to race another car during a merge. Be respectful of other motorists.
- Avoid Distractions
Do not use cell phones (including hands free) or any other mobile electronic devices while operating a motor vehicle. Find out more about distracted driving.
- Be Alert!
If you notice that a car is straddling the center line, weaving, stopping abruptly or responding slowly, the driver may be impaired. Avoid an impaired driver by getting off the road and notifying the police immediately.
- Avoid Alcohol
Don’t kid yourself. If you plan to drink, designate a driver who won’t drink. Alcohol is a factor in over 40 percent of all fatal motor vehicle crashes. Learn more about drunk driving.
We offer an entire course on defensive driving. Our course allows you to analyze real driving situations, spot driving hazards and manage driving risks.