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What Exactly is Defensive Driving?

What Exactly is Defensive Driving?

It’s vital that drivers take driving seriously and learn to drive defensively. 

One of the first things many new drivers learn is how big of a responsibility driving a car is. Not only does a driver bear the responsibility for their safety, but also any passengers in the vehicle and others on the road.

So what exactly is defensive driving?

Let’s take a look!

What Is Defensive Driving? 

Defensive driving is a strategy that maximizes safety when behind the wheel of a vehicle. It includes skills and practices that a driver uses to minimize the risks associated with driving.

Defensive driving is controlling the items you can to avoid the potential of dangerous circumstances. Good defensive drivers adjust how they drive to accommodate others on the road.

What Is Offensive Driving?

Offensive driving is the exact opposite of defensive driving. Instead of accommodating other drivers, they’re aggressive and force other drivers to adapt to them. This is a very risky driving style, especially considering how many distracted drivers are on the roads these days.

Why Should You Practice Defensive Driving?

Since there is no perfect driver, there’s a good chance you’re a little bit of each type from time to time. However, there are a few significant reasons why you should practice defensive driving.

Safety

Defensive driving increases is a much safer way to drive. While you cannot eliminate all the dangers of driving, being a defensive driver is an excellent place to start. Giving yourself plenty of time to make adjustments and considering others on the road is essential to maximize safety while driving.

If you’re not driving defensively, you’re not paying attention to others on the road and anticipating their movements.

Other drivers may not use their turn signals or keep their distance. Instead of using that as an excuse to do the same, realize you need to be even more aware of what’s happening on the road.

Reduced Insurance Premiums

Drivers who drive defensively typically have reduced insurance premiums. This is typically because they are involved in fewer accidents and have fewer encounters with law enforcement. Insurance companies take note of every ticket you receive or how many accident claims you’re filing. Not only will you likely pay more, but you’ll also risk having your insurance policy canceled altogether.

Insurance companies often reward drivers with cheaper insurance premiums for being defensive drivers. Many car insurance companies offer discount programs for drivers that allow the insurance company to monitor their driving habits. Being a good defensive driver and driving responsibly helps drivers enjoy discounts on their policy.

Avoid Fines

One way to jack up your insurance premium is to have multiple encounters with law enforcement because of your driving. Being a defensive driver means avoiding unnecessary encounters with law enforcement because of your driving.

Some states have very strict fines for speeding and other traffic infractions. Be a defensive driver if you want to avoid these fines.

Tips For Great Defensive Driving

Here are a few tips for being a great defensive driver. It’s not enough to practice these occasionally or when you feel like it. Being a great defensive driver means applying these tips every time you get behind the wheel of a vehicle. Let’s dive in!

Eyes on the Road

You should always have your eyes focused in front of you. It can be very tempting to take in the landscapes or watch the corn grow in the field you’re driving by, but don’t do it. You need to keep your eyes on the road so you can be aware of any changes in the traffic or avoid any possible obstacles in the road.

Keeping your eyes on the road allows you to maximize the time you have to react to any changes in front of you. While you may want to glance in your mirrors occasionally, your primary focus should be on what’s going on ahead of you and your vehicle.

Check Your Blind Spots

One of the biggest mistakes many drivers make is forgetting to check their blind spots. No matter how good your mirrors are, there’s a good chance you will have some blind spots. If you want to avoid an accident or a serious issue, check your blind spots whenever you’re changing lanes.

Eliminate Distractions

We live in a world with constant notifications, and it’s nearly impossible to get away from them. However, to be an excellent defensive driver, you need to eliminate distractions as much as possible. While many states have created hands-free driving laws, many drivers now attempt to check their messages on their smartwatches, which is no safer than on their phones.

Distractions will vary from driver to driver. However, for most drivers these days, it’s their phones. While hands-free driving laws are relatively common, many drivers ignore them. They feel their phone vibrate or can’t fight the urge to check their email or social media. However, distracted driving takes 3,000+ lives each year. Put your phone down so you or anyone in your vehicle is not one of them!

Keep Your Distance

Everybody likes their personal space, especially when they’re driving. You should always have at least three seconds between you and the vehicle in front of you. This typically will give you enough time to react and respond to any situations that occur ahead of you.

Following a vehicle too closely can increase your chances of running into the back of the vehicle in front of you. Not only will you be responsible for the damage to your vehicle, but also theirs. Do yourself a favor and keep plenty of space between you and other drivers on the road.

Watch Your Speed

Some drivers feel the need for speed more than others. However, speeding increases the distance you’ll need to stop and reduces the time you have to react to anything in front of you. Drivers going a mile per hour or two over the speed limit aren’t typically the problem. It’s often those drivers going 10 to 15 miles per hour over the speed limit who become a problem.

If you have a lead foot, use the cruise control as often as possible. This will help avoid you pressing the accelerator down more than you had intended. Many modern vehicles come with adaptive cruise control features that adjust your speed based on the traffic ahead of you.

Is Defensive Driving Worth It?

Being a defensive driver means being a safe driver, and because you should value safety while driving, defensive driving is worth it. Any time you don’t take driving seriously, you’re risking not only your life but others too. Be the best defensive driver you can be so you and everyone else on the road can arrive safely.

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