Expect the unexpected. This should be your motto every time you get into your vehicle. That’s because the road can be a dangerous place and your best and first line of defense is YOU. The defensive driving strategies that you use while driving can be lifesaving to you, your passengers, and everyone else out on the road.
According to the National Safety Council, driving is a privilege that comes with a great deal of responsibility. Being a responsible driver includes:
- wearing your seat belt and insisting that your passengers do the same (babies and children must be in car/booster seats)
- driving sober
- focusing on the road
- driving defensively
The NSC defines defensive driving as “driving to save lives, time, and money, in spite of the conditions around you and the actions of others.” Bad weather, poor road conditions, and the actions of inattentive/aggressive drivers cause many accidents. You can’t control the weather or road conditions, and you can’t control the actions of other drivers, but you can control how you respond to them.
Inattentive drivers are people who do a lot of things they shouldn’t do while driving, including talking on the phone, texting, reading, eating, and applying makeup. To be a good defensive driver, you must assume that every driver on the road is an inattentive driver, and you need to plan accordingly. Do this by keeping your eyes and attention on the road and leaving enough space between your vehicle and the vehicles around you.
Aggressive drivers are dangerous too. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines aggressive driving as when “an individual commits a combination of moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property.”
The NHTSA’s advice for dealing with an aggressive driver:
- get out of the way (put as much space as possible between you and the other driver)
- put your pride aside (this is a game you can’t win)
- avoid eye contact (this may further agitate an aggressive driver)
- ignore hand gestures (and do not reciprocate)
- report a dangerous driver to the police (you may help prevent an accident)
The staff at Highway Tire Service & Collision want you to be a great defensive driver, so please follow these tips every time you get into your vehicle.