Defensive driving tips are excellent tips for teen drivers to learn before they get behind the wheel.
“Being on the defensive” often comes with a negative connotation, but when you’re driving it’s an imperative part of staying safe on the roads. At the base definition of “defensive driving” is being aware — it’s the single most important aspect of safe, defensive driving and serves as an umbrella over the other aspects. Being aware helps you make potentially life-saving decisions while on the road by providing insight as to what is happening around you — and what might happen around you.
The Three-Second Rule
Being defensive and aware also means giving yourself plenty of time to make quick decisions. Try to always stay three seconds — or more — behind the car in front of you. To test out how far behind someone you are, pick a fixed object and count how many seconds in between the car in front of you passing it until you get to it. Street signs, business signs, fire hydrants — anything that is stationary will give you the result. Staying at least three seconds behind allows you more time to stop without causing damage or an accident.
Distracted driving is increasing as a major cause of accidents on the road. As our lives become more and more hectic, people are trying to do more and more at the same time. Having your life in your hands by way of a smartphone creates additional distractions: texting, reading and responding to your boss’ emails, catching up on the news, finishing your report or any number of tasks. Sure, cell phones are a major player in the distracted driving game, but they’re certainly not alone! In our rushed society, people do some of the things they should have done at home: put on makeup, eat their breakfasts, tie their ties, etc.
When you practice defensive driving and leave all other tasks to be done off the road, you set yourself up to be more aware. Being aware notices the car ahead of you slightly swerving while he answers an email for work, giving you time to slow down or safely pass him in another lane.
Aggressive and Unsure Drivers
Being aware of your surroundings also allows you to combat aggressive drivers without issue. If you notice an aggressive driver well ahead of you, such as someone riding another car’s bumper, weaving in and out of traffic to pass, or stopping aggressively and abruptly at stoplights, you allow yourself a little more time to figure out how to stay away from them and safely avoid their erratic behavior. Another example is stops – maybe you see someone peeking to turn right on a red light. You seeing them peeking out allows you to either honk, switch lanes if on a multi-lane road, or slow down in case they turn out in front of you.
While we can’t always predict what someone is going to do, being aware and defensive about our surroundings helps keep us and other drivers safe. Defensive driving tips should help make driving easier when you are aware.