Driving is inherently a risky business. Every time you get behind the wheel, you must remain vigilant in order to prevent becoming an accident statistic.
Defensive driving helps you avoid the dangers caused by other people’s bad driving. In many ways it is the opposite of aggressive driving, which causes roughly one third of all accidents. Aggressive drivers speed, tailgate, drive in improper lanes, fail to obey traffic signs, and otherwise engage in behaviors that are likely to cause bodily harm to themselves and others. Defensive drivers, on the other hand, share the road and behave in a manner that increases the odds that everyone will arrive at their destination safely.
Here’s how you can be a defensive driver.
- Cut out distractions. Don’t use your cell phone, fiddle with the stereo, eat, or engage in other activities that take your attention off the road. Even looking away for a split second can result in an accident.
- Communicate. Using turn signals is an important part of defensive driving, but you should also check to make sure your brake lights are functioning properly and that you’re vigilant about keeping out of other drivers’ blind spots. Making other drivers aware of your presence reduces the odds of a vehicle collision.
- Do not depend on other drivers to keep you safe. Never assume that other drivers will obey traffic signs, allow you to merge, or move out of the way to avoid an accident. It’s impossible for you to know if a driver is fatigued, intoxicated, inexperienced, or simply inattentive. Always be prepared for the worst case scenario.
- Remember that speed limits apply to ideal road conditions. If it’s snowing, raining, or foggy, you may need to go slower in order to stay safe. Controlling your speed helps you control your vehicle.
- Monitor your surroundings. When driving, keep your eyes moving. Check your mirrors frequently and look ahead of you for 20 -30 seconds to watch for potential dangers. If there are pedestrians and bicyclists on the road, keep an eye on them as well.
- Increase your following distance. Rear end collisions are the most common type of traffic accident. Many can be prevented if you always maintain a three or four second following distance from the vehicle in front of you.
- Don’t be the “jackrabbit” driver. Your goal should be to maintain an even, steady pace. If you’re constantly changing lanes and speeding up or slowing down, you’re not fitting into the flow of traffic. Disparate vehicle speeds increase the odds of a collision.
Holzer Edwards Can Help
If you or someone you love has been injured in a collision caused by a negligent driver, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills and other accident-related expenses. Call (208) 386-9119 or toll-free at (888) 490-0992 for a free consultation from the experienced personal injury attorneys at Holzer Edwards.