Motor vehicle accidents are unpredictable and can cause major physical and financial harm.
While it is impossible to prepare for an accident you do not know is coming, creating positive habits while driving can help to make you a defensive driver.
1. Plan ahead
Check the weather before leaving and allow for extra travel time on rainy, snowy or windy days. When driving to a new place, program your destination into your device before leaving. Silence your phone and put it out of your reach. When you prepare before you start driving, you can keep your focus on the road.
2. Minimize distractions
As much as possible, avoid eating and drinking anything while driving. These actions take your eyes off the road and occupy at least one of your hands. Set your radio and temperature controls before leaving. If you must adjust something during your trip, wait for stoplights or pull over somewhere safe. Utilize passengers in your vehicle to do any task for you that could take your attention away from the job of driving.
3. Leave distance in front of you
Allowing enough space between you and the vehicle in front of you creates several benefits. It gives you time to react and respond to sudden unexpected actions from the vehicle in front of you. The space gives you a wider field of vision and allows you to see the flow of traffic around you. You may be able to see hazards farther ahead and respond before the driver in front of you slams on their brakes.
Defensive driving gives you control over your safety and the safety of anyone in your vehicle. These habits should be as natural as putting on a seatbelt. Defensive drivers are more aware and ready to respond to hazards that may arise on the road. Total focus on the task of driving improves your chances of responding to hazards before they become collisions.