Defensive driving is a term used to describe a set of driving techniques that aim to reduce the risk of accidents on the road. The idea behind defensive driving is to anticipate potential hazards and proactively avoid them. In this blog, we’ll explore some of the key principles of defensive driving and how they can help you stay safe on the road.
Principle #1: Be aware of your surroundings
The first principle of defensive driving is to be aware of your surroundings. This means paying close attention to the road and the other drivers around you. It also means scanning the road ahead for potential hazards like potholes, debris, or other vehicles.
To be aware of your surroundings, you need to be focused and alert. Avoid distractions like texting, eating, or talking on the phone while driving. Keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel.
Principle #2: Maintain a safe following distance
Maintaining a safe following distance is critical for defensive driving. This means leaving enough space between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you to allow for sudden stops or turns. The general rule is to keep at least two seconds of distance between you and the vehicle in front of you.
However, in adverse weather conditions or at high speeds, it’s recommended to increase this distance to three or four seconds. This gives you more time to react if the vehicle in front of you suddenly stops or turns.
Principle #3: Anticipate potential hazards
Anticipating potential hazards is another critical aspect of defensive driving. This means looking ahead and anticipating potential risks like sudden stops, turns, or merges. It also means being aware of other drivers’ behaviour and anticipating potential accidents before they happen.
To anticipate potential hazards, you need to be aware of your surroundings and the other drivers around you. Watch for signs of distracted or reckless driving, and be prepared to react quickly if necessary.
Principle #4: Avoid aggressive driving
Aggressive driving is a leading cause of accidents on the road. This includes behaviours like speeding, tailgating, weaving in and out of traffic, and running red lights or stop signs.
To avoid aggressive driving, stay calm and patient on the road. Don’t let other drivers’ behaviour affect your driving, and avoid engaging with aggressive drivers.
Principle #5: Know your vehicle’s limits
Finally, knowing your vehicle’s limits is essential when driving defensively. This means understanding your vehicle’s braking distance, handling, and acceleration capabilities. It also means driving at safe speeds and avoiding sudden manoeuvres that could cause your vehicle to lose control.
To know your vehicle’s limits, read your owner’s manual and practice driving in different conditions. Be aware of your vehicle’s weight, size, and centre of gravity, and adjust your driving accordingly.
In conclusion, defensive driving is a set of techniques that can help you stay safe on the road. By being aware of your surroundings, maintaining a safe following distance, anticipating potential hazards, avoiding aggressive driving, and knowing your vehicle’s limits, you can reduce your risk of accidents and arrive at your destination safely. Remember, defensive driving is not just about your safety, but also about the safety of other drivers and passengers on the road.