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What is Defensive Driving?
Driving is such a routine activity that we sometimes forget how dangerous it can be. Just one little lapse in judgement can have severe, even deadly consequences. Defensive driving is a set of safe driving habits that allow you to identify and avoid hazards on the road. This infographic will give you six key defensive driving tips to keep you and those around you safe on the road.
Defensive Driving Tip 1: Stay Focused
Studies show that texting while driving is worse than all other types of distracted driving—including drunk driving—but any distraction can cause an accident. Don't let smartphones, conversations with passengers, adjusting the stereo or fiddling with the air conditioning distract you from your task on the road.
Defensive Driving Tip 2: Don’t Fight for the Right of Way
If you know that you have the right of way in a merging lane or intersection, but another driver disagrees, let them go. Even if it’s frustrating, it’s better to lose a few seconds on your commute than to get into an accident.
Defensive Driving Tip 3: Use Turn Signals
It might seem like a semi-insignificant aspect of driving, but using your signals is a highly effective way to avoid collisions. In fact, researchers have found that neglecting to use turn signals causes more auto accidents than distracted driving.
Defensive Driving Tip 4: Avoid the Unexpected
On the road, being unpredictable puts yourself and others at risk. Any sudden stop, sharp increase in speed, or unexpected lane change makes it difficult for the drivers around you to anticipate your actions and react to your movements.
Defensive Driving Tip 5: Don’t Tailgate
The NHTSA estimates that rear-end collisions account for approximately 23% of all car accidents. Many of these accidents could be avoided if drivers followed the “three second rule,” which recommends drivers stay at least three seconds behind the vehicle ahead.
Defensive Driving Tip 6: Don’t Count on Other Drivers
No matter how sharp and focused you are behind the wheel, you never know what’s happening in the cars around you. Don’t assume that other drivers are as alert as you are. Your eyes should always be scanning the road and watching for warning signs of risky behavior.