National Safety Month – Defensive Driving
In honor of June being National Safety Month we are going to discuss ways to become a better defensive driver. We all know aggressive drivers are a road hazard and probably always will be, but distracted driving is becoming more of an issue as people try to multitask more often by texting, talking on their phones, eating, or even doing their makeup on their way to work. Below are a few ways you can become a better defensive driver to help protect yourself from distracted and aggressive drivers.
One way to drive safer is to stay focused. Driving is primarily a thinking activity, and there is a lot to think about while driving down the road. A few things you should think about are road conditions, your speed, observing traffic laws, following directions, observing traffic signs and signals, being aware of the cars around you and your position in relation to them, checking your mirrors, etc. There is a LOT to be thinking about while driving and doing things like eating or texting distract you causing a delayed reaction to what may be going on outside your car and potentially endangering others.
Stay alert while driving. Make sure you have had plenty of sleep before getting behind the wheel. Being sleepy while driving will cause slower reaction to potential problems. Also, being under the influence of drugs or alcohol can impair your judgment and reaction time while driving. Part of being a defensive driver is staying alert and in control of your car.
Here are 8 steps to becoming a safer driver:
- Thinks safety first. Avoiding aggressive driving it will put you in a stronger position to deal with other people’s driving.
- Be aware of your surroundings and pay attention. Frequently check your mirrors and the traffic that is 20-30 seconds in front of you.
- Don’t depend on other drivers and don’t assume they know what you are thinking. Make sure to use your blinkers when changing lanes or turning. Don’t assume that other drivers will get out of your way quickly, or that they are always going to stop when needed. Be prepared for the worst-case scenario.
- Keep your speed down. The speed limit is there for a reason, follow it!
- Have an escape route in all driving situation. This comes into play when wanting to change lanes or on a busy freeway. If the route you wanted to take gets blocked, try to have another way around the blockage and continue on your way.
- Following the 3-to-4 second rule can help protect you from becoming part of a collision in front of you. Keeping your distance from other cars allows you more time to stop if necessary.
- Separate the different risks. When faced with multiple risks, it is best to deal with one at a time. Your goal is to avoid having to deal with too many risks at the same time.
- Try to cut out distractions so that you may stay focused on the road and the task at hand: driving.
Driving deserves your full attention, and unfortunately not everyone believes that.
During National Safety Month do your best to become a safer drive to help protect yourself and others around you. Start safe habits now and allow those habits to follow you throughout the rest of your life!