Quite simply, defensive driving entails being aware of potential issues instead of merely reacting to hazards as they become present. Essentially, it’s about maintaining a higher awareness of road and weather conditions, other vehicles, road users and potentially hazardous situations and then taking steps to prevent becoming the cause of or becoming involved in an accident.
There are major threats to road safety – driven by human behaviour – including a lack of respect for fellow road users and a disregard for the rules of the road. Unfortunately, many motorists today are rushed, stressed and simply ignore the rules of the road. It is this attitude that is amplifying road-related issues and a change in our own behaviour and the way we approach road usage that can vastly improve the safety of all road users.
Here are five defensive driving tips:
- Always be ready to take preventative measures or action to avoid collisions on the road. This includes being completely aware of other vehicles and considering the unexpected actions that other drivers may be making so that you can react in time to avoid a potential accident.
- Be aware of your surroundings and not just the vehicle in front of you. Look out for potential hazards like a pedestrian trying to cross the road. Use the rear-view mirrors to look out for possible hazards like a car behind you not being able to stop in time and potentially causing an accident.
- Keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you – this allows you to minimise risk in bad weather conditions such as fog, rain or bad road conditions such as slippery roads or road construction.
- Never drive in another vehicle’s blind spot as some drivers may be exhausted, distracted or forget to check their blind spot before changing lanes. Minimise this risk by avoiding the blind spot of another vehicle, especially those of trucks.
- You may be a vigilant driver but don’t expect other drivers to drive the way you would like them to. Always pay attention to what you can control on the roads through your own driving and don’t assume others will do the same.