A defensive driver is someone who is on alert for potential dangers and risky behaviors.
It is about keeping yourself and your passengers safe while practicing habits that will help lessen your chances of becoming involved in a motor vehicle collision.
Keep your vehicle safe
The first step in avoiding driving mishaps is to keep your vehicle in good condition. Regularly check that your lights and signals are working, get your oil changed as often as recommended and keep all scheduled maintenance appointments. Make sure that the vehicle you are driving is running safely and smoothly so that you can trust it to respond to every action you take while driving.
Silence your phone or put it out of your reach in the backseat. Have beverages in immediate reach and open so that you do not need to struggle with caps. Secure pets and children in the backseat with safe and approved car seats, seat belts or restraints. Address or eliminate anything that pulls your focus from the task of driving.
Allow extra room
Leaving space between you and the vehicle in front of you offers several benefits. It allows space if the driver ahead of you stops suddenly and you need to react. It also provides you with a wider field of vision to see more vehicles up ahead and notice any potential hazards in the road.
Take your time at intersections
When you wait at red lights, pause for a few moments after the light turns green before you proceed. Make sure the cross-traffic has stopped as expected and that no one tried to slip through as the light changed.
Defensive driving is about being proactive about your safety. Do not depend on other drivers to make good decisions that will keep you safe.