Even though it is not always possible to prevent accidents, defensive driving may help you avoid most of the common hazards. It protects you and other road users, saves you time, and improves your confidence when driving.
Whether you are driving in a large city or a small town, you have to be proactive. Here are a few simple and effective tips to keep you safe on the road.
1. Respect Other Road Users’ Right Of Way
Always respect other vehicles’ right of way. If you spot one in a hurry, yield the right of way even when you are certain that they are wrong. Being obstinate to bullies on the road increases your chances of getting into an accident. Avoid impeding the path of other vehicles as you may be putting yourself and others in danger. Reaching your destination safely is much more important than being right.
2. Observe The Speed Limit
Do not exceed the speed limits even when you are in a hurry. Over speeding is not only dangerous but also illegal. Even though driving fast will save you time, it also puts your life and that of other road users in danger.
When moving fast, you may not have enough time to stop. You also have less time to react to unexpected events on the road. If, for example, there is an animal trying to cross the road, you are likely to hit it. Collisions that happen at high speeds are worse than those that may happen when you are within speed limits. The high momentum will cause higher energy transfer.
3. Avoid Making Sudden Lane Changes
Changing lanes suddenly is one of the most common causes of accidents. It is especially common with tractor-trailers. One of the easiest tips for avoiding tractor-trailer accidents is taking your time with lane changes. Since they are large vehicles, they have significant blind spots. If you aren’t predictable, you are likely to get into an accident. Always use your turn signals and allow the driver enough time to see you. Keep enough space between the tractor-trailer and your car for improved safety. You should have enough time to react to an unexpected circumstance.
4. Stay Focused On The Road
The most common excuse for drivers after an accident is that they did not see another vehicle, electric pole, or passenger. You can avoid this by paying attention to the road at all times.
If you shift your attention to other things on the road, even for a few seconds, you are likely to cause an accident. Common distractions include texting on your phone, speaking with passengers at the back of the car, and eating while driving.
When you are focused, you have enough room to get yourself out of dangerous situations. You will have an accurate impression of the flow of traffic.
5. Understand The Blind Spots
Note that your vehicle has a few blind spots. In most cars, the part behind the pillars is the main one. When moving in the direction of your blind spots, you need to be careful. Pay extra attention when backing out from parking and changing lanes. Looking into the rearview is important but it isn’t enough. Avoid tailgating other vehicles especially on roads with high speed limits.
6. Don’t Drive When Sick Or Stressed
If you are feeling unwell or stressed out, get someone else to drive. Stress and fatigue impair your judgment. They slow down your reaction speed and increase your likelihood of getting into an accident. If you have been driving for a long time, pull over and get some rest. Continue driving when you feel refreshed and energetic. It is also wise to avoid driving when you have a serious illness or injury.
7. Don’t Drive Intoxicated
Being intoxicated with alcohol or other drugs will increase your likelihood of getting into an accident. It impairs your judgment and makes you a danger to other road users. You are unlikely to make the right decisions when inebriated. If you plan on drinking, arrange to have a designated driver. DUIs are punishable by jail time, license cancellations, or fines.
8. Don’t Count On Other Drivers
While you need to be considerate of other road users, do not assume that other drivers will extend the same courtesy. Don’t assume that others will let you merge or get out of the way. Always be ready for the worst and have an escape route should an unpleasant scenario present itself. If you have been on the road for some time, you understand that not all road users are keen on promoting safety. You will encounter drivers who ignore red lights, over-speed or follow too close to other vehicles. It is, therefore, your responsibility to ensure that you are safe regardless of their habits. Helpful tips to prevent accidents include: understanding your blind spots, observing the speed limits, and staying focused.