Authored by Rodney Southern in Automotive
Published on 11-28-2009
Driving defensively is a very overlooked skill that more people could do well to learn. When the Holiday season rolls around, it becomes even more important to learn how to drive defensively. What exactly is that anyway? This article will clarify for you both what defensive driving is, as well as how to do it this coming Holiday season and beyond.
Defensive driving is pretty much exactly what it sounds like – driving as though the cars around you might do something stupid. Many people have the false security that if they drive well that they are in no danger. Some simply throw caution to the wind and do not even give it a second thought. This is a huge mistake and can literally be the death of you. When you learn how to drive, you should also learn how to drive defensively. For those that missed the class, I am going to share some tips:
When you approach a green intersection, do not assume that the cars coming from the left and right will stop because it is red for them. Some people consider red lights that have just turned to be pink. (meaning they can go if it is just now red) Some people run red lights simply out of not paying attention. Whatever the case, the police blotter is filled with people who run red lights and kill someone. More often than not, the driver that was killed is the one that was following the rules of the road. This is a situation where defensive driving can save your life.
When you approach an intersection, and the light is green, take a look left and right before you carry on through. It takes an extra couple of seconds to do so, but it is well worth it. The one time that it saves you from having a wreck will be worth the handful of minutes it may have cost you over the years.
Another defensive driving tip that is absolutely paramount is to watch out for parked cars. When cars are parked along the sides of the road as they often are in the shopping season, people will often swing open their car doors. Watch for this as you travel the streets during the Holiday season. Most of the time, you can see this coming if you are paying attention. Also, watch out for pedestrians as they step out from between cars.
Driving defensively on the highway is another important rule to follow. The best way to stay safe on the highway is to stay on the outer lane when possible. This allows you more room to maneuver in the case of an emergency. Try to keep away from large clusters of cars, as your chances of avoiding others becomes more difficult. Keep your sides clear of any other cars even if it means that you have to slow down. Too many people are obsessed with speed on the highways during the Holidays.
Defensive driving boils down to keeping your eyes open and your senses alert. Assume that the other drivers are going to do something stupid and consider how you will deal with each situation. If you are careful to pay close attention, you might be surprised one day when you avoid a wreck because of it.