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Defensive Driving Tactics

With the ever increasing population of the United States, more and more people are getting behind the wheel of automobiles every day. Unfortunately, the more people you have cruising up and down city streets and our interstate system, the chance of you encountering a hazardous situation increases greatly. This is the reason you see posters in every Department of Motor Vehicles office all over the country promoting defensive driving. In many states, taking a defensive driving course is mandatory if you are at-fault in a car accident or receive too many traffic violations in a given period of time. While many people are irritated by this, the fact is that defensive driving works. By learning and using defensive driving tactics, you will help make the road safer for yourself and other drivers on the road.

1. Stay calm – One of the most important defensive driving tactic you can learn is to keep a cool head at all times. No matter how many other tactics you use, if you are not calm while on behind the wheel, they will not be as effective as they should be.

2. Look far enough ahead – In order to avoid hazardous situations you need to see them coming. Looking ahead five to eight seconds periodically will help you see any road hazards before they are under your wheels.

3. Watch your speed – And by this doesn’t mean watch your speed increase past the posted limit. Maintaining a safe speed that matches other travelers without exceeding the posted speed limit is crucial to defensive driving. The faster you drive, the more your reaction time will be cut and the harder the impact will be in the unfortunate event you are in an accident.

4. Yield – Sooner or later when driving you will come to an intersection at about the same time as another driver. If you are unsure as to who got to the intersection first a good defensive driving tactic is to yield the right of way to the other driver. Remember, no one ever caused an accident by yielding the right of way.

5. Let them know where you want to go – Defensive driving is all about making yourself as visible as possible to other drivers in order to avoid a collision. If you are planning on changing lanes or making a turn then you should signal your intentions before you do so. It is important to note that you should not signal too early either. Signaling too early could cause oncoming drivers to think you are going to make a turn before you intend to and then turn in front of you.

6. Slow down at intersections – Intersections are one of the most dangerous places on the road. In fact, they are where the majority of accidents occur, especially in the city. A good defensive driving tactic is to slow down every time before entering an intersection. Slowing down will allow you to see hazards more easily and increase your reaction time if you need to slow down or stop.

7. Avoid blind spots – Every vehicle has blind spots, and not all drivers check them before turning or changing lanes. Good defensive drivers avoid other peoples blind spots at all times. Where the blind spots are depends on the vehicle. Most cars have blind spots on the sides near the rear of the vehicle, and if there is no rear window or the view is obstructed, you will also want to avoid this area.

8. Slow down in inclement weather – Rain and snow increases the hazards of driving, and the faster you drive, the more dangerous it becomes. The posted speed limit is for driving on dry, clear days. Good defensive drivers drive below the posted speed limit during periods of inclement weather to increase their reaction time in the case they encounter any hazardous situations.

9. Wear your seat belt – Even if you utilize every defensive driving tactic in your arsenal, the chance of being involved in an automobile accident is still too high to drive without protection. Wearing your seat belt lowers the chance of you being injured in a collision significantly. And if you need another reason to wear a seat belt, just remember that it’s the law.

Utilizing defensive driving tactics will help keep you and the drivers around you safer while you travel. Unfortunately, not all drivers use defensive driving tactics on a daily basis. In fact, some drivers seem to avoid them at all costs. Using good defensive driving tactics such as the ones mentioned above will help you avoid these drivers and all other hazards that you may encounter while behind the wheel.

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