Defensive Driving Four Secrets Of Staying Safe

Okay, you've heard about the benefits of​ defensive driving and​ you​ know that it​ involves being aware of​ the potential hazards that other road users can create.

Great! But what exactly does that involve? What should you​ be doing? What should you​ be looking out for?

So with that in​ mind, here are some of​ the best defensive driving tips that will help to​ protect you​ from the dangers that exist on​ our roads.

1) One Thousand​ and​ One Ways to​ Create Space

One of​ the best ways to​ create space around your​ vehicle is​ to​ avoid travelling too close to​ the vehicle in​ front. Ideally, you​ should be at​ least two seconds behind the vehicle in​ front of​ you.

As soon​ as​ the vehicle in​ front passes a​ fixed point, such as​ a​ signpost or​ a​ tree etc, count how long it​ takes for​ you​ to​ pass the same object. Start counting "one thousand​ and​ one, one thousand​ and​ two" etc. if​ you're less than two seconds behind you're too close and​ need to​ back off slightly. in​ bad weather such as​ ice, snow, fog or​ heavy rain, this​ should become the three, four or​ even five second rule depending upon​ the severity of​ the conditions.

Eventually, you'll be able to​ judge how far behind you​ should be according to​ your​ speed and​ the road conditions.

this​ will allow you​ to​ pull up in​ plenty of​ time if​ the vehicle in​ front has to​ stop suddenly. and​ while we're on​ the subject of​ stopping distances, the distance that it​ takes your​ vehicle to​ stop depends on​ four factors. a​ higher speed, heavier vehicle, weaker brakes and​ poor road surface will all increase the distance that it​ takes you​ to​ stop. So it's important to​ know the capabilities of​ your​ vehicle and​ learn to​ drive within​ them.

and​ one final word about stopping distances. if​ your​ car is​ equipped with an​ ABS braking system, it​ will prevent your​ brakes from locking up and​ allow you​ more control, but it​ won't bring your​ car to​ a​ stop any quicker.

2) The What if​ Game

this​ game is​ one of​ the best ways to​ hone your​ skills of​ observation​ and​ anticipation. The rules are simple; as​ you​ drive around, pay extra attention​ to​ everything around your​ vehicle. Look for​ potential hazards. Read the road in​ front and​ make sure you​ know what is​ behind and​ beside you. Then, keep asking yourself "what if?"

What if​ the car in​ front stops suddenly? What if​ I have to​ take evasive action? Where is​ my run off area? What if​ someone pulls out in​ front of​ me?

The more you​ pose these questions and​ consider your​ actions, the more prepared you'll be if​ anything unexpected happens. it​ will also help you​ to​ anticipate what other drivers may do and​ prepare you​ to​ deal with these events.

3) Go With The Flow

When out on​ the road, make sure that you​ drive according to​ the prevailing conditions instead of​ trying to​ force other road users to​ adopt your​ style of​ driving.

for​ example, if​ the general speed in​ one lane is​ 60mph and​ 70mph in​ another, don't try to​ cruise at​ 65mph. That would involve travelling too close to​ the cars in​ front and​ constantly overtaking or​ slowing down vehicles in​ the other lane.

Don't try to​ force a​ column of​ traffic to​ go faster than they want to, and​ by the same token, don't try to​ police the speed adopted by vehicles in​ a​ certain​ lane. Leave that to​ the proper law enforcement officers.

and​ when it​ comes to​ changing lanes, be decisive, don't obstruct others and​ signal all your​ intentions clearly before you​ start any manoeuvre. Go with the flow and​ your​ journey will be safer and​ much more relaxing.

4) Be Cautious

The roads are not the right place for​ taking risks. for​ example, when you​ approach an​ intersection, don't assume that everyone will follow the rules. Signal your​ intentions so that everyone knows where you're going, remain​ alert and​ keep your​ foot over the brake just in​ case.

Likewise, make sure that you​ give all vehicles especially larger vehicles such as​ trucks full respect. Stay well behind them and​ when you​ want to​ overtake, be decisive and​ move past with the minimum of​ delay.

and​ when passing vehicles, make sure that you​ stay out of​ their blind spots. as​ a​ general rule, if​ you​ can't see the driver in​ their side mirror, they won't be able to​ see you.

Whatever happens, don't rely upon​ your​ cruise control to​ drift past other vehicles 1 mph faster. That means you'll be in​ their blind spot and​ greater danger for​ a​ long time.

With better skills of​ observation, anticipation, some basic common​ courtesy and​ a​ relaxed attitude your​ journeys will be safer and​ much more enjoyable.

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