Although you’re great at driving, not everyone on the road is. No matter how good of a driver you are, you are still at risk of getting into an accident. To prevent accidents as much as possible, the best thing you can do is start driving defensively. By following these five essential defensive driving tips, you can protect both yourself and other drivers on the road.
Maintain a large following distance
One of the most common types of car accidents is a rear-end collision. Depending on where you live, rear-end collisions may automatically be the fault of the driver in the back, but unique circumstances may be exceptions to this. If you’re wondering what to ask a car accident lawyer, the first question on your list should be about determining who is at fault.
To prevent colliding with a car that suddenly stops in front of you, ensure you maintain a 3-second following distance. To establish how much distance you cover in three seconds, look for a marker on the side of the road and time how many seconds it takes to reach it. This is the distance you should be keeping between yourself and the car in front of you.
While going 3 miles (or 5 kilometers) over the speed limit might not seem like much, the force upon impact with another object is considerably greater. Oftentimes, three miles is actually the difference between mild injury and death. Additionally, speeding through yellow lights will not get you to your destination more than a minute or so sooner. Simply put, it’s just not worth it.
With everyone speeding around you, it can be tempting to do the same. Stick to your guns and follow the speed limit, despite the peer pressure.
Pay attention to what’s happening behind you
The biggest risk to you isn’t actually what you can see through your front windshield – it’s the vehicle behind you. While you can’t increase the following distance between yourself and the tailgater, you can definitely increase the following distance between yourself and the car in front of you even further than 3 seconds.
By doing this, you’ll avoid the need for self-care after a car accident and a costly insurance claim.
When you’re in a rush, you may find that you accelerate and brake quickly. Maybe you tried to make that light up ahead and then had to slam on the breaks when you realized you weren’t going to make it.
In addition to this being hard on your vehicle, it also increases the chance that the person behind you won’t have enough time to react to your sudden movements and end up colliding with you.
Take precautions in adverse weather
Many of the regular rules for driving go right out the window when the weather gets bad. Thick snow, heavy rain, and ominous fog are all indications to use caution. Drive well below the speed limit, increase your following distance, and turn on your headlights to increase your visibility to other drivers on the road.
As with all defensive driving tips, don’t trust that other drivers on the road know what they’re doing, and take precautions accordingly.