When we get into our vehicle, buckle our seatbelt, and start our journey on the road, there are many different factors that come into play. From paying attention to speed limits, to being cautious of pedestrians and other drivers, it is our duty as the driver to abide by the rules. However, driving can lead to risks beyond our control and accidents can occur. Whether you are travelling to work regularly, or as part of your job, there are things we can do to ensure we travel to and from our destination safely. So, today, let’s discuss defensive driving and techniques to consider when operating a vehicle.
What is defensive driving?
Defensive driving is commonly described as the practice of drivers who are aware of their surroundings, and who consciously reduce the dangers associated with operating a vehicle. When you practice defensive driving techniques, you reduce the likelihood of a collision or incident, which can save costs and keep everyone on the road safe from harm.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the majority of vehicle collisions are caused by the following factors:
Speeding: “An increase in average speed is directly related both to the likelihood of a crash occurring and to the severity of the consequences of the crash. For example, every 1% increase in mean speed produces a 4% increase in the fatal crash risk and a 3% increase in the serious crash risk.”
Drugs or alcohol: Getting behind the wheel while under the influence increases your chances of being involved in a serious or fatal accident.
Not using seatbelts, helmets, or child restraints: “Wearing a seatbelt reduces the risk of death among drivers and front seat occupants by 45 – 50%, and the risk of death and serious injuries among rear seat occupants by 25%.”
Distracted driving: “Drivers using mobile phones are approximately 4 times more likely to be involved in a crash than drivers not using a mobile phone.”
All these factors listed above are avoidable, making most collisions preventable.
Defensive driving techniques
Practicing defensive driving is much more than simply following basic traffic laws. There are specific techniques drivers should incorporate into every trip behind the steering wheel.
Some examples include the following:
- Determine the condition of your vehicle by doing a quick walk around the perimeter. This is a great time to check for hazards before you put your vehicle in reverse.
- Always leave at least two car lengths between you and the car in front of you. Increase this distance to five car lengths in less-than-ideal conditions.
- Pay attention to, and always follow the speed limit.
- Avoid using your cellphone. Texting or talking while driving significantly increases your chances of getting in a collision. Always use a hands-free device if necessary.
- Always use signal lights and be sure to signal ahead of time to communicate your intentions to others.
We want to ensure everyone on the road gets home to their loved ones safe and sound. Taking some extra time, using caution, and implementing defensive driving techniques into your everyday routine will help ensure you are the best driver possible.